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ANTIQUE

History

Historians have it that 10 Bornean datus headed by Datu Puti, along with their followers, left Borneo to escape persecution by the rajah of the House of Sri-Vijaya and landed in the island of Panay, then ruled by the Ati King, Marikudo. After some haggling, they succeeded in buying the island from the Sumakwel, to establish a permanent settlement in what is now Malandog in the municipality of Hamtic, the name was taken after a specie of a large ant called hantic-hantic, which abound in the place.

Eventually, the settlers occupied the coastal parts of the island while the natives took to the hinterlands. The datus sliced the island into political units, called sakop, namely Hamtic (Antique), Aklan, and Irong-Irong (Iloilo). Datu Puti, Bangkaya and Paiburong headed these sakops but the entire island continued to be balled Hantic under the supreme command of Datu Sumakwel.

Antique was later on officially recognized as a separate political and military province with Antique (San Jose) as the capital town. The institution of American authority over the island, and the restoration of peace and order in Panay led to the formation of a civil government on April 13, 1901. During the Japanese occupation, Mr. Baloy (elevation 2,080 m), which straddles part of Antique was the headquarters of the 6th Military District under Col. Macario Peralta. The other two peaks of Panay, Mt. Madia-as (elevation 1.117 m) and Mt. Nangtud (elevation 1,90 m) are found in the province of Antique.

Geography

Profiled like a seahorse, Antique is an oversized serrated hemline on the western border of the three-cornered scarf-like land mass that is Panay. It lies between the China Sea to the west and a tall mountain range, 155 kilometers long and 33 kilometers at its midwest, to the east, separating it from the rest of Panay. Antique has a total land area of approximately 2,522 sq. km. Iloilo bound it on the north and northeast by Aklan, on the east by Capiz, and on the southwest. On the west is the Cuyo East Pass of the Sulu Sea, part of the vast China Sea. Eighteen municipalities make up the province: fourteen along the coast, three inland, and one on six islets. Coastal towns are Anini-y, Tobias Fornier, Hamtic, San Jose de Buenavista, Belison, Patnongon, Bugasong, Laua-an, Barbaza, Tibiao, Culasi, Sebaste, Pandan, and Libertad. The inland towns are Sibalom, San Remigio, and Valderamma. Caluya is all of six islets.

Climate

Antique has two distinct climates - dry and wet. From December the dry months last through May, but intermittent rains may come any month of the year. August is the rainiest month with an average of 23 rainy days. The average rainfall is 143.45 inches, the greatest precipitation from June to September. The mean average the annual temperature is 82.2 F, January being the coldest at an average of 79.2 F.

Population

Antique has 55,635 households, with an average household size of 5.54. Its population of 289,172.

Languages

Kinaray-a and Hiligaynon are the two major languages of Antique. These are the everyday languages of the Antiqueños, although they are also proficient in Tagalog, English and in other languages of the rest of Panay and the Vises. Many of the Antiqueños can also comprehend Spanish and there are some who can speak it like a Castillan.

Kinaray-a has Indo-Malayan origins. It is characterized by the pre-dominance of R's and schew sounds words with a lifting gentle intonation. Hiligaynon is quite similar to Kiniray-a, with only a slight difference in orthography and pronunciation. In Hiligaynon, the "o" is pronounced as a long "o," but in Kiniray-a it sounds like a cross between "o" and "e."

Major Industries

The province is basically agricultural with rice and sugarcane as principal products. Fishing is the second largest industry. Cuyo East Pass along the Antique coast is reputedly the richest fishing ground in the country. Estimated annual catch of the fishing industry is 376,000 tons. A profitable take is also derived from inland fishing grounds.

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

Historical

Anini-y Church - A massive white coral building with has survived earthquakes and time; constructed by Augustinian friars sometime 1875 and 1880. It is the only church of Spanish vintage extant in the province and one of the oldest landmarks in Antique. It is located in poblacion Anini-y, 40.46 kms south of San Jose de Buenavista.

Malandog Marker - Found in Hamtic, 7 kms south of San Jose, Antique. It memorializes the landing of the earlier Malayan settlers. Built with the campus of Malandog Elementary School, the marker reads: "Landing site of the first Malayan settlers 1200 A.D."

Old Watchtower - Found in Libertad, Antique, 143 kms north of San Jose. It used to be crenellated and was for warning natives of approaching pirates. The tower is still intact.

EBJ Freedom Park - A plaza located in front of the Antique provincial Capitol building in San Jose, Antique. The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of the province, in behalf of the entire Antiqueño citizenry, officially christened the place Evelio B. Javier Freedom Park. On the park may be found a marker which reads: "A fitting tribute to a man who has done so much, not only for the people of Antique, but for the entire Filipino nation, in pursuit of justice, freedom, dignity, democracy and peace." The marker also marks the spot where the late Gov. Evelio B. Javier was first shot by assassins on February 11, 1986.

