Backpacking the Panay Island: Antique at the wee hours of the night

8:34 AM

We disembarked from the Van at exactly midnight. Carrying our huge bags, we silently walked towards an empty waiting shed. I hurriedly scrambled for my phone. Blasting messages to our host in Kayak Inn, which is 4 - 5 kilometers off the highway. No one was really responding to my messages. But, I kept my cool and wore my "everything-is-fine" fake smile. The silence was really deafening. No one even dared to mention how creepy the area was. The cold midnight breeze added an extra chill to our uneasy souls. Until someone was eerily walking towards us.

My heart skipped a beat when I saw the old man's silhouette. His unkempt hair made everything more terrifying. It was like a scene straight out of a horror movie. I was so ready to fight for my life.

Luckily, the old man was a motorcycle driver. He's no supernatural, but a life - saver. Since, no one from Kayak Inn returned our calls, we've decided to take the old man's services. He summoned 2 other motorcycle drivers. They all took us to Kayak Inn and paid Php 70 per person, which is the standard rate.

We safely arrived at Kayak Inn and called it a day.

Located in the region of Western Visayas. It's just a couple of hours away from Caticlan. It is magnificently bounded by the rugged central mountains of Panay. 

Tibiao and Culasi are well - known towns of Antique. Tibiao is famous for the Kawa Hot Bath and white water kayaking.  While Culasi is known for Mararison Island.

How to get to Antique?

From Iloilo City,

Ride a van or bus that will take you to the province of Antique. As for us, we took a van from Molo Terminal and paid Php 180.

From Caticlan

There are buses that will take you to Antique. Might want to start in Culasi then head towards the south. 

Where to Stay in Tibiao, Antique?

Go for something that is less likely modern. I recommend Kayak Inn. They offer such breezy rooms for only Php 500 a night. 

Kayak Inn - 0905 906 2380/ 0919 553 1104

Or simply secure your rooms here

For more Antique accommodations, check out this link

What to do in Tibiao, Antique?

Bath in a Kawa 
This might be the most common activity in Tibiao. For most tourists, the town is synonymous to Kawa Hot Bath. Most of the inns in the area offer this glorifying bath. The price ranges from Php 200 - 250 per person. I suggest you rent the biggest kawa for better experience.

Trek Bugtong Bato Falls
Walk through fields of various crops and vegetables. Trek for almost 30 minutes and be rewarded with an awesome sight of Bugtong Bato Falls.

Registration Fee: Php 50

Guide Fee: Php 150

Kayak Tibiao River
Like any other river activities, kayaking the Tibiao river is perfect to do during the rainy season. The rain brings life to the rapids. Thus, it makes your experience more amazing. Sadly, we had to skip this and just be back some other time.

We left Kayak Inn around noon. The fastest way to get to Culasi is via a motorcycle. Unfortunately, they don't come cheap in the Philippines. Their rates are way higher than most public transportation. The drivers in Tibiao asked Php 250 each for a one way ride to Culasi. We haggled over the price. Finally, they gave in to our Php 180 each request.

We reached the town of Culasi around 1 PM. Just inform the drivers to drop you off the port for Mararison Island. We paid Php 30 each for the registration fee. The boat fee was at Php 750 roundtrip which could accommodate up to 5 passengers.

Mararison Island

The final leg of our Tri - province adventure. This small island is a barangay in Culasi. Over 750 people are residing here but there's not a single health center. Residents will have to brave the seas to reach the next health center or hospital. I hope the government can look into this and provide them with better health services.

Apart from Mararison island's powdery white beach, this island offers a vast headland that brings drama to your every shot. Its picturesque landscapes will surely drain the battery out of your cameras. 

How to get to Mararison Island?

From Iloilo City

Take a bus or van from Molo Terminal bound for Culasi. 

From Tibiao, Antique

Ride a van bound to Culasi or hail a motorcyle to easily take you to Culasi for a higher fee (Php 180 - 250 each)

What to do in Mararison Island?
  • Trekking - Php 200 per guide good for 5 visitors.
  • Swiimming 
  • Snorkelling

Where to stay in Mararison Island?

Tents are highly discouraged by the baranggay. But, they do offer cheap accommodations ranging from Php 250 - 400 per person. If you really prefer tents, you may pitch your tents at Blue Lagoon Resort for a fee.

We stayed in a rustic beach hut with fan. We paid 600 pesos or Php 200 each for an overnight stay. The beach hut's name was Villa Victoriano. Its located by the beach; right side if you're facing the Mararison Island sign. Don't worry, tourism officers will happily assist you upon arrival. 

That sums up our Backpacking the Panay Island series. You and your friends should experience this enchanting island. 

Read: Part I of our Backpacking the Panay Island: Quick Tour in Guimaras
Read: Part II of our Backpacking the Panay Island: The Best of Iloilo City

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