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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Alluring Aklan

Places of Interest in Aklan 



Sampaguita Gardens, New Washington, Aklan 




New Washington, Aklan 




Ibajay, Aklan 




Jawili Falls, Tangalan 




Ignito Cave, Buruanga, Aklan 




Ariel Point, Buruanga, Aklan         




          The road to Aklan is a long winding series of ups and downs, zigzag and turns making it one of the bumpy and exciting places to visit. The first town in Aklan upon entering the province from Capiz is Altavas.
          Traversing through a rough sandy-clay road, one can reach Batan a small coastan town northwest of Altavas. Trekking towards a winding upward trail, one can reach a breath-taking panorama overlooking a wide, silvery-white lake. This the "tinagong dagat" (hidden sea) of Batan, a hidden sea of around 8 kilometers long and 4 kilometers wide, lying between Altavas and Batan and partly hidden from Batan Bay by two small islands. This beautiful sea-lake is protected from the destructive instinct and indiscriminate intrusion of man by a fringe of mangrove, thick undergrowth and rocky cliffs. This unique sea-lake is an ideal place for swimming, boating, and water skiing, especially during summer, if one prefers to have privacy and pleasure. This is also a rich fishing ground especially during the northeast monsoon when the Sibuyan Sea is rough. 
           There is an old school converted into a museum in Batan where a marker stood in front of the building with the following inscription: "This marks the place where the seat of government of Rajah Bendahara Kalantiaw III, the third chief of Panay, famous lawgiver and author of the famous Code of Kalantiaw, was established." Inside the museum, is a well-arranged display of various antiques. In one corner is a glass-encased shelf which contained the original copy of the manuscript on which is written the Code of Kalantiaw. In the opposite corner is another shelf with pictures and biographies of our great national heroes. Barangay Songcolan, which is four kilometers east of Batan, is where the famous Ob-ob Hill is found. One can trek the hundred-meter length of shady, climbing trail until you reach the hilltop consisting mostly of rocks some with moss and young vines. This is Ob-ob Hill of Batan with a lighthouse. It stands like an unmanned, unlighted lighthouse facing the Sibuyan Sea welcoming the lost and tempest-ridden seafarers. Ob-ob Beach is around 200 meters below this hill. 
          The next town is Balete. There is a winding trail to reach a beautiful hill - the famous Agtawagon Hill, the pride of Balete. It is seven kilometers away from the poblacion or town proper and located at the southeastern part of Barangay Morales. One can notice some dugouts and small pits on the hilltop. Those are the foxholes of our soldiers during the Second World War. During the Philippine Revolution of 1896, this hill was used by our Filipino patriots as their last line of defense against the Spanish soldiers. During the Second World War, this was the operation camp of the Filipino soldiers and guerillas.
          Next is the town of Madalag. Large and tall Balete trees alternated by bamboo and coconuts shaded the concrete road towards the town proper. Following a narrow, not graveled barangay road sheltered occasionally by the thick foliage of the tall mahogany and wild cherry trees grown along the sides of the road until one can reach a rock-strewn river bank where a crystal-clear rushing water edged its way over big and small boulders. Pushing you way forward following the river bank, one can be awed at the sight to behold -Tindog Falls which continuously flows to the main river below. You can sit among the smooth boulders jutting out of the thick shrubs alongside the waterfalls. Tindog Falls of Madalag is a unique waterfall noted for having its basins at the top rather than at the bottom. Observe the row of gradually ascending, nature-carved stones. They were nature-carved into stair-like shapes by the cascades from the top of this fall. Just take a look also at the play of colors formed into an iridescent rainbow by the straight shaft of sunlight.
           The town of Libacao has their own famous Manimpa Falls. Walking through a grassy surface atop a verdant slope and northward on a limestone path slightly covered with a thin moss until one can reach the 50-foot Manimpa Falls whose cascades crashed with tremendous force down its rocky walls. Manimpa Falls, which is a part of Barangay Caa-awan is the pride of Libacao. This waterfall has its basins located both at the top and at the bottom through which the waters of this falls pour in. The clear, silvery-white water is unceasingly pouring and spraying against the rocks to the main river below. 
