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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Amazing Antique

          First stop is Libertad, the farthest and the last town located in the northernmost part of Antique. One attraction in that town is the Liberty Park in Mt. Agongon. There is a rough, winding road going uphill but on the halfway to the top of Mt. Agongon is a wide, playground-sized plateau where at the center of the scenic park stood a concrete marker indicating the name of the park and its significance to the town of Libertad. Aside from being a historical place, Liberty Park is also used as a camping area by the boy and girl scouts in this municipality. At the edge plateau, one will stand in awe at the breathtaking view below it. The town of Libertad seemed dwarfed by the vast expanse of the blue waters of Cuyo Sea. The soothing highland breeze refresh someone while feasting their eyes on the marvelous scenery.
           Sunken Garden in Punta Pucio, which is about 9 kilometers away from the town proper of Libertad, is another attraction from that town. This man-made wonder is made up of coral rocks and reefs submerged in a lagoon of fresh water covering an area of about 500 square meters. Clinging to the rocks and reefs were greenish moss and seaweeds which served as food to the various species of fish swimming around the tranquil water. 
          Another attraction, the Libertad Reforestation Area in Barangay Inyawan is about eight (8) kilometers away from the town proper. Maanghit Cave is also in Libertad town. Maanghit (foul odor) got its name  from the foul smell of the guano. There is a bush-lined trail leading to the entrance of the cave. There is a huge deposit of guano or bat's waste on cavern floor. The semi-darkness on the cave can give someone an eerie feeling as you go through the damp and humid interior. Since it is not big, it will take just a few minutes for someone to explore around Maanghit Cave.
          Kaniang Resort in Barangay Cubay has several wide, nature-carved basins filled to their stone-lined brims with clear, cool water. The fresh water flowed from a stream up above a nearby hill. . Each crystal-clear basin revealed its clean and hazard-free depth.
          There is a Marble Quarries in Barangay San Roque still in Libertad town. The marbles of 24 colors are quarried from cavernous tunnels. Idiayan Resort is a beach of silken sands where it has clear blue waters, rolling waves and cloudless seascape. Yonder through the horizon, hazy images and shapes of distant islands and islets can be seen.
           There is an old watchtower located at the Osmeña Street of the town. The old watchtower was constructed during the Spanish regime. It used to be crenelated as fortification against invaders. The main purpose of the watchtower was to warn people of the approaching pirates who kept marauding their town. The town plaza has a historical marker with the following inscription: "On this beach, at 02:00 hours, April 30, 1943, were received army supplies and materials brought in by the first U.S. submarine, the USS Cudgeon, thus, establishing contact between the Panay guerillas and General MacArthur's Headquarters in Australia." The plaza was once a beach of Libertad. This place is historically significant because the liberation of Panay really started on this place through the contact stated in this marker.
            The majestic, white-speckled Marble Mountain of the town of Pandan has a large deposit of marble that could last for a thousand years. The marble someone can see is actually multi-colored. There are marbles colored white, gold, gray, black, pink, light gray, red and blue. There is an interplay of colors shown by those multi-colored surface as struck by the shaft of light from the sun. 
            Malumpati Health Spring still in Pandan is another attraction for those who are health conscious. It has a chilling cold water that anyone can enjoy. It is called Health Spring because some people believe it has some therapeutic benefits which could cure some certain ailments.  It is also the site of the Scouting Jamboree sometimes. According to a legend, a Spaniard one time was about to ask a native regarding the name of the place when, all of a sudden, an Aeta (Negrito) scampered from a bush nearby at the sight of a white-skinned Spaniard and bolted out into the open to jump over the river bank possibly out of fright. At such a sight, the native exclaimed in surprise, "Ay, malumpat ang Ati" ( Look, the Aeta will jump!). Since then the place was called "Malumpati"
