Digital photo narrative of our visit to Pandan, Antique Province, Philippines including information on natural and heritage sites, beaches, hiking, festivals, accommodations, hotels, resorts and dining.
Our next stop is Pandan, Antique (222KM). Pandan is one of those communities which has reached the realization that the protection and publicizing of its natural resources and maintaining its attractiveness is a good development strategy. There’s a municipal tourism office in the middle of town. We did not get to visit Malumpati Cold Spring Resort. It appears to be a municipally-owned swimming hole mainly intended for day use, although there may be a cottage available. You should be able to get information at the tourism office. You can see some photos here.
The Green Park Hotel is located on the National Road in Pandan, Antique. Phone 036-278-96-16. We did not stay here on this trip, but wanted to check it out for future reference. The hotel has beautiful views of the surrounding rice fields. It’s a very convenient location for those traveling from Iloilo to Boracay who get a late start or don’t want do do the trip in one day.
Watch for this monument at Bagumbayan Crossing, on your right after you leave Pandan proper. (More information on Gen. Fullon and the Philippine-American War of 1899-1902 here.) The monument is at the intersection of two main roads. If you go straight you’ll take the main, paved road direct to Caticlan, Aklan, the jumping off point for Boracay Island. If you turn left, you’ll head toward Libertad and a long, dusty or muddy (depending on the season) rough but scenic gravel road that also ends up at Caticlan. We turned left toward Libertad because we planned to stay at the Phaidon Resort, 7 KM down this road.
The Bugang River seems similar to Bohol’s Loboc River, a pristine stream traversing unspoiled tropical woodlands. Cruises on the river are reportedly available through the Bugang Community-Based Eco-Tourism Organization. Check with the Pandan Tourism Office or the Phaidon Resort. Another site mentions the existence of a tourism office in Sto. Rosario, a barangay near the river. Also see this link.
The Northwest Panay Peninsula, west of Pandan, has received considerable attention from international conservationists. Evidently it differs from other Panay mountains, being a limestone karst region with considerable remaining forest areas and a diversity of wildlife. See the excellent website of the Philippine Endemic Species Conservation Project for a storehouse of information on this area, including a teriffic page of links on Philippine conservation resources. PESCP says that “the last significant stands of primary, low elevation rain forest in the biogeographic region of the West Visayas, located on the northwestern peninsula of Panay, is habitat of a range of highly endangered, partly endemic species of reptiles, birds and mammals. It is one of the areas with highest conservation priorities in the world, both in terms of the number of endangered animals per unit area, and the degree of threat these species confront.” They welcome support for their efforts.
There’s an in-depth illustrated essay and travelogue focusing on this area; its natural history and attractions, in German, at http://www.nikswieweg.com/reisen/philipp/visayas/panay.htm It covers the area from Caticlan to Anini-y and even to Iloilo City, but with an emphasis on the Pandan area. Fortunately for us English speakers, Google will make a very imperfect but usable translation. It would be great if someone fluent in both German and English would improve the Google translation, as the site allows
We spent the night at the Phaidon Beach Resort. To get there, turn off the main highway and go about seven kilometers in the direction of Libertad. The road is rough, but scenic. We stayed in the cheapest available accommodation at Phaidon, one of the air-con cottages shown above. The cottage cost P2,400 including a basic breakfast. The resort was very beautiful. The design, landscaping and maintenance of Phaidon was top-notch, exquisite really, but some minor quibbles; the cottage itself was pretty, but the the bedding was very skimpy. The dim lighting made reading difficult. This is a common problem in Philippine hotels. Maybe they think all guests are honeymooners! In the future we’re going to bring our own reading light when we travel with our own vehicle.
I have one more complaint or perhaps it’s a suggestion. It’s an issue which we have seen at other resorts with air conditioned cottages. The windows in the cottages are sealed, so when they are vacant they get no fresh air and the rooms end up being damp and musty. There are no screens so you can’t turn off the air-con and open the windows, so you are forced into turning on the air con even if you’d prefer to open the windows and enjoy the sea breezes, saving the resort owner money and being a bit more “green”.
We were delighted with our dinner at Phaidon. Some resorts gouge captive guests on meal prices, but our dinner at Phaidon was excellent and reasonably priced. Carol had beef kaldereta (a Philippine beef stew or ragout) and Bob a German-style meatloaf.
In the morning we had breakfast at Phaidon, also excellent. After checking out we resumed our journey. We returned to the main highway at Pandan and headed toward Caticlan.
Phaidon may arrange outings to various destinations such as Igpasungaw Falls and the Bugang River, snorkeling at Mararison Island and perhaps other destinations.
Note: this post is a section of a longer narrative about a trip from Iloilo City to Boracay through Antique Province. The full narrative can be found at: /iloilo-city-to-boracay-via-antique-province/
We very much welcome any suggested corrections or additional information about the Pandan area. Please leave them as a comment at the end of this post or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org