            After Libacao, the next town is Banga where the Aklan State College of Agriculture is located. The school has a total land area of 69 hectares but only 6 hectares are occupied by school buildings and its other facilities. The school has an orchard planted with durian, mangosteen, rambutan and lanzones among so other fruits. Some other parts of the 69 hectare areas are rice fields while the rest are pasture or grazing land located over the famous Manduyog Hill. Manduyog Hill is a 500 foot high hill with life size images and statues depicting the 14 Stations of the Cross erected beside the ascending stairway. Upon reaching the summit, one can see a nicely built concrete chapel where anyone can find comfort and solace for few minutes. The hill was named after Datu Manduyog, the successor of Datu Kalantiaw III, the famous lawmaker. This is a religious place at the same time a tourist attraction for pilgrims and other tourists.
           Kalibo, the capital of the province of Aklan, is just 9 kilometers northwest of Banga. One interesting place in Kalibo worth mentioning is the famed Tigayon Hill. The path to Tigayon Hill is one dampy, pebbled trail, partly shaded by tall acacia tree lined along the way until one can reach a cavern. One can enter the dark cave with a lamp or any lighting equipment and notice that the cave is wide and airy with its dome-shaped ceiling. While on the floor, one can see a stockpile of stalagmites. Although the wall were not as grotesque-looking as they should be, still it was eerie due to the pervading darkness, coldness and humid atmosphere of the cave. Outside the cave, there is a cave-like grotto with a nature-carved arched entrance. Inside the grotto, there is a smooth, flat-top rock which looked like a table at the center. The table-like rock is used by the priest when holding a mass here. At the side, two rocks are used as benches by the people attending the said mass, or by any visitor who wishes to rest. One can wander through the hill until you reach a winding rocky steps going uphill to its plane but rocky treeless summit overlooking the vast stretch of plains consisting of rice fields and other croplands. The wide plains are irrigated by the waters of Aklan River, Aklan's largest river, which you can clearly see from that vantage point. Somewhere in Kalibo, travel across a sandy access road to a scenic beach fringed with shady palm trees called Lambingan beach with cottages of various sizes while you enjoy the soft fine sand beach. Another one is Bougainvillea beach another popular beach of Kalibo. It has shady coconut trees and icy cold water and is a spectacular sight during sunset.
           Next is the antique-laden Museo It Akean or the Aklan Museum where one can find rich collections of various antiques, relics and artifacts taken allegedly from the various diggings in Aklan.There also artistic display of various works of arts by the famous artists of Aklan. The articles and pictures are modestly arranged and carefully chosen, thus, giving a real atmosphere of arts and culture.
           There is also a Freedom Shrine in Kalibo which display a war monument,  mortars, and other armament of World War II, signifying the heroic stand of the Aklanons. There is also a 19 Martyrs Marker erected on a street intersection named after it. The historical marker marks a significant event in Philippine History enumerating the names of the nineteen (19) Aklanons who gave up their lives to set free the Filipinos from the enslavement of the Spanish regime.
           Next to Kalibo is New Washington, a coastal town east of Kalibo, is a fishing village as shown by the flurry of customers and vendors buying and selling fresh fish, crabs, shrimps and lobsters on the makeshift stalls placed under the shady coconut trees. Pink Sisters Convent in New Washington is also another place of interest. The main building and everything around it were painted in pink - the convent facade, the concrete wall fence, the convent walls, and the study benches under the shady mahogany and acacia trees. Even the nun's habits were pink. The wild flower garden were planted with pink roses and lined with potted pink-flowered plants using pink flower pots placed in pink pot-holders. The chapel has pink pews, pink altar decors and pink walls. All were pink except the images of the crucified Christ and some saints. Even the clothes of the Blessed Virgin and other saints were all pink. Floripon Point Beach is another spectacular attraction in New Washington. Anyone can be dazzled by its expansive, fine sandy beach  and clear blue waters from Sibuyan Sea. Beyond the horizon, the misty shapes of distant islands could be seen occasionally obstructed from view by the crisscrossing sailboats, ferry boats and pump boats. Cottages of various sizes and shapes dotted the verdant lawns under the rows of coconut trees.
