Anini-y, Antique is one of those very special places. It’s remote, a bit hard to get to. It’s a former Spanish colonial outpost with its historic character, integrity and ambiance well preserved. You can relax on the plaza by the old stone church overlooking the sea and imagine that things are much same as they might have been when a Spanish supply ship arrived at this remote outpost in the 18th century. Anini-y is also the jumping-off place for fabulous Nogas Island which has some of the best reefs, diving and snorkeling on Panay Island. Anini-y also is the home of Sira-an Hot Springs which also offers overnight accommodations.
Note: Just beyond the cemetery is a dirt road. Take that road to catch a boat to Nogas Island. See /nogas-island/
This is the essay on Anini-y from the Ateneo de Manila’s indispensable “Panublion” website: http://www.ateneo.edu/offices/mirlab/panublion/r6_antique.html#aniniy
“Reputedly established by fisher folk, ca. 1600-30, Anini-y was inhabited by fishermen who came from Asluman (Asloman), a barrio of Hamtic.Hamtic, the oldest settlement of Antique was under Augustinian administration from the year 1851, when Fr. Miguel de Siguenza was appointed minister.Anini-y was a visita of Hamtic and priests from the mother parish would visit the settlement on their mission tours that brought them as far as Cagayancillo, islands in the Sulu Sea. Fr. Hipólito Casimiro and Fray Felíx Roja y Zuñiga were two priests credited with organizing and evangelizing Anini-y in the 18th century.Anini-y became an independent parish on 22 March 1862, in accordance with a decree of 20 December 1861.
Due to lack of personnel, several Filipino seculars under the diocese of Cebu were assigned to Anini-y, however, Antique governor Don Joaquin Varón (1849-53) ordered the Augustinians to take over administration “so that better buildings would rise in Antique’s skylines.”The Augustinian chapter of 1875 accepted the order.The first Augustinian parish priest was Fray Romualdo Crespo who was appointed that same year.The third and last Augustinian parish priest was Fray Jerónimo Varquerín, who served Anini-y and Cagayancillo for 17 years (1878-95).He continued serving Anini-y, three more years after that.The parish complex was vacant during the Philippine Revolution until the Aglipayans took possession of it in 1902.A Catholic missionary congregation, the Mill Hill Fathers, took charge of Antique in 1906, and when Anini-y reverted to the Catholic Church the fathers took charge of the parish in 1908.
Heritage site: Anini-y has the only preserved colonial church in Antique.This gem of a church is the third built in the town.The first was probably built by Fray Hipólito Casiano, between 1630 and 38.The church whose foundations still exist measured 33 x 13 meters.A second church of much greater length but narrower at 48 x 12.5 meters was constructed close to the earlier church.Work began around 1845.Fray Vaquerín was responsible for completing the present complex, the convento in 1879 and the church, except for the arco toral, was almost completed when the Augustinian left. Vaquerín’s church measured 65 x 16 meters, and had a height of 10 meters.The convento was almost totally demolished during the world war, but the Mill Hill priest Fr. William Erickweld preserved the ruins while building a modern convento beside it.In 1973, the church roof and back wall were damaged by a typhoon, but Fr. Erickweld took pains to restore the church. The church belongs to 19th century revivalist styles, incorporating traditional elements from the Baroque like the triangular pediment, supported by a single story, divided into there sections by engaged pilaster.Between the central pilasters is the arched entrance to this single-naved church, pleasingly decorated by rosettes.Flanking the entrance are expanses of wall decorated by niches above, which are rose windows.The pediment is likewise ornamented with a niche and flanking blind occuli.The facade comes to an end in stout pilasters ornamented above with finials.The three-story bell tower is attached to the church; its lowest floor is quadrilateral while the upper floors are hexagonal.Arched windows pierce the tower and a domical roof crowns the whole structure.”