Antique is one of the provinces in Panay Island which seemed to be underrated but is now picking up on tourism really well. It used to be frequented by locals from the neighboring provinces or islands but has now slowly earning a reputation among other local and foreign tourists.
If you live nearby and wish to take advantage of the long weekends, packed your bags to Antique, home of the highest peak in the island.
Located in the western side of the island, it borders all the three other provinces and Sulu Sea on the West. It’s where the picturesque mountains meet the crystal clear sea, literally. It is a great place to take refuge from the summer heat in the city.
There are a variety of place to visit but since I am not a fan of motorcycle rides, I would go for the two: Malumpati Cold Spring in Pandan, and Malalison Island in Culasi (that’s for another post).
Here’s where you will head, at least to give you a mental picture:
The lines in red was the route for the first destination, and blue for the second. As you can see, it would require travelling the whole stretch of the province, giving you a good view of the sea to your left and the mountains to your right. The view is magnificent, but the bus ride will heat up your butt to a discomfort. And yep, bring your meds if you are prone to motion sickness.
Starting point: Iloilo City
You can take the bus or van to Antique from San Pedro Bus Terminal in Molo. Personally, I prefer the Ceres bus as it is comfortable, safer, leaves on time, and has limited stops. We started out from Molo terminal at around 8:00 AM.
After an hour of travel, you will be in San Joaquin, the last town in the province bordering Antique. The San Joaquin- Hamtic road will make you dizzy though as it is zigzagging along the mountains and their cliffs. It would take around an hour of circling and moving from left to right so if you are prone to motion sickness, be prepared. And oh, be sure you give the handrails a tight grip; you’ll surely find yourself losing balance along the way.
You’ll spend about 80 pesos for Molo-San Jose fare.
Travelling the whole stretch of Antique takes about 7 hours. Malumpati Cold Spring is located in Pandan, the last town on the northernmost part the province, even closer to Aklan and Kalibo than to its capital, San Jose de Buenavista. Yes, you are right, this is also your gateway to Boracay. There are occasional stops by the bus terminals to cater to personal needs. You know, you can’t just spill it on the bus. 😀
Here’s what you can see from the bus:
It may be wise to stop by San Jose de Buenavista for brunch and food shopping at the local market. I believe they have the cleanest, well-organized wet market I’ve ever been to, so far. You can headed back to the terminal to catch another bus going to Pandan.
It will take another 3 hours before you reach the area. But, it is not the end as you have to ride a tricycle that goes to the cold spring. One tricycle can carry the maximum of 4 people as the route going up the base of the magnificent Mt. Madia-as is challenging. Drivers charge around 300 pesos for the 20-minute ride along the dusty and rough terrain.
And finally….. after 7 hours… you will be in Malumpati Cold Spring!!!
Expect a lot of people at daytime, especially during the sunny days.
They charge minimal fee for the entrance and open cottages. If you are staying overnight, there are cottages available. For example, the concrete house of the Capillos with 3 rooms, a veranda, and a living room can be rented for about 2500 pesos for 24 hours. (Check latest rates personally)
If you wish to have more peaceful swim time, wait until most guests have left. This starts around 4PM. You can take a dip till dusk and do it all over again early the next morning. The water is so refreshing, and that’s a great cure for the day-long travel. So, you can swim for hours.
There are very few people who stay there overnight, so it is a good place to find some peace. The area by the spring also remains mainly unlit.
Here’s what you can see there:
If you are on for a cool dip, head to Malumpati Cold Spring. 🙂
What is your favorite place to cool the summer heat?