Telegrafo Hill Boundary - Straddling the Iloilo-Antique boundary, it commands a view of the San Jose, Antique headland. The hill was a Japanese stronghold during World War II. The place is ideal for hiking and horseback riding.

St. Agustin's High School - Located in Patnongon, Antique. Its building is a remodeled old Spanish covenant near the site of the ruins of the century-old Spanish church. Mill Hill Missionaries run St. Agustin's.

Estaca Hall - Estaca Hall is in the center of the town of Bugasong. It has an elevation of some 200 feet with a view of the sea and the hills. The hill was once the site of a watchtower to warn the people of Muslim pirates.

Natural

Sailboat or motorized banca can reach Nogas Island - This 24-hectare government naval reservation island three miles from the shoreline of Anini-y town proper, in 20 minutes. It has a white sand beach with lots of corals and shells. The place is ideal for shell hunting and snorkeling.

Sira-an Hot Spring - A government-owned sulfur spring atop solid rock with warm water flowing profusely from a crevice and collecting in tiled basins that can accommodate two persons. Water from fissures below the basin is flammable. Frequent visits by foreigners and residents of nearby towns spur development of Sira-an. The municipal government has constructed some nipa cottages and a concrete fence in the area. The spring is along the highway and is one a half kilometers from the town proper.

Hurao-Hurao island - At low tide the island can be reached by wading. It is located at Barangay San Roque, 5 kms south of poblacion Anini-y. Many hold picnics in the island where coconut trees cool the air and provide shade. Seashells are abundant on the beach.

Cresta de Gallo - Called Puntat Nasog by natives, this denuded mountain of solid rock with three peaks resembling a cock's comb, is believed rich in mineral deposit. At the foot of Cresta de Gallo lie scenic beaches of Rendon and Bantique. It is located at Barangay Iba in Anini-y.

Taguimtim - Two kilometers south of Tobias Frontier, Antique. It has breathtaking surf on rocks and coral, coconut palms and mangroves along the beach. The place is perfect for picnics and swimming. Punta Hagdan is a solid rock splintered by the road. A shrine of our Lady of Fatima crowns one hill.

Camp Autajay - Sometimes called Piña Beach by the people, it is five km away from San Jose town. It is a 10-hectare lot located along the beach, with an orchard, an array of narra and mahogany trees, nipa sheds, benches and cottages. The place is ideal for camping, live-in seminars or conferences where one can go swimming, light a bonfire, climb trees, pick fruits or play during leisure hours.

Pula Waterfalls - Red-tinted water cascade down the waterfall. It is 2 kms away from poblacion San Remegio.

Bato Cueva - Bato Cueva in La Union, San Remegio, is located on a hilltop near a forest nursery. From there one can see San Jose and Sibalom and on clear weather, mount Madia-as in Culasi.

Danao Lake - Located in the high mountains of San Remegio, it has a diameter of around 1 hectare. Heavy rains do not raise the water level of the lake. The jungle near the lake has monkeys and wild chicken, thus the place is ideal for hunters.

Batabat Coral Reef - Located at Barbaza, Antique. It is one kilometer offshore, a 20-minute ride by pumpboat. It is one a half hectare of coral of varied colors which can be seen through its clear waters.

Cadiao Resort - Eleven kilometers from poblacion Barbaza to Bgy. Capuyawan, then 5 kilometers on foot. This resort has a Baguio-like temperature, if not cooler, during summer. Lolita Falls is on the hillside.

Macalbag Waterfalls - A waterfall 50 feet high, it can be found in Barangay Mabiad, 8 kilometers from poblacion Barbaza. Caves abound and some are still unexplored. One cave is believed to have seven "rooms."

Hatay-Hatay Resort - Located in Sitio Hatay-Hatay, this reosrt is around kilometers from the poblacion. There is abundant water from the surrounding springs, thus an Olympic size swimming pool can easily be developed in the place.

Cainangan Spring - Five kilometers from poblacion Barbaza and can be reached in 40 minutes. An irrigation system in the town makes use of abundant spring water.

Mararison Island - An inhabited island off Culasi with a long stretch of white sand beach, Mararison has five hectares of riceland, plenty of coconut trees and two caves each about 100 feet long. Sharp corals make the beach unsuitable for swimming although beachcombing and spear fishing can be enjoyable. The interesting "pitcher plant" can be found here, too. It is a rare species of plant with leaves shaped like a pitcher with an open cap which closes to trap insects. Mararison is 4 kilometers off the coast of Culasi and is 15 minutes by pumpboat.

Mt. Madia-as - The summit of Mt. Madia-as is 2,117 m above sea level. Its peak is always shrouded with clouds, although the mountain can be seen in clear weather and late afternoons. All year round Madia-as keeps its forest and vegetation evergreen with fourteen waterfalls around its base.

