Antique has grown popular these days. It has been one of the side trip getaways if you’re visiting Boracay and would want to explore a more “less touristy” kind of environment. Famous for its waterfalls, river activities, island hiking activity in Malalison Island and the most popular Hot Kawa Bath that said to have originated in this province.
Like us, 3 days in Boracay would be enough already. If you have a day to spare then you can visit its neighboring (less touristy) counterparts: Antique and Carabao Island, Romblon.
We have a total of 4 days in Boracay and initially planned in hitting 3 birds in one stone. While it is possible to go around Antique, Boracay and Carabao Island in as little as 3 whole day (Day trip in each provinces), my friends however just wanted to chill so we decided to visit Antique instead on our last day before our flight back to Cebu.
So Let’s concentrate more on Antique.
If you want to visit Antique on a day trip, it is advisable that you start early, say if you’re coming from Boracay, leave around 6am or earlier so that you can maximize your visit. In our case, we left Boracay at 10am already because we wanted to satiate our stomach by eating our resort’s free Buffet breakfast. Sayang naman if we don’t eat our free breakfast, right? (it would be a waste if we don’t our free breakfast, right?).
I will try to make this post as informative as I can since most of the blog I read contrary to our Antique travel left me somewhat hanging (they don’t post about how to get out of Antique).
Although we started late, we were still able to see and experience the attractions of Tibiao, Antique where you can try the famous Kawa Hot bath which we have been dying to try.
Antique is one of the leading provinces who makes muscovado (unrefined brown sugar) in the country. The vat (locally known as Kawa) used to process and cooked this kind of sugar has been creatively recycled to become a native bath tub.
The kawa is filled with water and strewn with fresh Eucalyptus leaves and some flowers. It is then heated using dried coconut leaves until it is warm enough for your body to tolerate and give its benefits.
It is best to plunge into the Kawa bath after a tedious Tibiao Water activity or hike to soothe your muscle soreness and gives you that much needed relaxation
Note: Point of entry to Antique in this post will be in Caticlan (Boracay), if you’re coming from different location, just be sure to arrive in Pandan, Antique at around 8am. This post is about a side trip in Antique if you had enough with Boracay.
I will show you 2 Options: If you start early or if you start late (like us).
If you will start early, let’s say, you leave Boracay at 5:30am then you can visit 3 towns of Antique: Pandan, Culasi and Tibiao. This is the itinerary:
1st Stop is Pandan (Malumpati Cold Spring)
From Caticlan port after your Boracay Exploration the most nearest town that you can go through is Antique, 45 mins Bus Ride for 78 pesos from caticlan port to reach Pandan Antique well known for its Cold Spring called Malumpati cold spring.
Upon getting in the bus, inform the bus coordinator to drop you off in Pandan antique and mention that you would like to go in Malumpati cold Spring. At the jump off you can ride a tricycle going to malumpati, the fare will be 50 pesos per person. There are different activity can be done in malumpati like water tubing, water rafting and swim to its cold water.
Next stop is Culasi, Antique (Malalison Island)
From Pandan Antique main road, ride a bus bound to iloilo or san jose antique and tell the driver or the bus coordinator to drop you in Culasi Port. It is roughly a 30 mins travel by bus. Bus fare cost roughly 40-50php.
Once you alight at the Culasi port, look for the tourism office wherein you will have to pay an environmental fee of 20 pesos and registration fee of 10 pesos. The tourism office will be the one to provide the boat and you can rent it for 750 pesos/boat for up to 5 persons. An additional 150 pesos/person for more than 5 pax. In less than 20 minutes boat ride, you will reach the mararison island (or also known as Malalison Island). Upon arriving at the island, you can hire a tour guide that will bring you up to the famous rolling hills site and tour you around the island for 200 pesos/5 pax. Culasi is well organized when it comes to their tourism.
From Culasi Antique after a tiring adventure the nearest spot to relax is Tibiao, Antique!
Last stop is Tibiao, Antique
Tibiao Antique is just 30 mins away from Culasi port. You can ride a bus or tricycle to go there, the fare was 40 pesos per person. Ask the driver to drop you in Barangay Importante crossing, upon arrival in crossing habal habal will be available to bring you in Tibiao’s famous Kawa hot bath spa, 15 mins away from the main road the habal habal fare is 70 pesos per habal habal can ride up to 2 persons each.It would be better if you can contact first the Kawa Hot Bath Spa before going Informations are listed at the end of this blog.
- 0500Wake Up Call
- 0600ETD Boracay
- 0630ETA Port
- 0700ETD Caticlan port
- 0800ETA Pandan Antique
- 0830Reach the Malumpati Cold Spring do some activity like water tubing
- 0930ETD Malumati head back to Pandan Highway
- 1000ETD pandan ride bus bound to Culasi
- 1100ETA Culasi register, reserve a boat and have your lunch there are a lot of carenderia near
- 1130ETD Culasi port
- 1200ETA Malalison Island, secure guide 1:5 prepare for 1.5 Hrs Trek
- 1330Explore and Swim, photo opps
- 1430ETD Malalison Island
- 1400ETA Culasi port/ Ride a Tricycle going to Brgy Importante Crossing
- 1445reaching the Importante crossing hire a habal habal going to Tibiao Kayak Inn
- 1500ETA Kayak Inn Tibiao Antique Enjoy Kawa Hot Bath Without time limmit
- 1630 ETD back to Brgy Importante Crossing. Last bus trip will be 5pm
Depending on your available time, You may skip one or 2 locations and just concentrate on the ones that you’re interested in visiting. In our case, we decided to visit Tibiao for the Hot Kawa bath instead of our first decision to visit Culasi due bad weather condition at that time wherein in Boats are suspended to operate.
