THE PROVINCE OF ANTIQUE is situated in Western Visayas region and San Jose is its capital. The province is bordered by Aklan, Capiz, and Iloilo to the east, and to the west side is the Sulu Sea.
Tribal Negritos or Atis were the first settlers of the Island of Panay led by the Negrito chieftain, Marikudo. According to province history, in the year 1212 ten Malay datus led by Datu Puti escaped persecution in a Hindu-Malay empire that existed in Borneo and Sumatra by sailing together with their people and they landed on Panay. The Malay Datus bought the island from Marikudo by trading a golden “saduk” or headpiece, a golden necklace, among many other tokens. Since then, the Borneans settled in this area.
The province was then known prior to the arrival of the Spaniards as “Hantik” derived from large red ants found in the Island called “Lantik-lantik”. Hantik was then under the governance of Datu Sumakwel, one of the ten datus. He established the first Malay settlement in the Philippines, the town of Malandog. Malandog is now a barangay in the present-day municipality of Antique.
Antique has a total land area of 252,200 hectares. The province is isolated from the rest of the island of Panay by the Cordilleras of the island and Semirara Islands, located between Panay and Mindoro are part of Antique. Land use is primarily for agriculture which comprises 45,200 hectares or 17.90% of the total provincial land. The province also has 23,896 hectares or 9.5% of primary and secondary forest. Forest land accounts to 118,635 hectares and 53% of the land area is classified as alienable and disposable.
Antiqueños are hospitable people extending assistance to visitors and guests. They speak in Kinaray-a dialect. Residents are also religious. Even today, the Catholic Church remains influential in both the society and politics of the province. However, people living in the mountains still follow ancient folk beliefs such as the “Babaylans” who heals the sick or conjure spells.
The climate of Antique have two pronounced seasons which is the dry season that occurs in the months of November to April, and rainy season occurs from the months of June to September. Cool months are December to January and hot months are April and May. Average mean temperature in the province is 27 °C.
COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY IN ANTIQUE
Agriculture is also one of the major economic investment or gains in the province of Antique, particularly the production of palay with 4,438,025 cavans from 58,847 hectares. This has an average yield of 3.02 metric tons per hectare, followed by Copra which registers a total production of 15,712 mt. Others are corn, legumes such as moonbeams, peanuts and other beans, muscovado sugar, root crops such as camote, cassava, ube, and others; vegetables such as leafy, fruit and root, banana and mango produce. The capital town of San Jose de Buenavista is now the center of business hub mushroom as well. All of these products are also shipped out of the province.
Today the province also has various establishments from manufacturing such as native gifts, toys, housewares, making hollowblocks, wood furnitures, steel or wood, packed foods, metal craft, thresher, soap and sidecar. There are now a total of 117 service establishments and 294 trade establishments. Other investments are based on mineral resources found in the province such as coal, marble, copper, gold, limestone, silica gemstone and others; Livestock and poultry processing; fishery products including seaweeds processing, mills, banks and other financial institutions. Forest products are also helpful in the economic growth of the province such as bamboo, rattan, buri, bariw, nito, log, charcoal, abaca, herbal vines and plants, wild flowers and others which are used as raw materials in construction industry, furniture and handicraft.
ART AND CULTURAL HERITAGE IN ANTIQUE
Antiqueños celebrates Binirayan Festival every December 27 to 29 commemorating the landing of the ten Malay Datus in Malandog, Hamtic, and Antique in the middle of 13th century setting up the first Malayan settlement. There is also a Council of Balangao Re-enactment every March 4 to 6 in Culasi, re-enacting the gathering of the Malayan Datus headed by Sumakwel after their settlement in Malandog for thanksgiving and renewal.
The province of Antique is noted for their weaving industry, particularly the “Bugasong patadyong” which is a tube cotton fabric of plaid design; as well as the Piña cloth. Wine manufactured from the sap of the coconut is also a well known cottage industry here in Antique.
MUNICIPALITIES OF ANTIQUE
Antique has 18 municipalities:
Tobias Fornier (Dao)
Batabat Coral Reef
The reef is situated in Barbaza, a 20-minute via pump boat.
This Cave is located on hilltop near a forest nursery.
The place has a cool temperature similar to Baguio City.
Cresta De Gallo
This is a denuded mountain of solid rock shaped like rooster's crown believed rich in mineral deposit.
This is ideal for hunting.
EBJ Freedom Park
This Park was built in honor of the late Gov. Evelio B. Javier who was assassinated on February 11, 1986 while defending freedom and democracy from forces of martial law.
The Hill is located in Bugasong with an elevation of some 200 feet and a view of the sea and hills.
This is abundant spring water.
This waterfall is 50 feet high and features several unexplored caves.
This Marker is 7 kilometers away from the south side of San Jose commemorating the landing site of the first Malayan settlers in the province.
This Island is ideal for a summer getaway with a long stretch of white sand.
This is a 24-hectare government naval reservation island 3 miles from the shoreline of Anini-y town proper recommended for shell hunting, snorkeling and scuba diving.
This tower is located in Libertad.
Pula Water Falls
The falls is 2 kilometers away from Poblacion San Remigio, and red-tinted water cascade down the water fall.
Sira-an Hot Spring
This spring is government-owned which features hot sulphur spring atop solid rock. This is accessible 1 1/2 kilometers away from Anini-y town proper.
St. Agustin’s High School
This is situated in Patnongon, Antique. The school is a renovated old Spanish convent near the site of the ruins of the century-old Spanish church run by Mill Hill Missionaries.
Telegrafo Hill Boundary
This has a perfect view of San Jose, Antique and ideal for hiking and horseback riding.
The Oldest Filipino-Hispano Church
This Church is located in Hamtik and was constructed in 1581. The place is now a Hamtik cemetery.
Other places to visit:
BEACH RESORTS / ISLANDS
Malumpati Health Spring and Tourist Resort
Bugtong Bato Waterfalls
NATURAL CAVES AND HILLS
Barbaza Batcholic Church
San Jose Cathedral
St. Blaise Church
Sta. Rita Catholic Church
Sto. Niño Church
La Granja and Binirayan Hills
Manglamon Beach and Cave of Tiguis
There is a direct flight from Manila to San Jose, Antique every Monday, Wednesday and Friday via Asian Spirit.
Antique is accessible by land transport to and from Iloilo, Aklan, and Capiz. San Jose, the capital town, is a 1 ½ hour drive from Iloilo City. Tricycles are numerous in town as well as buses and jeepneys. Car rental services are also available.
Antique is 16 hours from Manila. It leaves Manila to Lipata Port, Culasi, and Antique every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.