All about hotels, pension houses, restaurants and what to see and do in San Jose, Antique Province, Philippines (San Jose de Buenavista).
By the time you reach the Iloilo-Antique border (11.8 KM from Tiolas), the road is good and continues to be good all the way to Caticlan. Near the border is Telegrafo Hill, a Japanese position during World War II. There are supposed to be good views from the hill, but we could not find a sign or trail. A small parking area, sign and trail would be a good tourism amenity. From the border it’s all downhill to the intersection with the National Highway in Hamtic Antique.
At the intersection of the National Highway turn right toward San Jose, the capital of Antique Province. You may wish to pause at a historic site commemorating (according to local legend) the landing in the 13th century of settlers from Borneo, said to be the Malays to arrive in the Philippines. The annual Binirayan Festival celebrates the landing on the third weekend in April each year.
The park seemed a bit neglected. Time Magazine article on the 1984 murder of Harvard-educated Javier at the Antique Provincial Capital: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,960710,00.html
San Jose itself, an otherwise nice enough small city, has the curse of most smaller Philippine cities. It’s choked with tricycles, giving its downtown considerable traffic congestion, a constant din, and bad air pollution. Away from the downtown area you’ll find many attractive areas.
Because we were traveling at a leisurely, lazy pace, exploring as we went, we decided to stay overnight in San Jose. We stayed at the Centillion House. We paid P1000 for our basic, but clean and spacious air-conditioned room with hot water. Centillion seemed very secure. There was a parking area for guests and a security guard at night. We were worried that our pride and joy Toyota Innova be safe at night! A very basic breakfast (toast, juice, coffee) was included. The hotel faces on two busy roads. Also there was a small mall on the first floor so it was a little noisy, but we were not really bothered by the noise. We stayed in room 208 which is toward the center of the hotel, as far away as possible from the traffic. Phone 036-540-9403
The Adelaide Tourist and Traveler’s Inn was almost across the road from the Centillion so we decided to take a look at it. It is in a quieter location, down an alley from the main road. We were shown a “VIP room”. The VIP room was P850 without breakfast, with AC and HW. It is similar but smaller than our room at Centillion, but likely quieter. A full breakfast at the Adelaide is P130 per person. Both are very good options. Here’s a link to the Adelaide. We’ll explore and report on other San Jose lodging options on our next trip.
Based on a recommendation in the Lonely Planet Philippines guidebook, we had our dinner at Regina’s Restaurant. I had shrimp satay which turned out to be more or less BBQ shrimp on a skewer. Carol had lengua — beef tongue. We especially liked the achara made of young bamboo which was served as a side dish with my satay. Achara is a pickled salad which is usually made with grated green papaya or green mango. It was delicious made with young bamboo. Service at Regina’s was excellent. With drinks our meal was P268. Regina’s can be a little hard to find. Just watch for the Chow King restaurant. Regina’s is in a small mall immediately adjacent to Chow King on T.A. Fornier Street. It’s walking distance from Centillion or Adelaide.
Friends gave a high recommendation to the Private Property Restaurant, about eight kilometers out of San Jose. Call Jen Lotilla for information. 0906-726-8355.
We’ve also heard good things about the Piedra Restaurant on Gobierno St.
Nightlife can reportedly be found at Pharaoh, a karaoke bar.
After breakfast we continued on our way north toward Sibalom — or so we thought. Actually we took the wrong road out of San Jose and ended up on a very pretty, but long and rough back road to Sibalom. The countryside was enchantingly beautiful, but since we thought we were irretrievably lost, we did not stop to savor or photograph it. We had to stop and ask for directions several times but finally made it back to the National Highway and Sibalom proper. As we crossed the Sibalom River, there was evidence everywhere of the damage done to the area by Typhoon Frank (Fengshen).
Sibalom and San Remigio, Antique, are mountain and agricultural communities of tremendous natural beauty. Exploring the backcountry of these places (and most others) will be a challenge to most foreign tourists and will likely require a local guide to navigate the unmarked roads and trails. My Tagalog-speaking wife struggled to communicate with rural residents.
San Remigio is our our list for future exploration. The official San Remigio municipal website tantalizes us with the following attractions: Igbaclag Cave, the perfect cave in the “Little Baguio of Antique”, Bato Cueva, Kanyugan Cave, Magpungay Cave; the crystal clear ice water falling from Pula Falls, Timbaban Falls and Batuan Falls, the lakes of Maylumboy and Danao; the legendary stone of Datu Sumakwel, Bato Bintana and White Castle Stone and the mountain ranges of San Remigio.
Note: this post is a section of a longer narrative about a trip from Iloilo City to Boracay. The full narrative can be found at: /iloilo-city-to-boracay-via-antique-province/
Comments, corrections and additional information on San Jose, Antique appreciated. Leave a comment below or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org