Sunday, December 16, 2012

Touring Panay Island

Touring Panay Island from Iloilo to Antique and Boracay December 26-31, 2009

Beach bum at Boracay

It is early Saturday morning just right after Christmas, and I had an extended vacation. In fact, I only booked a one-way ticket to be able to tour a stretch of Panay Island at western Visayas. It is only about an hour from Manila to Cabatuan Airport of Panay and I am excited to tour 3 provinces of this island for the first time. Starting from Iloilo, to the whole stretch of Antique and then the beaches of Boracay Island at Aklan.

At 1:00PM it was touch down at Cabatuan, Iloilo. And it is still about 4-5 hours drive from Iloilo to Patnongon, Antique where I will be staying for the first days of my tour. The drive will be passing by the southern boundary of Iloilo and Antique province. And it is mountainous with up and down, zigzag roads before you can finally reach Antique's capital, San Jose. I am used to travelling, but what I can say is that I was dizzy during the stretch of the ride. The road passing through Mount Manaban along the Iloilo-Antique border is a hell of a ride. So it is suggested to bring your anti-dizziness medicine before you start on this leg.

The span of the Antique mountain range separating Antique from Iloilo

Antique is a laid back province where their means of living is only dependent on farming, herding cattle and fishing. Its boundary is long, occupying the whole western Panay Island. Its west side is a long fishing area as being bordered by the Sulu Sea while its eastern side has plains for farming and is also mountainous as these mountain ranges separates Antique from Iloilo.

Rural scenery at Hamtic, Antique

San Jose Buenavista, its capital, is the only urban area of Antique where your familiar Manila establishments is present. Head on north, until you reach Aklan is all rural. And this is a good thing if you want to have an escape with your usual urban routine.

Antique Provincial Capitol at San Jose Buenavista

My initial trip there is business as I would like to check the cattle investment I had there at Antique near the foot of Mount Manlagbo. I stayed there for 3 days then it was time to head north and check out the beach at Boracay.

Mount Manlagbo at Antique

The cow that started it all. Near the foot of Mt. Manlagbo
Sunset over Sulu Sea, overlooking from Mt. Manlagbo

It was a 5-hour drive from Patnongon, Antique to Caticlan, Aklan; then ride a boat from there to Boracay.

You can ride a bus from Antique all the way to Caticlan then eventually Boracay

As the road trip is mostly at Antique, add to it being a coastal province, you can actually see the gradient of the beach from gray turning to while. You would really know if you are near Boracay.

White beaches seen as you near Caticlan from Antique

We stopped by for a while at Tibiao, Antique where you can dine in beside the beach at Niel's Beach Resort and Resto. From here, you can eat great tasting Filipino dishes while contemplating at its beach front. It is still halfway to Caticlan.

Niel's Resort and Resto Grill at sea side.

From Tibiao, you will pass by Culasi, Antique. A town which is actually a jump-off to the highest peak of Panay, the Mt. Madia-as. Unfortunately, during this time, I am not yet a mountaineer so probably the next time I visit here, I'll make it sure that this will be part of my itinerary.

Mountain Range at Culasi to Mt. Madia-as

After 5 hours of long ride (all the roads from Antique to Caticlan is very well maintained), I have finally reached Caticlan. You would need to pay a boat ride of P50 and an environmental fee of P100 if you are not a local of Aklan (P50 if you are) to get to Boracay.

There was no planned itinerary when I went to Boracay and it was December 28 and it is a peak season. I rode a tricycle from the dock and head on across the island. There are actually 3 stations in Boracay. Station 3 is where most lodges are the cheapest while Station 1 is where most expensive hotels are available. I was not yet well versed on such information before so I just told the trike driver to take me off wherever. Then in no time, I am at Station 2 and my instinct just told me to drop off and find a place to stay.

I was walking wherever then suddenly someone approached me and probably noticed that I was looking for a place to stay. He was a great help. We walked around the whole length of the Station 2 beach to find a place to stay however all is occupied, until we reached this Alice in Wonderland resort that has at least one room available. It was a good hotel with a swimming pool however it is about 300 meters away from the beach front. Well this will suffice.

The room is good for 4 people and is P2500 for an overnight stay. Yes, it was only an overnight stay. :(

Having breakfast at Alice in Wonderland Resort

As expected, the night life at Boracay is active. Booze and beach parties, and buffet is available. We had a buffet for only P350/pax in front of Villa de Oro resort.

Boracay beach is all white sand and just like in Panglao, the beach is shallow even if you are already a 100 meters from the shore.

For your lodging needs at Boracay, you may contact Ernie at 09214093732.

Openstreetmap Philippines Map (link)
Schadow1 Expeditions Contributions (link)

How to use for your Navigation System (link)

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