          New Washington has a notable place of interest which can be distinctively recognized as a popular New Washington destination - Sampaguita Gardens. Sampaguita Gardens is  14 hectare resort with Christmas and children as its theme. It is built for everyone's enjoyment especially for children and child like people and especially during Christmas when everything in this resort is well lighted and well decorated to have a holiday feel. There are lots of attractions in this resort and park garden. Among the attractions are the Butterfly Garden where several species of butterfly happily roaming around the plants, Children's museum, Adoration Chapel, a Spa, Aquariums, Children's playground, two swimming pools one for kids and another for adults and The Toy House which is the most prominent building of all contains lots of dolls, toys and collectibles items all for sale and a spectacular view of the Sibuyan Sea most especially during the sunset. One travel to New Washington is not complete without visiting Sampaguita Gardens.
          After New Washington, the next town is Numancia. The twin beaches of Navitas and Camanci are located four (4) kilometers from the poblacion of Numancia. This twin beach resort is excellent for picnics and excursions for there are stores and food stalls to cater to the needs of the picnickers and excursionists. The beach is also excellent for water skiing, boating and other sports. p.
         The next town is Lezo, known for pottery making. One can notice an attractive display of potwares and earthen wares of various shapes and sizes along the road and streets of Lezo. There is a life size bronze statue of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal incredibly erected in a small town like Lezo and it was marvelous and costly at those times. Another town is Malinao where you can travel to a rough, dusty road to an ascending and winding trail leading to Fatima Hill. Fatima Hill is located at Barangay Bulabod in Malinao. Its peak can be reached through a one kilometer flight of rocky stairways. Fourteen (14) Stations of the Cross are constructed beside each step towards the step . This area is used by pilgrims for prayers, meditation and reflection during the Holy Week. At the peak is a marvelous marble chapel entirely made up of marbles. It is so astonishing to look at the smooth shiny gloss marble walls and floors at the immaculately clean chapel at the top of the hill. Even statues and images of the saints in the chapel were all made of marble. The chapel can accommodate at least 100 to 200 persons. It has a high, whitewashed ceiling with a half-closed and half-open sacristy behind the altar. In front of the chapel, one can see the breath-taking view of the scenery before them. The soft mountain breeze and the scenery helped much to relieve someones exhaustion and fatigue caused by the long climb. 
         Barangay Tigpalas still in Malinao is proud of its Mampahon Falls. It can be reached through a rough, dusty road shaded by tall narra and lawa-an trees and with a narrow winding trail beneath the rocky bank of a river. Mampahon Falls is forty (40) feet high and has an eight (8) feet deep basin on top and 6-foot deep basin below. Its waters remain crystal clear and cool whole year round. A significant giant cross was erected in Sition Agbunsud in Barangay San Dimas, Malinao by the former parish priest of Malinao. It also marked the boundary between the towns of Malinao and Lezo. During the Philippine Revolution, the Filipino revolutionarios mounted their cannons on the hill in Sitio Agbunsud. 
          Next is the town of Tangalan after passing the town of Makato. Following the half-forested rocky trail, one can reach the marvelous Jawili Falls. Jawili Falls is the pride of Tangalan being the most beautiful waterfall in Aklan. It has seven basins arranged in series by nature, one basin cascading its waters down the next until it reaches the last one at the bottom. Each basin is a veritable swimming pool from 130 square feet to 540 square feet. The first basin is 40 x 60 feet in size, holding a 12-foot deep clear water. The other basins vary in sizes from 130 to 240 square feet. with 8 - 10 feet deep of clear water. The sixth basin, however, is the largest, with a swimming area of 540 square feet. All the seven basins have oval shapes and arranged in tiers at a regular distance of at least  20 feet high from each other. The highest basin has a height of 100 feet. There are small rest houses around reserve for visitors who wants to refresh themselves and stay for awhile while enjoying the falls. You can feast your eyes on the sparkling, dancing cascades crystal clear waters glinting at the strike of the rays of the sun. The huge, smooth boulders seems to be naturally arranged. The verdant background, accentuated by varied ferns and vines clinging to the moss-covered trunks of trees beneath the falls whose lower branches bow so low as to almost touch the rushing waters of the cascades, complete the final touch of the picturesque scenery.
