When one mentions Panay, the first thing that comes to mind is the white sand beach and sunsets of Boracay.
Boracay is one of the most popular destinations in the Philippines, whether for local or foreign tourists. Because it’s part of Aklan, it also drives tourism in other parts of the province. However, there’s more to Panay Island than Aklan. Here are less touristy but still noteworthy destinations to add to your itinerary.
Antique is just a few hours away from Boracay, but it is completely different. It is not as developed and as crowded like its more famous counterpart. This province has a lot of potential for tourism because of its beaches and rugged landscape. One of the most unique experiences you’ll have on the island is in Tibiao, where you can take a dip into a steaming hot kawa bath. After bathing, you can head to Bugtong Bato Falls for a swim.
If you’re looking for an island getaway, Mararison Island is the place to go to during your stay in Antique. It has a beautiful pristine beach that has powdery white sand and a small community of fisher folk that add to its idyllic charm. One of the highlights of a trip to this island is the overlooking view from a mountain.
If you’re up for an adventure, visiting Seco Island should be on your itinerary. This is part of Tibiao and is recognized as a prime eco-tourism destination in Panay. The bone-white sand is powdery and picture perfect with the cerulean waters as its background. Other than beach bumming, one of the reasons visitors go here is to do kite surfing.
Where to stay: Antique Hotels
Iloilo is a charming province that is a mix of developed and rural districts. The city has the comforts visitors are looking for, such as a variety of restaurants, shopping centers, and transportation hub to other places on Panay Island.
For those looking for beach time, one of the places to go to is Gigantes Island. The island is picturesque, with a lovely sandbar, powdery white sand, and turquoise waters that are calm and ideal to swim in. Once there, go on an island hopping tour to its main sites such as Cabugao Gamay Island, Pawikan Cave, Bantigue Island, Antonia Beach, and Tangke. Cabugao Island is the most photographed spot on Gigantes Island, a climb up the rocks of the beach will take you to the area where you can get an overlooking view of the island.
Iloilo has a rich heritage and culture that has withstood the test of time — from old churches to houses and streets. A walk around Iloilo city will take you to heritage buildings, churches, mansions, and a cathedral. Miagao Church is another noteworthy attraction in this province; the church was designated as a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site because of its baroque design. It is famous for the sculptural reliefs on its façade.
Where to stay: Iloilo Hotels
Capiz is not usually on the radar of tourists exploring the island, but once you visit, its idyllic charm and rich history will make you stay a little longer. Relax and take in local life while spending an afternoon around the area of the Roxas City Fountain and Cathedral. The baroque church of Sta. Monica is another landmark that is worth a visit on Panay Island. It was recognized as a National Historical Landmark in 1997. You can also find Dakong Linganay, the biggest Christian church bell in the region, hanging in Sta. Monica Church.
Capiz also has beach destinations. Nearby Baybay Beach is perfect for viewing the sunset and eating delicious seafood in the many restaurants along the coast. Olotoyan and Mantalinga Islands are also noteworthy places to visit while in the province.
Where to stay: Capiz Hotels
Panay Island must be on your travel itinerary because it provides you with an eclectic mix of places to visit; it has beautiful beaches that are commercialized as well as undeveloped, cultural and historical attractions, delicious food, and fun festivals.