The region of Panay is a beautiful place brimming with splendid-looking beaches, amazingly rich culture and good-natured people all over. My trip there with my good kaladkarin friends made up for one very enjoyable trip! Join me as I recall our trip to this Western Visayas region.
Our trip lasted for five (5) days covering the whole region of Western Visayas. We came in at Roxas City, Capiz then flew back to Manila at Kalibo, Aklan.
The fourth province that we visited in the Western Visayas region is Antique. Antique covers a total area of 2, 729.17 sq.km and is located at the western side of the Panay Island, bounded by Aklan in the northeast, Capiz on the east, Ilo-ilo in the southeast and Sulu Sea on the west. It comprises of 18 municipalities, with San Jose de Buenavista as its provincial capital.
Day 5- ANTIQUE and AKLAN
We woke up early the next morning to prepare for our last day in Panay. We took a bath and ate breakfast in our inn (Kasa Raya) in Tibiao. We then walked a short distance towards the entrance of the road leading to the kawa baths (crossing). It’s also where the habal-habal drivers stay. We asked them to accompany us and so we rented three as we were three.
KAWA HOT BATH
Kawa, which means large cauldron, is being used as a hot tub filled with therapeutic leaves. Meant to relax and ease the mind and body of the person receiving it, kawa hot bath now serves as one of the most popular attractions here in Antique.
We chose Kayak Inn to have our own taste of the Kawa Hot Bath.
As you can see in our pictures, we (especially our good friend, Brye) really prepared for this kawa bath as we decorated it with beautiful flowers and leaves! Haha.
The kawa bath experience was good, however, it was also REALLY HOT, I’m telling you! They give a big stone for you to sit on if you really can’t take the heat anymore.
I really had a great time in Tibiao. We somehow got to experience peace and quiet in this place even for a short while.
We opted not to explore more of the place (there were waterfalls and hot springs in Tibiao) as we were already running out of time. There’s so much more to do in Tibiao so when you go here, make sure you have enough time to explore. Allot a day or two. After going back to Kasa Raya to wash up, we then headed to Culasi, Antique by riding a bus. There are buses going to Culasi on the highway.
When we reached Culasi, we searched for its tourism office so we could head out right away to Mararison Island. Once there, we paid for the necessary fees then proceeded to the beautiful Island of Mararison via boat (travel time is 15 to 20 minutes). Look at these pictures and be the judge of how beautiful it is!
Mararison Island is a 55-hectare hook-shaped island found in Culasi, Antique. Mararison is an island like no other… it is blessed with white sand beach, crystal clear waters and amazingly scenic rolling hills. You’d have to trek the hills to appreciate the whole island.
The Legend of Mararison as told by our guide (with help from my friend, Carlo):
It is said that the islands of Culasi, Antique (Batbatan, Maningning and Mararison) are the offspring of the great Panay mother mountain, Madja-as, and the Negros volcano, Kanlaon. Growing up lazy, disrespectful and disobedient, the three children were banished by Kanlaon no matter how painful it was for their mother, Madja-as. If you stand up at the peak of Mararison and also if the weather permits, you could see the crystal-like falls found in Madja-as, which as the local legends say, are the tears of the mother mourning for her children. The three children, on the other hand, seem to be reaching out to their mother with the islands’ sandbars pointing towards Madja-as in mainland Panay.
AKLAN – departure from Panay
We originally planned to spend our last afternoon in the world famous beach destination, Boracay. However, because of unforeseen circumstances (remember the typhoon that caused our extended stay in Isla de Gigantes?), we were not able to do so. Instead of going to Boracay, we proceeded to Kalibo to catch our flight. We rode a tricycle towards Ceres Bus Terminal in Culasi then rode a bus going to Aklan. We went down in the junction and rode a van going to Kalibo International Airport.
Woooh. It was a thrilling 5-day adventure in Panay! Looking back, I have more than realized that the region has so much to offer. It would be awesome to go back here, enjoy the places we’ve been to and of course, discover more of its places!
