Anini-y, Antique: I Came, I Saw, I Conquered
It’s probably the faster route connecting Antique capital, San Jose de Buenavista and Iloilo’s San Joaquin which leaves the quiet town of Anini-y, Antique often overlooked by travelers. My sights narrowed down to the town when I saw it on the map being situated on the southwestern tip of Panay Island. The promising location captured my attention assuming there’s a lot going on down there. I came, I saw, I conquered, and got more than I asked for.
Traveling from Tibiao took about 2 hours of picturesque landscapes and seascapes to Antique’s capital, San Jose de Buenavista, where I stopped over for a late lunch before pushing further south to Anini-y. Conveniently right around the corner from where I got off was Tay Inggo’s Manokan and Seafood Restaurant. The atmosphere, inspired by native design, added even more flavor to my delicious Chicken Inasal, marinated and spiced chicken, grilled to perfection, and bowl of Chicken Binakol, a chicken soup dish like tinola but using pure coconut juice instead of water.
Chicken Inasal and Binakol at Tay Inggo’s Manokan & Seafood Restaurant.
Night came before I arrived at Gerbos Beach Resort in Brgy. Nato, Anini-y where I’d be staying for the next few days. Amidst my late disturbance, the owner and family warmly welcomed me to their beach front abode. Divers from many parts of the world frequent the resort mostly during summer months to see the coral reefs surrounding Nogas Island, where a thriving marine ecosystem teems with a wide variety of aquatic species.
A mixture of bowling ball-sized red rocks, pebbles, and soft brown sand made up the shore running along the scenic coast of Anini-y. The entire stretch sat face-to-face with another attraction in town called Nogas Island. However, no boat dared to brave the seas that morning due to hard-hitting waves caused by strong winds. While waiting, I went for a hike to the town proper to check out another tourist destination.
Photographers would love to shoot the beach of Anini-y
San Juan de Nepomuceno Parish Church, commonly known as Anini-y Church, stood at the heart of town as a historical edifice that withstood time, typhoons, and a war. Architects took advantage of the abundance of raw materials readily available within the area such as corals stones for construction. Built during the mid-1900’s, Anini-y Church is the one and only preserved colonial church in the entirety of the province – thus, San Juan de Nepomuceno Parish Church is truly a priceless antique of Antique.
The third and present San Juan de Nepomuceno Parish Church of Anini-y, Antique.
Inside Anini-y Church.
Only the 15-minute boat ride through rough seas stand between me and Nogas Island. Noon has passed but still no local fishermen dared to take visitors to the island – that was until I asked assistance from Sira-an Hot Spring. They made a few phone calls and advised me it was going to be a splashy boat ride, and I told them I don’t mind getting wet at all.
Nogas Island Lighthouse.
Young mangroves on the southern end of the island.
Soft white sand accentuated by shells of varying shapes sprawl the beaches of the 24-hectare Nogas Island bound by flourishing coral reefs marked as dive spots. A pathway flanked by a canopy of gigantic Kalachuchi plants lead to the island’s centerpiece, the Nogas Island Lighthouse. The lighthouse towering all over the island captures the curiosity of onlookers though it remains inactive, and non-functional.
Sira-an Hot Spring & Health Resort’s semi-infinity pool overlooking Panay Gulf.
Poised majestically on a cliff overlooking Panay Gulf is another popular destination for tourist, especially locals from neighboring towns and provinces. Sira-an Hot Spring & Health Resort boasts of its natural sulfuric water where visitors could wade their bodies for a warm refreshing dip – a perfect way to end a day packed with adventure.
A view of Nogas Island and Anini-y’s Beach from the rocks just below Sira-an Hot Springs.
My fascination with lighthouses brought me to the far ends of Panay to visit Anini-y’s famous Nogas Island. Again due to my untimely journey during rainy season, I almost came on the brink of abandoning my target but I think, holding on to hope and optimism helped to bring luck on my side and accomplish what I came for. On the contrary, if it weren’t really possible to reach Nogas Island, there’s a hot spring, a historical church, a long stretch of beach, the kind people, and another reason to re-visit Anini-y.
Some fast facts that may help you on the trip:
1. Thanks to the kind family of Gerbo’s Beach & Dive Resort for giving me a good bargain during my stay in their place. The resort is located on Barrio Nato, Anini-y, Antique. Vist them Gerbo Dive Resort Facebook page.
2. Directions to Anini-y from Caticlan: Take a Ceres bus or a van bound for Iloilo or San Jose de Buenavista and get off at San Jose de Buenavista town proper. Take a jeep bound for Anini-y. (However, there are also Ceres buses from Caticlan which passes by Anini-y town proper, ask the conductor if they will pass by)
3. Directions to Anini-y from Iloilo: There’s a bus bound for San Jose or Caticlan that passes by Anini-y. Better ask the conductor to make sure. If ever it takes the diversion road, you could get off at Tiolas and wait for buses that will go to Anini-y.
4. Boat to Nogas Island cost P500.00, and it’s good for up to 8-10 persons, I think. Travel time is roughly 15-20 minutes. There’s an entrance fee of P20.00 per person but during my visit no one was there to charge.
5. Sira-an Hot Springs & Health Resort is also located in Barrio Nato, in Anini-y. Entrance fee is P50.00 per person. Visit them on Facebook.
6. This is the second post on my two-week long backpacking journey in Panay Island and Guimaras. Next stop is Jordan, Guimaras.
7. More Antique destinations.
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10. Happy travels and be safe.