If you’re pressed on time like us, you can omit one or 2 location/s. In our case since we left Boracay at 10am already, we decided to visit Tibiao instead since Culasi. We left out Pandan because there is also a river activity that we wanted to try in Tibao, that’s the River Kayak.
Okay, so basically the same transportation principle applies since all the places are accessible by bus (San Jose or Iloilo Bound from Caticlan/Kalibo). So, once you take the bus, just tell the bus coordinator to drop you off at Tibiao in Brgy.Importante crossing. The area is pretty well known so you don’t have to worry and the bus coordinator will inform you if you’re almost there.
In our case, I already called Kayak Inn for reservations for the Kawa Bath. They suggested that they will be fetching us at the crossing for the same price. Normally one habal habal (motorbike) can carry up to 2 person, but since me and my friends are carrying big bags, they suggested to get 1 habal habal per person. That means 70php/person/way.
We arrived at Kayak Inn. They offered a combo package: 1,100php/person for a River Kayak + Kawa Bath. River Kayak alone cost 900php/person and Kawa Bath is 250php/person. I haggled to get the package for 1,000php/person which they agreed.
It was our first time to try River Kayak, it was indeed exhilarating because of all the adrenaline rush as well as somewhat frightening due to the strong river current since it was raining that morning.
The River Kayak was something that you should try, however personally I observe that the guides needs more training and more familiarization with the river, especially when handling first timers like us. Because of that I ended up with a tilted kayak while banging my head twice at the river rocks because the current was strong and some few cuts and bruises.
But hey, I’m still alive right? Good thing they have sturdy life jackets. Although I had that kind of experience, it was still a good one, I still had a lot of fun. Living life to the fullest ei?
After the river Kayak session, we walk our way back up to the Inn passing by Antique’s Rice terraces and had quick photo op at Tibiao’s Hanging Bridge before we get to indulge a total relaxation in a Kawa Hot Bath. A way to relax all my aching muscles and bruises.LOL
Although you can stay in the Kawa Hot Bath for as long as you like if there are no other tourist/s, it is advisable however to just soak yourself for around 30 minutes. More than that, it may not be that beneficial anymore.
If you’re not into extreme activities like river Kayak, you can have a visit to Bugtong Bato falls instead. A guide to the falls will cost 150php/upto 5 person. Or treat yourself to a fish spa which is about a minute away from Kayak Inn.
After your Tibiao Activities, you can ride again habal habal going back to the crossing.
Going out of Antique:
From Tibiao/Culasi to Caticlan: Ride a bus to Caticlan that will pass by the crossing. Latest will be at 5pm. If there are no bus, you may opt to ride a van going to Culasi and ride a bus there going to Caticlan.
From Tibiao/Culasi to Kalibo: ride a bus going to Kalibo from the Crossing, fare is 130-150php. Other option is to take a bus bound for Caticlan and tell the driver to drop you off at Nabas, fare is 78php/person. From Nabas, wait for a bus or Van going to Kalibo, fare is 70-80php/person.
From Tibiao to Iloilo: take a bus from the crossing bound for Iloilo but the latest will be at 3pm.
From Kalibo Proper/Terminal to Kalibo Airport: Ride a tricycle. Normally tricycle will only cost 7php/person, but since you’re heading to the airport, most (if not all) tricycle drivers might swindle you. Just haggle, We got ours at 20php/person, original price was 100php for the 4 of us.
From Caticlan Bus Terminal to Caticlan Airport: take a tricycle to the airport for 50php, can accommodate up to 4 person.
- There are many Inns in Tibiao that offers Kawa Bath, one Inn also offers Fish Spa. The only thing we went to Kayak Inn because it was the most famous and the original establishment for the Kawa Bath. They were also been aired by Kuya Kim in Matanglawin
- always haggle. Like any other parts in the Philippines, if the locals know you’re a tourist, they have a big tendency to rip you off.
- In Tibiao Kayak Inn, you might want to have a Reservation for your room if you’re planning for an overnight stay. You can avail the room for 250php/head. The kubo is good for 5 persons. Kawa hot bath can be availed for 200 instead of 250php. Just haggle.
- If you want, you can tell Kayak Inn not to get you at the crossing so that you can haggle other locals to bring you to Kayak Inn for 70php up to 2 pax instead of having 1 habal habal per person.
- foods are available in the kayak inn, just order in advance. We haven’t tried this though. We ate at our heart’s content when we arrived at Kalibo
- do not forget to bring lots of mosquito repellant if you’re planning to stay overnight since there are lots of mosquitos.
- in malalison island don’t rent a cottage worth 200 ask for lower price like 100 pesos were you can just leave you things while doing some activity specially when daytour only.
Tibiao Kayak Inn : Shirley – +639059062380
Malumpati Tric Driver: Mang Rene – +639307015172
Malalison: Boat/BoatMan is Directly provided by the Tourism office
Though it was indeed a fun experience to try river kayak and Kawa Bath the first time. I personally felt something was off at Kayak Inn. When we got there, they lack the sense of welcomeness and was a bit disorganized. They did not even welcome us nor share to us about some infos regarding Kawa bath or about Tibiao, which I heard some Inn does this. I was just expecting they do it too since they are the most popular of all the Inns. We let ourselves into the hut, they are more concentrating into pushing us to get the package. But, it may not be the case when you will visit them. This statement is merely my own observation. Maybe I just expected too much from them.
Also, I felt responsible to inform my readers about my own negative feedback. But to each his own. This was our experience, but again, it was still a memorable one, but it could have been way better. You know what I mean right?
So, yes. It is possible to enjoy Antique in a day trip. But if you have more time then you can have an overnight stay at Tibiao then do the following activities the next day.
For now, let’s just enjoy.! For any other questions, just drop a message in the comment section below. Cheers!