One fine September day, my friends and I decided to drive around Panay Island starting from Roxas City. We planned our itinerary to include lunch in Kalibo then drive through Nabas to Pandan in Antique and down the coast to Iloilo City. It was a short drive from Nabas to the border of Antique but it was a long drive down the coast to Iloilo. And it rained buckets in late afternoon. This didn't dampen our road trip though. Antique is relatively free of traffic and the main road is well paved. There are many old bridges to cross along the way, most of the time within sight of the beautiful coastline marked by some rocky beaches.
We stopped in the town of Tibiao to see the falls and try bathing in a "kawa". (The kawa is an oversized wok-shaped cauldron formerly used to cook muscovado sugar.) Alas the road up the hill was under construction and the entrance to the falls was closed. We got as far as the zipline where there's a marvelous view of the mountains covered in thick foliage and the river below. The zipline is 500 meters long and crosses the river. Then there are 162 steps to climb to get to the zipline station for the return journey. We were not aware of the presence of a zipline in this area and weren't properly equipped, so we missed out on the thrilling ride. This is definitely on our bucket list with the "kawa" bath.
Back on the main road, we were lucky to see the sunset before the rain poured. The skies thankfully cleared as we approached San Jose de Buenavista with its bustling city center. We continued on to the historic church in Barangay Hamtic which was mentioned to us by a local.
The Church of Santa Monica was constructed under the aegis of Fr. Hipolito Casiano, OSA. The first parish established in Antique was in Maybato in 1581. The church there was dedicated to St. Guillermo and was eventually destroyed in the 17th century from repeated onslaughts by sea pirates. Some of the stones from the ruins of that church are in a tiny museum inside Santa Monica together with ballast weights from galleons originating from Mexico.
I was impressed with what we saw in Antique. I'd like to stay at the beach in Pandan next time and get a glimpse of Bugtong Falls. It certainly was a fruitful drive around the three neighboring provinces where we discovered many interesting places so close to home (away from home).
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Images by TravelswithCharie