            Next is the town of Sebaste where the very famous Kamalasag Falls in Barangay Abiera can be found. One can be dumbfounded looking at the jet of water cascading from a height of 100 feet with a booming sound to create an incessant foam below. The towering granite rocks and the lush vegetation around the waterfall added to the aesthetic quality of the environment. Kamalasag Falls is considered to be the most beautiful waterfall in Panay. The fall is also considered as a rich source of hydroelectric power. In fact, if the power of this falls is harnessed for hydroelectricity, it could supply the whole province of Antique with enough electricity without depending on the costly imported oil for fuel. Viewing the Igpasungaw Falls still in Sebaste, at a close range is another exhilarating experience. This waterfall which has a natural basin with crystal clear water is splendid as a natural swimming pool.
            Bugtong Bukid (Only Mountain) is also in Sebaste where the massive towering mountain looming majestically amidst the verdant hills and plains around it. It is so called Bugtong Bukid because it is the only mountain standing aloft and alone in  the midst of the vast plains and hills surrounding the town of Sebaste. The church of Saint Blaise in Sebaste is another place of interest. Every year, countless devotees flocked  in pilgrimage to this church because of reported miracles which were attributed to Saint Blaise, the patron saint of the town. 
            The town of Culasi has something to be proud of - the colossal and imposing Mount Madia-as, the highest mountain peak in Panay. With its towering peak and the verdant virgin forest surrounding it bathed in the golden rays of the mid-afternoon sun, the magnificent mountain looked resplendent in such array.
            Mount Madia-as is a natural landmark where anyone can be enthralled with its beautiful scenery, various and rare flora and fauna, a lagoon, a bonsai forest looking neatly trimmed and a rain forest that provides Madia-as  a weather of its own. 
            Kipot Falls in Barangay Buenavista in Culasi is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Antique. From top to bottom, you can find its seven natural basins similar to the Jawili Falls of Aklan. Look at the seemingly dancing cascades that leap from one basin to another and see how they sparkle at the strike of the sun's rays. Look at the frothing basin with its mass of bubbles formed by the tremendous pressure of the pouring cascades. 
             Lipata Bay of Culasi is considered the deepest in Antique. It also has a significant mark in history because it was where the American submarine, the USS Marshall, surfaced in 1944 to unload war cargoes of arms, ammunition, medicine, radio equipment and other supplies needed by the Panay guerrillas. This bay is also strategically located as to be an excellent natural harbor. 
            Mararison (or sometimes Malalison) Island is a beautiful island with white beach is also part of Culasi town. The white sand beach is ideal for picnics, excursions and for tourist visits. This beach is not suitable for swimming because of the presence of sharp coral rocks and reefs which are abound on its seabed. This island has two caves, each with a length of around 100 feet. The waters around this island is suitable for spear fishing while the white sand beach is suited not only for excursion but also for beach combing.
             The nearby island of Batbatan is a unique island shaped into a huge green mound composed mostly of verdant hills and slopes together with the plains covered with lush vegetation. This island boasts of a numerous natural coves and anchorages suitable for shelter and docking of ships which are incidentally caught by typhoon at sea. This island is suitable for the Caribbean island category.  The Tangay tribe is a cultural minority who inhabits the place. They have their own culture, way of life and language different from the main Antique natives. This place is still untainted with the style of living in the modern civilization. Maniguin Island lies farther east of Batbatan. Near the shore are rocks, grasses, shrubs and stunted trees. Following the rocky trail, one can reach a sloping granite promontory located northeast of the island. At the edge of the promontory, is a two-storey, tapering, white washed lighthouse bathed in the golden glow of the setting sun. The island is a Naval Reservation Area. This serves as a Naval Station for Coast Guards guarding the western coast of Panay from any possible intrusion or invasion, piracy, smuggling activities and illegal fishing. There is also the island of Caluya and farther towards the island of Semirara which is a part of group of islands of the same name. There is a variety species of birds flying above these group of islands and is a bird sanctuary for it is remote for hunters to harass or exterminate these birds.  
