- 1 , the capital
Antique got its tagline "Where the mountains meet the sea" because of the relatively short distance between its mountains and its coast, which lies parallel to it. Just like its highland attractions, there's absolutely a lot to explore in Antique's long coastal area aside from providing an unobstructed view of the sunset. On the southernmost tip of Antique is Nogas Island, an uninhabited 26-hectare marine and bird sanctuary.
According to oral history, related as the legend of Maragtas, Antique is believed to be the landing site of ten Bornean Datus who escaped persecution from Sri-Vishaya, a Hindu-Malay empire that existed from the 7th to the 14th century in Borneo and Sumatra. There they met the Negrito/Ati (earliest settlers of Panay) chieftain Marikudo. They bought the island from the chieftain for a golden saduk (headpiece or helmet), and a golden necklace, among other gifts, the event is known as the "Barter of Panay". The Negritos then retreated to the mountains, while the Borneans settled in the lowlands. Today, the landing is commemorated every year in Antique in the Binirayan festival on the month of April with highlights on April 27 to 29.
The Antiqueños are noted for their industry. They are renowned weavers throughout the Visayas. The Bugasong patadyong, a tube cotton fabric of plaid design, is highly valued because of its fineness of weaving. Piña cloth is also produced in looms throughout the province. Wine manufactured from the sap of the coconut is a cottage industry. Muscovado sugar production is also a big industry in Antique, which has become an attraction of sorts because of Antique's native delicacies derived from muscovado sugar.
The people of Antique speak
- Kinaray-a, an Austronesian language characterized by the predominancy of r's and schwa sounds spoken with a gentle intonation.
- Tagalog, and English.
Iloilo and Aklan are the gateways to Antique by land. It is also accessible from Palawan, Manila, Romblon, and Mindoro by sea. Buses and Vans bound for San Jose and Libertad are stationed at the terminal in Molo District, Iloilo City. Transportation time from Iloilo City to the capital San Jose is 2-3 hours.
It is possible to get around Antique by Jeepney, trike (motorbike with sidecar) or hired cars. Foreigners may be a little daunted at first by the Jeepney or trike but the drivers are experienced and charge very reasonable fares.
The Batbat and Punta coral reef in Barbaza and Seco Island in Tibiao feature unparalleled wonders of marine life. Antique's best kept secret though is the Caluya group of islands, with natural beauty and resources that can easily compete with what the world famous Boracay can offer. Tourists that can bear the 3 hour travel to Caluya are rewarded with white, powdery sand beaches surrounded with pristine waters and diverse species of marine life that have not yet been touched with commercialism.
Another attraction in Antique is its historical sights. The Catholic Church holds a very strong influence on Antiqueños. For centuries, the churches were the physical vanguards of the people. Being a coastal province, and having been vulnerable to attacks by Moro raiders, Antique was guarded by a series of watchtowers, like the 'Old Watchtower' in Libertad and Estaca Hill in Bugasong all of which were built under the direction of the Spanish friars. A lot of these heritage structures still stand as a reminder of Antique's history and culture.
For the more aventurous, climbing Mt. Nangtud, considered as the highest peak in Panay, offers a great view and the experience of discovering unexplored sights. The rugged and varied land of Antique offers visitors a variety of exciting outdoor activities from white water kayaking and white river rafting in the northern town of Tibiao to relaxing in Sira-an Hot Springs of Anini-y, Antique's southernmost town.
People in Antique eat most dishes common to the rest of the Philippines however visitors should try 'Batchoy' which is a local noodle dish in a pork broth.
Antique as with many parts of the Philippines, struggles with poverty so violent and financially motivated crime can happen. This can be avoided by staying near your travel party or guide, and other common sense measures such as not venturing away from the beaten track at night.
You should be sure to bring mosquito repellent because Antique has problems with mosquito bites and dengue fever, due to it being in quite a rural area. Ensure that you travel with comprehensive travel health insurance as universal health care is limited to residents and hospital facilities are also a concern. The best hospital in Panay is in Iloilo City, away from Antique.