6 Historical Sites to Visit in Antique

Thursday, May 23, 2019

antique tourist spots

I don’t know what exactly happened down the road but I’ve always associated Antique with aswang, tiktik, and manananggal. For some reason, and I take it I’m not alone in this, I remember feeling a slight shiver upon hearing the name “Antique” when I was younger. And perhaps, it’s not wrong. Perhaps there are supernatural entities dwelling in the mostly unexplored folds of this province, but proving its truth (or otherwise) will require more time and a bottle (or three) of Gold Eagle, so let’s save that for later and instead focus on something less metaphysical: history. 

Scattered across Antique’s terrain are vestiges of a storied past, impressive reminders of its well-deserved place in the country’s overall historical landscape. Like trail markers from yesteryear, check out these slew of destinations and trace Antique’s vibrant origins. 

Located in the capital town of San Jose, this language monument made of stainless steel and fashioned like a bamboo is the first of its kind in the entire Philippines. It was designed by sculptor Luis “Junyee” Yee, Jr. and stands at a height of ten feet. Engraved on the marker is Andres Bonifacio’s poem “Ang Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa” written in the ancient writing system baybayin
language monuments in the philippines

The native language Kinaray-a is said to be one of the oldest tongues in the Panay Island. There are also citations that it was the first native language to be used on the island, even before Hiligaynon. The language monument is the first of 131 markers to be installed to commemorate the diverse languages spoken across the archipelago.
language monuments philippines

Related Adventure: A Birthday in Seco Island

Evelio Bellaflor Javier was a young governor of Antique who was a staunch opponent of the Marcos dictatorship. He was assassinated on February 11, 1986, and his death was one of the fuels for the People Power Revolution. He was only 41.
evelio javier antique

Days before the civil resistance, his remains were processed along the streets of Manila, passing through his alma mater the Ateneo de Manila University. In the capital town of San Jose, in a park complex who also bears his name, is a statue him. The province’s airport is also named after the former governor.

people power javier

Flowing through the borders of the towns of San Jose de Buenavista and Hamtic, the Malandog River is said to be where the ten Bornean Datus first docked their balangays in the 13th century. The river isn’t only historic but also scenic, connecting to the Cuyo East Passage, and serving as a “tuna highway”. The estuary also provides some kind of shelter to fishermen during bad weather. 
cuyo east passage

Traditional fishing using panglaya (cast nets) is also prevalent in the river. Plans to rehabilitate the river is underway, with Iloilo’s Esplanade as inspiration.

Related Adventure: Churches in Tarlac

Antique was liberated from the Spanish hold by someone called Leandro Fullon. He led a troop of less than 500. He was appointed as the overall commanding officer for all Visayan forces and struggled for independence well into the Filipino-American War. He later surrendered to the Americans, and was appointed governor of Antique in 1901. He held this post until his death on October 16, 1904.
general fullon hamtic

The remains of the revolutionary hero lies in his hometown of Hamtic. Unveiled on his 137th birthday, the General Leandro Fullon National Shrine now stands in front of the Municipal Hall.

places to visit antique

The Parish of St. John de Nepomuceno, otherwise known as the Anini-y Church, is the only remaining Spanish colonial church in the province. With a structure built from corals and egg whites, the church is considered “revivalist”, with baroque elements like the triangular pediments and rosetted walls. The belfry is attached to the church and underneath it is the baptistry. 
only colonial church antique

The church had survived typhoons, earthquakes, and wars, but some of its portions are showing its age: loose coral bricks, worn-out plaster, cracks in the ceiling. Efforts to renovate and reconstruct some of its elements are underway.
where to go in antique

Related Adventure: EDL Farmhouse Tarlac

Located in the town of Patnongon, the Parish of St. Augustine could have been the biggest church in Antique, but in World War II, it was bombed by the Americans and efforts to fix it were abandoned.

Today, only the walls and the first level of the facade stand along the town’s main thoroughfare, blessing onlookers with a dose of neoclassical architecture evident in its flat walls adorned with arched windows. The National Historical Commission is said to have plans to revive the ruins.
Philippine Airlines now flies to Antique via Clark 3x a week. For a hassle-free tour around Antique, check out Katahum Tours.

Into places like this? Check out these fascinating churches in Cagayan or take an art-venture in Angono

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