          The nearby island of Sibay is bordered by fine beaches, covered on top by grassy hills and interspersed with thickly grown trees and tall reeds. This island is where the Spanish conquistador Martin de Goite dropped by on his way to conquer Manila in 1570. It was also here that one of the first radar stations in Panay was installed. The neighbor island of Caluya has a white sand beach with various species of rare seashells. The waters around this island of Caluya are considered ideal for scuba diving and deep sea fishing for its depths are full of various coral reefs which are the favorite habitat of various kinds of fish. Robber  or coconut crab clambering on the coconut trees in the island is locally known as Tatus. It is a kind of crab which feeds on the bud of young coconut trees. Its flesh is exceedingly delicious compared to ordinary crabs and is rarely found anywhere in the country such that it commands a very high price in some five-star hotels in the country.
          Next is the town of Tibiao where the Manglamon Cave of Sitio Tiguis can be found. Inside this cave, a bountiful stocks of stalagmites and stalactites could be found. The rim of the cave's gaping mouth was moss-covered while the rocky surface around it was also nearly covered by thick cogon grasses making the cave seems hideous and horrid looking. It is named Manglamon because the cave looks like it will swallow everything that goes into it. The Manglamon beach has a fine, sift shiny sands sparkle like precious gems at the strike of the mid-morning sun. The remarkable calmness of the clear aquamarine blue waters of the beach is occasionally broken only by the soft splashing sound of waves dashing laps against the sloping shore. There is also a famous Bugtong Bato in Tibiao with special feature about cauldron sauna, kawa bath spa and the exciting whitewater kayaking for those who wants adrenaline rush.
          Barbaza is the next town after Tibiao where there is a mountain spring oozing with an abundant flow of crystal clear water in Sitio Hatay-hatay of Barangay Palma. Barbaza is also proud of its Batabat Coral Reef.
It has a one and a half hectare island which has an appraising look of the whole island. It is made up of entirely corals of different colors. Barbaza church is considered as one of the most beautiful churches in Antique because of its modern architectural style.The architect who built the church also designed the Museo Iloilo.
          Estaca Hill is a popular hill in Bugasong town with an elevation of 200 ft. above sea level. The rugged winding path uphill, mostly strewn with gravels bulging rocks was a painstaking experience for the travelers whose clothes were drenched with perspiration when they reached the peak.  Upon reaching the summit, a picturesque scenery will unfold. The sea and the surrounding hills made an analogous combination of blue and green with the white and multi-colored houses and buildings providing the necessary accents to it. It was further lighted by the glinting reflections of the galvanized iron  sheet roof of the houses and buildings. The sea loomed so clearly calm and serene except for the crisscrossing of the multi-colored pumpboats and the occasional disruptive diving and soaring of the sea gulls as they dip their wings at the crest of the surging waves. The hill is historically significant for it was used as a watchtower during the Spanish times to warn the people of the approaching Muslim pirates. The town of Bugasong is also proud of its locally woven "patadyong" or old women's skirt.
         Patnongon is the next town where it is proud of it San Agustin High School that was remodeled from an old Spanish convent located near the site of the ruins of the century-old Spanish church. The next town is Belison then Sibalom. Sibalom has a beautiful Santa Rita church where there is a supine statue of St. Rita. This regal statue was allegedly given as a gift to the people of Sibalom by the Augustinian Sisters in Cascia, Italy according to the sacristan of the church. Sibalom also has the Sibalom Dam as a source of water supply for irrigation.
          San Remegio is next with the famous Bato Cueva and there is a panoramic view of the surrounding areas uphill, the towns of Sibalom, San Jose and the majestic Mount Madia-as, the highest peak in Panay. They also have the Pula waterfalls where its blood-tinted water could not easily be found anywhere else in the country.  
           The next town is San Jose, the capital city Antique. There is a concrete monument erected at the center of the town plaza. The monument is inscribed in bold, engraved letters with the name EVELIO B. JAVIER FREEDOM PARK. On its base is a historical marker stating that it is the spot where the late Governor, Evelio B. Javier was shot on February 11, 1986 by the Marcos regime. He was one of the political victims of Martial Law. The bronze marker states:
            "As a fitting tribute to a man who has done so much not only for the people of Antique but for the entire Filipino nation, in pursuit of justice, freedom, dignity, democracy and peace."
