Panay is an island in the Philippines, the most northwesterly of the Visayas island group. It is to the northwest of the larger island of Negros, and easily accessible with a short ferry ride from Bacolod.
The small island province of Guimaras is in the strait between Panay and Negros and is generally reached by ferry from Iloilo City.
- Iloilo to the south, capital Iloilo City
- Antique along the west side, capital San Jose de Buenavista
- Capiz around the center of the east coast, capital Roxas
- Aklan in the north, capital Kalibo
- 1 Iloilo City - largest city, with historical churches and downtown, and the Dinagyang Festival.
- 2 Kalibo - Capital of Aklan. It is the main international gateway to Panay, and is known for the Ati-Atihan Festival every January.
- 3 Passi small city in Iloilo province, home to the Pintados festival.
- 4 Roxas City - capital of Capiz, known for its seafood
- 5 - the laid-back capital of Antique province
- 1 Boracay - the best-known and most heavily developed beach resort areas in the country. It is part of Aklan and is generally reached via Kalibo.
Panay is the sixth largest island of the Philippines, with and area of about 12,000 km2 (4,600 sq mi) and the fourth most populous, having a population of over 5,000,000. It is triangle-shaped, with the tip being at the province of Antique.
Panay is first settled by the Ati or Negritos. It is the center of the legendary pre-Hispanic polity of Madja-as, which are believed to have be founded by ten datus from sailed from Borneo and its territory purchased from the Ati.
The term "Visayan" was first applied to the people of Panay and Romblon (during that time, the Cebuano are simply known as the pintados, after their tattoos), and from that derives the name Visayas; the term Visayan was soon extended to include Cebuano-speaking peoples, based on a misconception during the colonial era that Visayans speak dialects of a single Visayan language. It is uncertain if Visayans are the descendants of the similarly-named Bisaya people of Borneo.
Panay is home to five Visayan languages:
- Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, (spoken in Iloilo and serves at the regional lingua franca)
- Kinaray-a (spoken in central Iloilo and Antique)
- Capiznon (spoken in Capiz)
- Aklanon (spoken in Aklan) and Caluyanon (spoken in the Caluya Islands).
Each of them are related to each other, but are not mutually intelligible, and languages like Kinaray-a, Capiznon and Aklanon have sounds not found in other Visayan languages despite claims by Hiligaynon speakers that the former two languages are just dialects. Cebuano is mutually intelligible to Hiligaynon (and both are commonly called Bisaya by speakers themselves), but have some differences in vocabulary and grammar.
The primary airport for Panay is in Iloilo City (ILO IATA), with flights from most domestic destinations, one international route to Hong Kong (on Cebu Pacific), and occasional charters from Guam on PAL Express.
Northern Panay and Boracay are served by Godofredo P. Ramos Airport (MPH IATA, in Malay) and Kalibo International Airport (KLO IATA), both in Aklan. Kalibo is the busiest, having international flights from China, South Korea and Taiwan, while Caticlan is nearest to Boracay.
Roxas City (RXS IATA) and San Jose de Buenavista (EUQ IATA) are served by daily flights from Manila or Cebu. The flight to Roxas City is on a A320 (by Cebu Pacific or PAL Express) and San Jose on a Dash 8 (by PAL).
Caticlan has multiple ferries from Manila, Batangas, and Mindoro, with connections to the boats bound for Boracay.
ALPS, Ceres, and Philtranco operates daily buses from Manila to Iloilo City. ALPS also has buses to Roxas City, San Jose de Buenavista and Estancia, Philtranco also serves San Jose, and Ceres has buses from Bacolod as well (as well as from Manila to Bacolod, with a stop at Iloilo). Buses take the ferry from Mindoro and Bacolod.
By public transportation
Most cities and towns in Panay are easily reachable by bus or UV Express van shuttles. Most cities or towns will have at least one bus terminal, which may or may not also serve UVs and jeepneys. Iloilo City and Roxas have large bus stations where you can catch a bus to anywhere in the island.
Panay has a decent network of highways connecting the provincial capitals, with the Iloilo-Roxas route (Rte 6 or Iloilo-Capiz Road) the busiest. Be prepared for long travel times as in most of the Philippines.
Ferries and barges connect Iloilo on Panay and Guimaras, but they are quite unsafe and some smaller boats have sunk on Guimaras Strait. As of 2020, these have been replaced by larger ferries, and a fixed link is being proposed.
Passenger boats also connect Boracay with the mainland, as well as smaller islands off Panay.
Taxis are available in Iloilo City, but less useful for trips outside the cities.