#SharePH: Bewitched in Antique

Experience a glimpse of the province where the mountains meet the sea

Marie Andrea Pefianco

Published: 3:25 AM August 8, 2017

Updated: 1:39 AM August 9, 2017

REDISCOVERING ANTIQUE. Antique, the seahorse- shaped province has more to offer than 'aswang' stories

This blog won MovePH's #SharePH 2017 summer contest. This originally appeared on X, Rappler's self-publishing platform. 

MANILA, Philippines – Antique is known for its aswang (witch) stories. Whenever I tell people that I am from Antique, they always ask me, “'Di ba maraming aswang diyan?” (Aren't there many witches in that place?).

To those who want to be enchanted by its picturesque sceneries and its own variety of flora and fauna, the seahorse-shaped province has more to offer than its aswang stories.

Come with me as I set out to rediscover my province, Antique.

WHITE SAND. Mararison Island is also known as the “Batanes of the Visayas." All photos by Marie Andrea Pefianco

First stop is the so-called “Batanes of the Visayas." The hilly 55-hectare Mararison island located in the town of Culasi stands still. The island is also located parallel to Mt Madya-as, the second highest peak in the island of Panay.

It was almost sunset when we arrived in Culasi. My mom paid P60 at the Culasi Tourism Office to cover our environmental fee. We were about to sail to the island when two travelers asked if we wanted to share the boat with them and splitting the roundtrip fare of P750. 

Friendly locals and the Mararison Children’s Choir welcomed us with their afternoon performance.

Our boatman, Jun, also helped us find a homestay where we could sleep for the night. Nanay Nori, our host, accepted us into her home at P250 per person.  

For our food, we bought fish in the market. The vendor offered to cook them at P150 per dish. 

SMILE. Locals welcome you with bright smiles, sharing good vibes for a worthwhile stay

After our sumptuous lunch, we left our bags at the house of Nanay and went for a hike.

Fortunately, our boatman agreed to be our tour guide for an additional fee of P200.

It was all worth it. The sunset at the peak was truly exhilarating. From there, we can see the Batbatan island, illuminated by the sun's rays.

The clouds were a mix of pink and purple. A rainbow splashed colors in the sky. I felt overjoyed.

FRESH FISH. You can buy fish from local vendors and ask them to cook it for you for P150 per dish

To end the day, we walked to the sandbar after the hike and went night swimming.

When dawn came, we went for another hike to the highest point in the island where we could see the majestic Mt. Madya-as at sunrise.

It was like a beautiful silent movie before my eyes.

SUNSET RAINBOW. A beam of rainbow is seen as the sun sets in Mararison Island.
ROCK PILES. Rock pillars along the sea shore highlights the sunset view towards Batbatan Island.
SUNRISE. A mix of yellow and blue enchants a sunrise over the silhouette of a small island,

I carried that scene as we trekked down to a pebbled beach.  We then continued exploring the adjacent islet, Nablag.

PEBBLES. A monochrome of blue allures every tourist that will pass by this pebbled islet.
CAVE. In Nablag, a cave is ready to be explored
ISLET. Nablag is just adjacent to Mararison Island
CLEAR. A relaxing blue and white view along the shores of Mararison Island
HERD OF GOATS. Passing by this herd of goats in Mararison Island

The short experience in Mararison was surely soul-cleansing. The images left imprints in my mind.

I cannot wait for another bewitching Antique adventure. – Rappler.com

By Marie Andrea Prefianco Originally published under Rappler X