To continue my October adventure, right after I arrived from New Zealand, I rushed to the next terminal to board my flight to Kalibo, Aklan. This next trip was a bit different from all my recent ones because I wasn’t prepared for all the things that happened. But I'm still happy I got to experience and learn new things from this trip. We landed in Aklan around lunch time and the person who was supposed to pick us up was nowhere to be found. Trying to stay positive, my friend Gael and I decided to just eat lunch and wait for any updates from our contact person for our trip. Unfortunately, our contact wasn’t picking up so we didn’t know what to do. Good thing I was with Gael because if I was alone, I wouldn't know what to do.
After lunch, we decided to take a 3-hour bus to Tibiao, Antique from Kalibo (bus fare is around ~180 PHP for a non-aircon bus) and just meet our friends at the dinner venue. Thankfully, everything worked out and we reached the dinner venue on time! We spent the rest of the night chatting with old and new friends + pizza at Mammamia Italian and Filipino Restaurant!
The next morning, before heading out, we were given the chance to try out Antique's famous Kawa hot bath. It felt a bit like being cooked for dinner haha! But the whole experience was relaxing. I'd honestly come back and try this again.
We stopped by at Dandanzoy Restaurant to have a "snack" and try out the famous Buko-Batchoy (Php60) and Buko Burger (Php40). I really enjoyed the buko-batchoy! If ever you find yourself in the area, you should definitely give it a try. It sounded weird for me at first but it actually worked well with the batchoy.
Views around Antique while on our way to lunch in Valderrama Nature Park with Valderrama's mayor. (yup, we're eating again)
Funny story about this photograph. When I was editing this, I thought the shadow of the rock (you'll see it around the middle of the photo) was a small person which freaked me out a lot. I zoomed in and laughed because I realized that it was just the rock's shadow.
Ivan, Gian, and Gael riding the police escort's car.
The weather was great most part of the day but it turned bad when we were about to start our hike up to the rice terraces. We took a 45-minute habal habal from the town proper to Brgy Lublub (Php 200). We had to cross a river going to the base of the mountain (which I found quite dangerous!) but since it was my first time seeing rice terraces, I kept going. I'll try to post a video of the river crossing here for you guys to get an idea what it was like (and how scary it was!)
Going to the summit takes about an hour and a half up. The hike was okay. I think what made it difficult was the rain and our lack of proper hiking attire/gear. We started the hike at around 4~5PM which we thought was a bad idea because it was starting to get dark and I don't think anyone would want to be hiking in the dark. Our trip organizer was confident that we'd make it to the top before nightfall. -- he was wrong. It was already pitch black and we were still on our way up the mountain. I was honestly freaking out since I didn't want to die (lol at things you think of when you're lost in the mountain at night). We were all soaked too. Thank God that mobile phones now have flashlights else we would've fallen or something. 30 minutes going up the mountain in the dark, we finally made it to Bakiang.
This was pretty amazing to look at! Too bad that some fields were just recently harvested so some weren't green. But wow, the view was just A+. I think it was worth getting rained on and everything. It's not everyday that you get to see views like this.
We stayed in one of the houses in the village for the night. I was so happy to finally see the sun out the next morning. The only thing that wasn't too fun was we had to hike down the same path again. The sad realization I think for this trip is that for the residents of the village, going up and down the mountain was an everyday thing. They had no proper roads or paths that connect them directly to the town proper. It's just sad that it's something they just have to get used to. Hopefully in the future, things will be different.
Curious little children. Assumed that they weren't really used to visitors in their village.
Morning views around the village
One of the locals in the village greeting us good morning
More curious children came to say good bye before we left.
I'm glad that it was sunny on our way down. We finally got a better view of the terraces from a different angle.
After our hike down, motorcycle ride back to the town proper, and crossing rivers, we were told that our last activity for the day was checking out the Rafflesia flower near Valderrama Nature Park. It usually takes the locals 25~30 minutes to get there but knowing how slow I walk, it took us an hour to get to where the flowers are. We tried finding an opened flower but most of the ones we saw are either dead or still buds. We were starting to lose hope but our guide was vigilant and was sure that there was one that had just bloomed in the area. We kept on looking until we finally found it. And wow, it was beautiful! I guess it was worth the hike up... The one we saw is a smaller species (Rafflesia speciosa) of the Rafflesia flower about twice the size of my hand. We was told that the biggest one is found somewhere in Malaysia.
San Remigio, Antique
After all the flower viewing and everything, we headed back to the car and made our way to San Remigio. It took us quite a while to get there. At this point, I was just too tired to take my camera out and take photos. I just wanted to rest and sleep.
The next morning was spent eating batchoy, sipping coffee, exploring a cave, and being showed how lubid-lubid" was made.
Our last and final stop for our Antique adventure was Nogas Island. My favorite thing about Nogas Island is the path to the lighthouse is lined with kalachuchi trees which makes it a perfect spot to take photos.
Kitty following me around Nogas Island
The weather started to look pretty bad and we were still in the island. We hurried to our boat and left the island as fast as possible. The boat ride back was pretty scary too. The waves were really strong. I would have taken a video of the boat ride had it not been too dangerous to record it. Haha!
Last stop before going to our next destination
Overall, our Antique experience was great even if at some point we felt like we were going to die (Lol!). The views I saw were amazing and made me realize that there are so many more beautiful things to see in the Philippines. I'm looking forward to exploring my country more in the future.