          Afga Beach in Tangalan is a 2-kilometer stretch of soft white sand that could rival those of Boracay. The cool sea breeze brought here by the vast, open Sibuyan Sea could make a soothing effect on your tired muscle. The clear, dark blue, serene waters make the place for swimming, boating or water skiing. The regularly spaced rows of tall coconut trees giving shade to many cottages add to the pervading coolness of the place. The reforestation area of Campo Verde, which borders the towns of Tangalan and Ibajay around 28 kilometers west of Kalibo, is a mountainous area with a total altitude of 3,700 feet high above sea level. The numerous and varied trees planted and conserved in this camp contributed much to the preservation of the ecosystem in its environment.
          Tulingon Cave of Barangay Libertad in the town of Nabas is another interesting place to visit to adventure seekers and not just spelunkers. The entrance of the cave resembles the mouth of a whale shark. It is partly covered by tall grasses and reeds together with the thick, long vines creeping over its rocky mouth's edge. This cave is said to be one of the longest caves in the Philippines with a dark tunnel that stretches up to 20 kilometers to its exit in Barangay Patria of Pandan, Antique. Inside the cave, caverns of various sizes can be seen and the inner portion was blocked by stockpiles of stalagmites while the whole ceiling of a huge cavern was studded with a cluster of hanging stalactites. The whole floor of a mammoth cavern is fully covered by an enormous deposit of guano.p. 180
          The trail to Basang Cave was a little bit shorter and easier that it only take a short time for someone to reach it. The cave's entrance is less frightening because it's wider and faintly covered by short grasses and ferns. The attraction here is the flowing stream coming out of the cave's mouth with its crystal clear, cold water.  Taking a rock-strewn path beside the cave's wall, one should carefully plod on to the interior of the cave until one can reach a cavernous hall slightly lighted with sunlight coming through a tiny hole of the cave's wall. You will be astonished to see a wide,  round shaped natural basin full of cold, clear water which flowed out of the cave winding its way through canals until it went through the mouth of the cave. Going further, you will see another natural basin of bigger size but similarly shaped whose similarly cold and clear water followed a different course but finally joined the other stream at a portion near the mouth of the cave and came out as one bigger stream flowing into the main body of Gibon River below. These two basins inside Basang Cave can be used for swimming.
           Caticlan is a barangay or coastal community which is a part of the town of Malay. Here in the coastal barangay of Caticlan where pump boats, ferry boats and other sea crafts anchored and wait for the passengers going to Boracay or any other island off the waters of Malay. One can ride a pump boat to reach the Tigwati-an Island (now Laurel Island and more popularly called Crystal Cove) where one can see a breath taking view of the islands. Tigwati-an Island,  a nearby island of the famed Boracay Island, is a small island lying northeast of Sitio Tabon, a part of Caticlan. The white sand beach of Tigwati-an Island is thinly covered with tiny pieces of white and colored shells of varying sizes and shapes. There is a small, round cave on the rocky cliff off the island's eastern shore. Inside is a slightly lighted grotto like cavern, one will be astonished to find along its walls some slick stones nature-carved into varied shapes and forms of humans and animals.
