Three lighter skin tones ago, my boyfriend and I dared ourselves for a more adventurous and fun summer getaway. We headed to the province where the mountains meet the sea, Antique. It's a large town in the western part of Panay (in fact, the largest).
In trying to explore Antique, one day is not enough. So given the day we are to tour, we chose to explore Tibiao. With the help of Katahum Travels, we scored a day-tour package of Tibiao adventures.
Day Tour- Package Inclusions: (1,599php/person)
- Unlimited Fish Spa
- Free service transfers in their Habal-Habal to all places covered
- Lunch Meal
- A choice of 1km Zipline, Zorb, White Water Kayaking or Body Massage
- Tour Guide
- Trekking to Bugtong-Bato Falls
- 30 Minutes of Kawa Hot Bath
We took the bus and left Ilo-Ilo around 4 in the morning to arrive by 8 since it's a 3-4 hr-bus ride (travel time). Upon arrival, we paid the walk-in rates and headed first to the fish spa area. Around 12-15 people can be accommodated in the fish spa dipping pool. They also offer a separate deal with their whole body fish spa.
After we had our breakfast at their mini cafe, we rode the "Habal-habal", a single motorbike with a separate driver, and off we went to the village where Bugtong-Bato is just a km and a half, hike away. From the village, we are accompanied by another local together with our tour-guide for the route of our hike.
The photo above is the first of the 7-tierred water falls. Only the first 3-cascading falls were allowed for beginners like us since the rest are almost mountains away and would require A LOT MORE hiking experience. The trekking was fun although a bit agonizing for an asthmatic like me plus the scorching heat of the sun at around 11am. I wonder how the first hikers even reached the 7th.
After a relaxing swim at the second and third falls, we decided to try Canyoneering. It was a separate pay of 450 + 300 (for the guide) each for the canyoneering since it required the help of skilled people who would assist us.
When Canyoneering, one should be prepared with the right gears and enough courage! haha. Good thing we came ready with closed shoes (running shoes though). But it was good enough than my sandals or bare foot! I can't imagine doing it with barefoot since even with the shoes, I already felt the slippery formations behind the water falls.
|120-ft Canyoneering at the first of the 7 falls of Bugtong Bato|
An hour and a couple of screams after, I survived my first epic attempt at canyoneering. My boyfriend made it in less than 20 minutes. He might have a hidden skill or whatsoever. haha
A Kawa is a form of a pot used by the natives to cook food. In Tibiao though, it is rather an extra large type known as their primitive jacuzzi. Its purpose is not to cook food but offer a therapeutic effect on the body. Real fire is placed underneath as to increase the temperature but is removed once it already reaches the right level of heat.
The photo above is about my super happy mode having to experience a very relaxing Kawa Hot Bath after a rigorous canyoneering, and below is about my boyfriend trying to cook me! (Just kidding)
The people in charge would see to it that they put fresh flowers and ginger in the kawa. It is believed in the area that there are supernatural creatures existing in the nearby mountains and entering the place as a beginner should have yourself a "luy-a" (ginger) handy. Having such or doing some "pangluy-a" (ritual with the ginger) with an expert will spare you from the native supernatural creatures.
After 30 relaxing minutes at the Kawa Hot Bath, we trekked another 1.5km back to the village and rode off to the white-water area where we will go Kayaking.
We came in the time when the water was low and the adventure was a bit rocky. However, it was fine for me as a first-timer since when the water rises in mid-May, kayaking is a bit more risky since the rapids will be extra fast. (According to the guide)
In kayaking, no need for super gears, all you need would be a helmet, a life-vest, and all the strength in paddling. (I got sore arms after kayaking and gained a muscle maybe. haha)
I must admit, my first kayaking experience was a disaster and annoying for the people who saw me kayak in the viewing deck but it was such a very fun adventure! It was a good decision to choose kayaking over the tempting 1km zipline.
The day-tour package ended with a stroll at the hanging bridges and still with the unlimited fish spa back at the tibiao fish spa lounge.
There you have it, folks! Will definitely go back to ace canyoneering and kayaking next time. :)
Leaving you guys with a quick list of tips on what to bring when you go to Tibiao too.
- MONEY- Aside from the bus fares of 200php (x2) and the tour-package of 1,599php, you will be needing more for extra adventures like canyoneering 750php, (optional) tip to guides, food and souvenirs.
- FOOD- As mentioned above, you will need to shell out a hefty amount of cash when you opt to dine in their mini cafe as they serve a 50php-worth of meal(an instant coffee + a cup of rice + a fried egg + 3 tiny slices of God-knows-what kind of luncheon meat) and charge you 115php! I highly recommend you to bring packed breakfast when you decide to come early.
- SUN BLOCK LOTION- Optional for those who want to wreak burnt skin. Choose ones with a higher SPF though, as the basic 15 can't be enough in the scorching heat in the mountains.
- TREKKING SHOES- I chose to pack so light and skipped the hassle of bringing my own pair so I ended up borrowing my boyfriend's pair. Sure it saved me from the slimy things in the waterfall, but I ended up bruising my legs since I'm 2 sizes smaller and it caused me to slide a gazillion times.
- CAMERA- Although a bit optional, but your Tibiao Adventure won't be as complete without pictures to showcase your travel. Your phones can already be considered. If you want to be daring enough, I recommend you bring an underwater cam or have your mobile gadgets a case which is shockproof and waterproof. No need to worry about your DSLRs getting wet since the tour guide will be there to play photographer.
I hope you'll enjoy your Tibiao trip as much as we did. Heading to Tibiao anytime soon too? Feel free to email me questions regarding the extreme adventures. I might be of help! ;)