           Standing on an elevated concrete platform above this marker is a statue of the late Governor Evelio B. Javier. 
           La Granja Hill still in San Jose has a vast plateau at the top of the hill  where one can see an extensive sports complex with its vast playing field for track and field events and ball games. This hill serves as the venue of provincial and regional athletic meets as well as the Binirayan Festival which is being held yearly here in Antique. The playing field also serves as a venue for cultural presentations during the festival."
           On the coastal side of San Jose, there is a secluded beach concealed by a mini-forest of tall narra, mahogany, and different fruit trees. This place is called Camp Autajay but local people sometimes called it Piña Beach because the orchard of this camp produce pineapples abundantly. This 10 hectare lot is located along the fine sandy beach which serves both as rest camp and a beach suitable for excursions and picnics.
            Next town is Hamtic where the historically significant Malandog Elementary School. On its front lawn stands at its center a concrete monument with a bronze historical marker on it. It was on this place that the first Malayan settlement was established in the Philippines The inscription on the marker reads: "Landing site of the first Malayan settlers 1200 A.D." The marker also marks the landing site of the earliest Malayan settlers. Next to San Jose are the southern towns of Tobias Fornier and Anini-y where the famous Nogas Island can be found. Nogas Island is a twenty-six hectare island full of white smooth shells and corals. The island is actually a government naval reservation used as supply and docking station for our Coast Guards and naval ships patrolling the southern coast of Panay for foreign intrusion, piracy or smuggling activities. Few meters into the beach shore stands a tapered shape of a white washed concrete lighthouse. It has 72 spiral stairway going up the tower. Reaching the balcony of the tower, one can have a sweepingly-look at the seascape below which fully revealed its naked beauty to the sightseers. Many uttered a sigh of admiration as they viewed the serene waters of the vast sea which distinctly outlined the misty shape of the islands ahead and clearly marked the shoreline of the mainland behind them. The colorful sailboats sailing to and from in the middle of the sea gave colors to the dominantly bluish background.
            Anini-y is also famous for its Hispano-Filipino church which is made up of white corals carefully selected, expertly fitted and securely fastened together which made it possible to survive many earthquakes and ravages of time. As the only existing Spanish church in Antique, this was constructed by the Augustinian friars sometime in 1875-1880. As such, it is one of the oldest landmarks in Antique. Sira-an Hot Spring is just few kilometers away from the poblacion, which it reached through a narrow, sandy, access road just a few meters away from the national highway. There is a jet of streaming water squirting out of a crevice on its top and flowing down freely below into the natural receptacle which formed into a pool. Sira-an Hot Springs is flocked by people who were mostly ill and believed that the sulphur water of the spring could cure their illness. The natural basin which collects the spring water can accommodate a maximum of two persons who like to take a dip into its mineral water. But the water coming out of the fissure from the basin is flammable; hence, it is dangerous  for the smoking visitors to stand near it. Though this spring is situated in Sitio Dapog, yet, Barangay Sira-an was most benefited by the economic development brought about by the flock of local and foreign tourists who frequented this place. Hurao-hurao Island in Anini-y town is also another popular island beach resort where a popular hill with a good vantage point view of the rocky mountain Cresta de Gallo can be found. Cresta de Gallo is a mountain made up of solid rock and has been denuded and depressed in two points forming two deep gulleys between three peaks which, at a distance, looks like a cock's comb. It is so called Cresta de Gallo because of its shape that resembles a cock's comb. It is believed that within the area of this mountain a rich reserve of mineral deposits could be found. This place is called as "Punta Nasog" by the natives and is one of the famous tourist attractions of Anini-y.


Whitewater Kayaking in Tibiao, Antique 

Kawa Bath Spa, Tibiao, Antique 

Bugtong Bato Falls, Tibiao, Antique 

Kamalasag Falls in Sebaste, Antique 

Mount Madia-as, the highest mountain in Panay Island 


Rafflesia, the smelliest and the biggest flower in the world can also be found in Antique 

Photo Source: 

Antique North: Visayas Extreme Adventure Getaway -            

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