A trek to its summit is a man-size sport, appropriate as Holy Week penance during the summer. One has to endure a 15-kilometer trail of rock leading to a dry river bed; brave an improvised wood-bamboo bridge over a boulder-strewn river; hurdle numerous hills before reaching a village at its foot where the ascent actually starts; tightrope walk on a two-foot bridge floating on a sea of clouds, clamber up near-vertical slopes while precariously hold on on to tiny rock outcroppings, grasses and roots of trees; and on to more than a thousand feet above certain death. Hikers contrive schemes like rubbing soap on pants and tucking in tobacco leaves in socks to ward off leeches. Be ready with a raincoat for heavy rains that can fall anytime.

The hard journey to the mountains of Madia-as is a worthwhile experience for the beautiful mountain scenery, different species of flora and fauna, rare orchids, pitcher plants, wild herbs, wild deer and boar, a bonsai forest looking nearly trimmed, a lagoon, and a rain forest that provides Madia-as was a weather of its own.

Batbatan Island - Batbatan Island, 8 kilometers from Mararison Island rises as a mound of soft greenery, an attraction to scuba divers. American oceanographers who stayed in this island concluded that the island belongs to the Carribean category. There are natural coves and anchorages around it and there are white sand beaches, too. The Tangays, a cultural minority inhabiting the island, speak a dialect different from that on mainland Antique.

Kalamasag Falls - Kalamasag Falls in Bgy. Abiera is seven kilometers and three hour walking time from the national road. This waterfall, about 100 feet high, is one of the most beautiful in Panay.

Igpasungaw Falls - Igpasungaw Falls in Sebaste poblacion is three kilometers from the national highway, is 30-minute walk up hills, having a natural swimming pool 8-10 meters in diameter and having two meters deep. The place offers coolness amidst tall trees.

Bugtong Bukid - Located at the town proper of Sebaste, 500 meters from the national highway, rising several hundred feet above sea level. With a resthouse of bamboo and nipa, Bugtong Bukid rewards the hard day with rest and solitude.

Malumpati Health Spring and Tourist Resourt - Located at Pandan, Antique. The spring watercollects in a small lake and is believed to have medicinal properties. Water is so cool even on hot days, making the place an ideal vacation spot.

Marble Mountain - Located at Pandan, Antique. The marble deposit is expected to last a thousand years. It is quarried in colors of gold, gray, black, pink, light gray, white, red, blue and combinations of these colors.

Maanghit Cave - Located at Union, Libertad, the cave is rich in guano deposited by bats. It is seven kilometers from the town proper.

Religious

Sto. Nino Church - Located at Hamtic, Antique. The church rests on an elevation, above it are a convent and a bell tower up which are winding steps among flowers. A wooded knoll sets of the scene.

San Jose Cathedral - Located near the new provincial capitol of San Jose. It is easily identifiable with its bell tower, the highest in the province.

Sta. Rita Catholic Church - Located at Sibalom town, 10 kilometers northeast of San Jose. The supine statue of Sta. Rita here was a gift from the Augistinian sisters in Casica, Italy and the feast of Sta. Rita is celebrated on May 22.

Barbaza Catholic Church - The church with the most modern architectural style in the whole of Antique and designed by the same architect who designed Museo Iloilo. It is located at Barbaza town 61 kilometers north of San Jose, Antique.

St. Blaise Church - Located at Sebaste, Antique. The church of St. Blaise has always been an object of pilgrimage for Roman Catholic devotees through tye years. The feast of St. Blaise is celebrated every February 2. Mysteries and miracles are attributed to the saint.

Man-Made

La Granja Hill and Binirayan Site - Located at San Jose, Antique. It is a sports complex with a grandstand and a library on a hillside and the site of the yearly Binirayan Festival. The playing field is also a venue for cultural presentations.

Festivals

Binirayan Festival - April 30 to May 2. Binirayan commemorates the landing of ten Malay datus in Malandog, Hamtic, Antique, in the middle of the 13th century to set up the first Malayan settlement or barangay in this country. Started in 1971, it is now attracting the attention of the Filipinos throughout the country. A good number of tourists come to see and participate in this event.

Special Interest

Caluya Island - Caluya has white sand beaches and clear water ideal for scuba diving and spear fishing. Various species of sea shells, including rare ones, abound in its beaches. Tatus, local name for coconut or robber crab, is an exotic delicacy that are plenty in Caluya.

Semirara Island - Also a part of Caluya, the island has the largest deposit of coal in the Philippines; it is also a bird sanctuary and is idea for horseback riding.

Patadyong Weaving - Barangay Bagtason in Bugasong looms weave the famous Bugasong patadyong, the only one of its kind in the Visayas and well-known throughout the islands.

Sunken Garden - Located at Punta Pucio, 9 kms from Libertad town proper, this "garden" pf rocks and corrals, around 500 sq. meters may be seen just below a "micro" sea.

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