Here’s a rough estimate of our expenses in our Panay journey:
|ITEM: TRANSPORTATION/ FOOD/ HOTEL/ TOUR||AMOUNT||REMARKS|
|DAY 1 – Roxas City, Capiz|
|Lunch in La Playa de Roxas in Roxas City, Capiz||P245||Yes, that’s P245 each! Hehe. It was worth it because of the yummy seafood that we’ve had.|
|San Antonio Resort||P95||This includes swimming all-day in their pools.|
|Drinks in San Antonio Resort||P210 (group)||I opted for a chocolate banana shake while my friends ordered San Mig light. 😉|
|Tricycle towards terminal||P150 (group)||–|
|Tricycle towards Panay Church then hotel||P200 (group)||–|
|Dinner in Spanggo||P695 (group)||Must try: their pizzas and pastas!|
|DAYS 2 and 3 – Isla de Gigantes and Ilo-Ilo City|
|Tricycle towards Lawaan (Ceres Bus Terminal)||P10||–|
|Bus from Lawaan, Roxas to Carles, Ilo-ilo||P68||It is said that buses start their ride at 4 am.|
|Tricycle from bus terminal to Balasan Port||P200 (group)||–|
|GIGANTES ISLAND TOURS AND SERVICES||P1400||This includes our overnight stay in the island with lunch, dinner and breakfast. The tour will take you to the different islands of Gigantes. Contact Rhett Bolivar in these numbers: 09157595000/ 09989816812|
|Socials, drinks in Isla de Gigantes||P50||It was storming during this time. Haha.|
|Van from Balasan Port to Ilo-ilo City||P200||This would take you about 5 hours.|
|Dinner in Ted’s Oldtimer La Paz Batchoy||P139||Eating La Paz Batchoy is a must when you go to Ilo-ilo!|
|Taxi to hotel||P80||–|
|Budget Inn||P380||Comfy budget hotel|
|Taxi towards Smallville (party/night out place in Ilo-ilo City)||P50||–|
|Karaoke! In Smallville||P500 (group)||Spend your night in Smallville when you’re in Ilo-ilo City!|
|DAY 4 – Guimaras and Ilo-ilo|
|Tricycle to Ortiz Wharf||P50 (group)||–|
|Guimaras Tour||P200||Habal-habal or van drivers are just waiting for tourists in Jordan port. Make an arrangement for your tour, may it be half day or whole day. We were a group of 7 here, and our guide agreed for P200 payment for each person.|
|Lunch in Pitstop||P190||You should order their mango pizza! It’s one of the best-tasting pizzas that I’ve tasted!|
|Tricycle from Ortiz Wharf to inn to get bags||P10||The Budget Inn lets you leave your bags in their reception area|
|Taxi from inn to Ilo-ilo Convention Center (ICC)||P100 (group)||Probably closed during weekends. It was Saturday when we went here.|
|Taxi from ICC to Ilo-ilo Provincial Capitol||P121 (group)||Probably the most beautiful provincial capitol I’ve seen in the country|
|Bus from Ilo-ilo City to Miag-ao||P44||Get here early so you can sit and not stand during the whole ride!|
|Bus from Miag-ao to San Joaquin||P14||–|
|Snacks in San Joaquin||P25||–|
|Bus from San Joaquin to San Jose, Antique||P57||Ride the bus in their terminal.|
|Bus from San Jose to Tibiao||P80||Tell the conductor and/or bus that you’re heading to kawa baths in Tibiao.|
|DAY 5 – ANTIQUE and AKLAN (departure)|
|Habal-habal ride to kawa bath||P140||One person per habal-habal|
|Registration fee||P50||We actually don’t what this is for but maybe it’s a way the local government thought of earning due to kawa hot bath’s popularity.|
|Kawa hot bath in Kayak Inn||P250||Preparation time would take about 45 minutes to 1 hour. The actual kawa hot bath will depend on the number of people availing their services. We had ours for about an hour or so.|
|Kasa Raya (stay + dinner + coffee)||P584||–|
|Bus from Culasi to Tibiao||P20||–|
|Environmental fee for Mararison Island||P30||–|
|Boat ride to Mararison Island||P750 (group)||–|
|Guide in Mararison||P210 (group)||–|
|Refreshments in Mararison||P30||Prepare water when you go to Mararison. It really is hot there especially when you are trekking its rolling hills.|
|Late lunch in Culasi||P58||The marketplace has a number of carenderias to fill your tummies.|
|Tricycle to Ceres Bus Terminal||P9||–|
|Bus from Culasi to junction of roads leading to/ from Caticlan and Kalibo||P57||–|
|Van from junction to Kalibo Internation Airport||P150||We waited just for about 5 to 10 minutes when the van arrived. We were lucky then because not too many vans or buses were said to pass by at night.|
|Terminal fee in KIA||P200||–|
|TOTAL EXPENSES IN PANAY REGION FOR 5 DAYS||
|Expenses for pasalubong and other necessities (snacks, toiletries) are not yet included here.|
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