            Boracay, dubbed as the "Paradise Island," is one of the top tourist destination in the country where over 2 million visitors from around the world flock annually to relax and have a vacation on this clay soft white sand beach regarded by many as the softest beach in the world while some others stay permanently because they fell in love by the beauty of the island. It has been named the best beach in the world by Travel and Leisure Magazine recently. It has lots of amenities, facilities, activities, establishments and businesses and commerce in the area that is why it has attracted a lot of tourists. It has roughly the shape of a dumb-bell with 7 kilometers long and almost 1 kilometer wide at its narrowest portion. As a barangay belonging to the the municipality of Malay, it has its own three barangays or community, Yapak in the north, Balabag in the center, and Manok-manok in the south. Yapak is noted for its various white pebbles and white shiny Puka shells which are fashioned into jewelry. It is where the name Puka Beach came from. The best known beach in the Philippines, some tourists claimed it to be the best in Asia, is White Beach or Long Beach for the natives, which is situated between the villages of Balabag and Angol. Manok-Manok has two beautiful sand beaches with tourist facilities, the Manok-manok and Cagban Beach. You will find some more interesting things about Boracay when you visit the place. By the way, the island paradise have its electricity starting in 1991. Diniwid beach is a white sand beach part of Boracay where its hills are nestled with luxurious mansions and resorts for tourists to stay. The tiny Balinghai beach is enclosed by steep rocky walls with some luxurious resort hotels and apartments cradle over its hills. Puka Beach, the farthest northernmost part of Boracay, is a long stretch of beach thickly covered with white sand equally mixed with glittering mantle of white and shiny puka shells of varied shapes and sizes. 
          Across Boracay and going back to Caticlan where you can find Agnaga Falls, another breath taking sight to behold. The falls has a crystal clear, chilly waters in the stream and one can dive into the basin's foaming water and enjoy its surging rapids.
          Nabaoy Reforestation Area in Malay is another place of interest where the verdant landscape is lined with tall trees. It is several hundred feet above sea level which has caused the chilling coldness of the air and pollution free atmosphere. 
           The last town after Malay is Buruanga, the farthest town in Aklan located in the northwest of the province. The far town of Buruanga will not be the last in showcasing their wonderful town and can proud of its Wasak-wasak Falls, Tigis Falls, and Ingus-Ingus Hill. The bulging and elevated mass of rocks of Ingus-ingus Hill is only two kilometers from the town proper or poblacion of Buruanga. This hill serves as a natural border making the exits of the Buruanga River which separates Barangay Alegria from the poblacion of Buruanga. Overlooking the hill, you can see the view of the sea on three sides. This hill was used as a watchtower to guard or spy on the approaching vintas of the Moro pirates who use to maraud this place during the Spanish times. Underneath this hill is a cave which was used as a hiding place or rendezvous of English pirates or buccaneers who used to prey on Spanish Galleons loaded with precious cargoes from Mexico. While the place gives a panoramic view of the lands, the edge of the hill also serves as an ideal roosting place for brigands, bandits and other criminals in hatching their evil plans to whatever took their fancy in their nefarious activities during the colonial period.
             Tigis Falls has a cascade whose clear water is comparable to any beautiful waterfalls in Aklan. Due to its remote location, there is an abundance of different species of birds flying around now and then. The thickly grown tall trees surrounding the waterfall added stillness and serenity to the place. The falls would be an ideal place for swimmers who prefer privacy during the hot summer months.
              Wasak-wasak Falls is a majestic fall revealing a huge column of roaring cascade which dropped with bubbling intensity at the huge receiving basin below. One can truly admire the scenery that only the poets could aptly describe and artists could clearly paint.


Attractions In or Near Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan 


Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan 




White Beach, Boracay 




Puka Beach, Boracay 




Puka Beach, Boracay 




Tigwati-an Island now called Laurel Island or popularly called Crystal Cove is just few minutes away southwest of Boracay and already near the main islands of the Aklan province. Tigwati-an Islands and Boracay Island is separated from the main Panay Island by Sibuyan Sea on northwest and Sulu Sea on the southeast. Regular island hopping is offered by local tours provided by Boracay, Malay Tourism council and other tour groups. You can search for the map of Boracay and Crystal Cove online. 




Crystal Cove also known as Laurel Island and formerly called Tigwati-an Islands. It is called formerly Tigwati-an Island because there was an abundance of the local bird called Tigwati in the islands before. 



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