Philippines has approximately 7,107 islands. Imagine that?! 7,107 chances to wander around. And Panay was one of the first places I have to visit this year. So I decided to go on a 12-day trip to visit the whole Island and of course I tagged along a friend with me to travel. From Bacolod we took a ferry ride going to Dumangas Port and it took an hour and a half to arrive on the next island. We wandered around Panay Island for 12 days with only seven thousand pesos on hand(each). Learned a lot of techniques when it comes to backpacking and thank God we have our hammocks for emergency shelters in case we left our selves with nothing to sleep at. So another saved expense for shelter. There are other things also we brought with us of course our bags filled with clothes for the beach, the cold weather, blankets, insect repellent spray, shoes for emergency hiking, a small towel, toiletries and of course if you’re a woman you have to bring your vanity kit for unexpected invites to formal parties and one formal clothing to wear. So everything in one backpack and of course don’t forget the camera. Bring cameras instead of phones. Using a smart phone while travelling could waste 70% opportunities to wander around. So back to the traveling Our first stop was Capiz and there we saw a bountiful of dried mouthwatering dried fish and a whole lot more of fresh fish, shell fish and pork(they sell it very cheap though). We stayed there for 2 days and off we go to Kalibo, Aklan. There we are very lucky to witness the famous Ati-atihan festival. Kalibo is well known for it’s rich religious culture where every third week of January they celebrate the feast of Sr. Sto Nino. Drumbeats and traditional street dancing everywhere. Well also, it’s never going to be a fun trip without the street foods and the best one we tried was Cow’s lungs and Kalibo’s Balut which was very tasty and good. Yes I swear it taste really really good. We stayed at the back area of Papa Dan’s Coffee Brew and Jazz in Kalibo which they serve the best brewed coffee in town. Thanks for the accommodation of my good friend Ian of course. So Ati-Atihan was fun but then we thought that we already spend the best out of that wonderful place. Time to leave, but where exactly? We have no map sad to say, or any idea where we’re going next until finally someone told us to visit Malalison Island in Antique. So we packed our bags and off we go to Antique. The travel from Kalibo to Culasi, Antique took 2 hours and another 15 mins for boat ride. The boat ride actually costs 700 pesos back and fourth but for us it was for 350 because we had our return trip for free. So back to the Island.. I was very mesmerized by Malalison with it’s very rich and abundant marine life. My heart had a sudden awwww moment too when the local kids started singing their island song. It was such a memorable moment when we have to make a giant circle and just sing along with such nice kids while watching the sunsets but then sadly, we had to leave. Never for us to have enough of Antique since we still have to visit two municipalities to use the chance of being there already so we went to Bagtason to learn a little bit of traditional weaving and Tibiao’s famous kawa hot tub(literally the water was really hot but eventually became bearable). So after a day of long bus travels from one place to another time to hop I mean ride again for three hours and off we go to another famous Island: Boracay! Well I wasn’t really that excited though. I was thinking that the place was too crowded and noisy so not my kind of place but when we arrived there I was startled of what I saw.. It wasn’t that really bad after all. Most of the people were joyful, alive and accommodating especially my brother (but no the real one) Glint. He was so generous to give us the shelter we badly needed because it was a bit awkward if we use our hammocks in Boracay. Well basically you wouldn’t want to wake up in crowd where everybody is there looking at your morning face. There he lived with the other musicians for free and the man who gave them the roof was named Lolo Josie and was also a musician. The day after we wandered around and decided to move to the Ita Villa in Brgy. Manoc-Manoc in Boracay. There I was again startled and terrified of what I saw. The rich culture of the first natives of the island is slowly diluting and wrongly colonized by liberation and civilization. But hence, we also learned a little background about their story on how they discovered the island and what they did to defend their land. It was a good story so basically the trip there did not go to waste and lasted for four days. every day was a day well spent. Until they day we never longed to wait… Time to go home.
After 12 days of traveling Panay has become one of the best places(yet) I’ve ever been to. Not only that I have learned a lot about their heritage, culture and the people itself but it helped me to become a better individual that understands the current situation that other people are going through. There are rough times I can never deny that but it had help us to be more wise while we take the road less traveled.