Not feeling so well on the third day of the tour due to the anti-Tetanus vaccine (long story to narrate) that was given to me the other day, I still managed to get out of my bed at University of Antique Hometel. Together with the bloggers, media, and UP Visayas professors, we went to Tuno Village to start the eco-adventure activities in Tibiao, Antique scheduled for us.
But before that, we dropped by Zipline Inn to roam around the pristine surroundings and at the same time for the briefing of the trek to the Bugtong-Bato Falls. The owners of the inn gladly showed us their place and let us check their room accommodations.
We then headed to the village for the start of the short trek. It was high noon and since I was feverish, I already anticipated that the day wouldn’t turn out great for me. I continued the trek and started to sweat, big time. The trail passes by a village followed by lush fields with the majority of the paddies have rice planted on it. The trek is not that strenuous and we have reached the falls after 30 minutes.
Since it’s summer, the supply of water is not that might and we had the falls, which is 33 meters high, on its meek side but still offers an enormous charm. A group of Russians was already on their way to the second tier when we arrived, a good sign that tourism is now growing in the province.
Bugtong-Bato Falls is a 7-tiered waterfall but we were only allowed to explore the first 3 falls. The falls was named as such because of a big boulder “bato” before approaching the first tier, “bugtong” means one. The large rock together with smaller ones align by the basin and act as platform for picture taking and resting place for trekkers before plunging into the cool water.
The second and third tier can be accessed by a risky ascend on a steep flight of steps having a rope to grip on. For you to go to the basin of the third fall, you need to climb again the height of the second tier, which is more steep and risky than the first one. Bugtong-bato Falls was the first waterfall listed down in my journal this year, not that disappointing though. Best time to visit the cascading falls is during the months of June and August when the water looks great.
Kawa Hot Bath
We were advised to dip in the cool water of the falls in preparation for the Kawa Hot Bath. After a short trail from the falls, I already saw the large cauldrons being stoked by woods and dried leaves. I was intrigued by this activity that went viral a couple of months ago wherein you will bathe in a cauldron of hot water and experience literally being “cooked alive”. The fryer being heated with real fire will be filled with spring water until the water becomes warm and aromatic, due to the guyabano and guava leaves, flowers and even ginger as your “seasonings”.
Once the water reaches the right temperature, the staff will damp down the fire and you are now ready to try the must Kawa Hot Bath of Tibiao. Although surreal, the activity is very really relaxing as the right amount of heat of the water releases the tension of the worn-out muscles of the body. I was feverish that entire morning but was recuperated by the kawa hot bath.
White River Kayaking in Tibiao River
It was followed by another exciting activity, the White Water Kayaking. The length of the Tibiao River is perfect for great action and adventure for it is ideal for until grade three to four categories of white water rafting/kayaking. Secured with the life vest and kayak helmet, a basic kayaking lesson was instructed for safety procedures before ravaging the agitated waters of the river.
I enjoy kayaking so it wasn’t a difficult anymore to paddle and control the direction of the kayak. Before we were permitted to proceed beyond the learning area, all facilitators went in their respective spots for the first grade of rapids to assist us. I went first and the first-grade sort of gratified my lust for intense adventure. Everytime the facilitators shout at me to row on the rapids, I just raise my paddle and enjoy the current of the river. It was exhilarating but I wanted more.
Bored while waiting for the other members of the group, I docked my kayak on the side of the river. When everyone arrived at the starting point, I got on my kayak and stayed for the signal of the head facilitator. Obviously, second grade is a little bit harder. Bigger rocks, deeper areas, and more unstable current are present, but still, I managed not to fall in the water. I will surely revisit Antique for this activity and maybe try the third and fourth grades.
Sunset in Tiguis Beach
Drained from the whole day of fun-filled adventure activities, we ended it with an impressive sunset at Tiguis Beach. The stretch of the shoreline is best for sunset viewing and a spot located at the leftmost part have rocks and coconut trees to gild your sunset photo.
When you ask locals what destination to visit in the Philippines, they will mention the famous Boracay in Aklan. But what gladdens me are the growing tourism destinations and activities in the nearby province of Antique. Few kilometers from the crowded beach of Boracay, these attractions will surely provide tourists some thrilling and extraordinary experiences.
How to Go to Tibiao, Antique
Tibiao, Antique can be reached by plane via Caticlan (Boracay) and Kalibo Airports of Aklan or Iloilo International Airport.
Caticlan: At the Caticlan terminal, buses and vans plying the Iloilo via San Jose, Antique route can take you directly to Tibiao, Antique.
Iloilo: From Iloilo airport, you can take a van to Molo terminal for P50-P70. Buses and vans plying the Iloilo-Caticlan or Iloilo-Culasi or Iloilo-Libertad route can take you directly to Tibiao, Antique for P180.00- P200.00 ($4-5), or around 2-3 hours travel.
* Tibiao White Water Kayaking Photos (Photo #1 and #7) were taken by Sir Ruperto Quitag of the UP Visayas Bird Watchers.
** This Tibiao Eco-Adventure experience was part of the Antique Heritage Tour sponsored by the Katahum Tours with the cooperation of the Department of Tourism Region VI and the Antique Provincial Tourism Office. Special thanks to the LGU of Tibiao, Ever Land Inn, Tribal Adventures, Inc. and the University of Antique Hometel.