The Pleasures of Pandan, Antique

Saturday, June 08, 2019

bugang river antique

This is the eleventh installment of the Spread the Impact series – a collection of travel narratives and guides to less-traveled places in the Philippines, with the aim to spread human impact to the environment as well as uplift the lives of communities through tourism. 

Located on the upper tip of Antique’s topography, Pandan is a town with plenty of surprises. Its name is derived not from the pandan plant as one would understandably think (although there’s no shortage of it here), but from an encounter with Spaniards in the days of yore – as is typical with Filipino town etymologies. 

A group of Spanish soldiers happened upon a group of local women whom they asked for food to spare. “Dan,” said one of the ladies, (“that” in the native language), offering a basketful of sweet potatoes. One of the soldiers, from excitement, mistook the proffer for bread and exclaimed, “Pan!” And this amalgamation of words from two different tongues was what birthed the town’s name.

In case you plan to wander off this side of Antique, be sure to check out some of things listed here. But first, the Leave No Trace Principles:

THINGS TO DO
Cool Down at the Malumpati Cold Springs
Pandan is home to the country’s Cleanest Inland Body of Water: the Bugang River. Along its course are portions that spew ice-cold waters perfect for combating a hot summer day.
malumpati springs antique

This portion is called the Malumpati Cold Springs and it serves as a popular bathing spot for locals and tourists alike.  The water here is so freezing, it’s used to “refrigerate” beer. 

Try Some Watersports at Naranjo Water Park
The Bugang River runs entirely through the town and with its 6-kilometer length, there’s plenty of opportunity for activities. In Naranjo Water Park, guests can try a number of watersports like kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and  pedal-boating.
pandan antique travel guide

You may also go on a motor-powered raft and cruise down the river for twenty minutes or so.

Related Adventure: Where to Stay in Antique

Have a Bumpy River Ride
Again, when you have a meandering river that is both clean and teeming with life, you’ll never run out of things to do. Another activity you can try in Pandan is the river-tubing across Bugang River. 
This involves a bit of trekking and some sight-seeing. You’ll also get to see the Blue Lagoon before hitting the rapids. 



Rest and Relax at Dioso Farm
After time spent at the river, you can head for cover at Dioso Farm. With a rich canopy and gentle slopes of grass, this place is a countryside dream. 
dioso farm pandan antique

Simple bamboo structures dot the property. Trees – mostly native – abound. A rare Malabuho (Sterculia oblongata) stands tall on one corner. A free-flowing swimming pool runs on the other.

Feast on Stories at LA Dioso Memorial Public Library
The Leocadio Alonsagay Dioso Memorial Public Library is one of the most well-stocked privately-managed libraries in the country. It houses over 20,000 titles and has served as the town’s premier repository of knowledge. 
la dios public library antique

dioso library antique

It’s located on the center of town and hosts regular activities like storytelling and puppet shows. Oh and proceeds from Dioso Farm goes to maintaining the library. 

Gambol on the Gray-Sand Beaches
The beaches on this side of Antique may not be white-sand but the ashen shores are just as dramatic. Especially at dusk when the sun is low, the sands glitter like silver. 
bakabaka fishing gear

At this hour, and also at dawn, you’ll see locals plowing the waters near the shore for milkfish fry. They use some type of fry-sweeper called bakabaka – a contraption with a seine net held together by bamboo poles. The contents of this are emptied out in basins called labarador

FOOD TO EAT AND SOUVENIRS TO TAKE HOME
Freshly-made Kakanin and Homecooked Local Dishes
If you make arrangements, you can have a spread of kakanin and native dishes for lunch at Dioso Farm. Sapin-sapin, biko, and nilupak will be serves as well as hearty takes on favorite Filipino numbers like ginisanmonggo and sinigang.



A Woven Piece of Heritage
In the village of Sto. Rosario, some of the best banig-weavers can be found. Here in Antique, the woven mat is called bariw – the name of the plant (Pandanus copelandii) whose leaves are used for making it. Aside from your usual bariw mats, bags, hats, and baskets are also available. 


GETTING THERE
via San Jose, Antique
Philippine Airlines has flights to San Jose thrice weekly. Once in the capital, head over to the San Jose Bus Terminal and get on a bus to Pandan. Fare is about P210 and travel time about four hours. 

via Iloilo
From the airport, take a shuttle to SM City Iloilo. Once here, get on a cab to Molo Terminal. You can get on a bus bound for Libertad (the northernmost town of Antique; Pandan is before it) or a van to Pandan. Travel time is around 5-7 hours, and fare is from Php200 to Php350, depending on which you take. 

via Kalibo or Caticlan
From the airport, head to the terminals of the respective town and get on a bus or van to Pandan. Fare is around Php100 to Php250 and travel time approximately 2 hours. 

For a hassle-free tour around Pandan, you may get in touch with Pandan Beach Resort. For a tour around other parts of Antique, you may check out Katahum Tours

SAMPLE ITINERARY
07:00AM to 09:00AM - River-tubing + Trekking
09:00AM to 10:00AM - Malumpati Cold Springs
10:00AM to 11:30AM - Watersports at Naranjo
11:30AM to 01:30PM - Lunch and siesta at Dioso Farm
01:30PM to 02:30PM - Tour at LA Dioso Public Library
02:30PM to 03:00PM - Bariw souvenir shopping
03:00PM to 05:00PM - Chill at Pandan Beach Resort / Swim
05:00PM - Sunset-watching


EXPENSES AND BUDGET
Malumpati Rates
River-tubing with guide - Php200
Trekking with guide - Php150/5 people
Rappelling - Php50
Wall climbing - Php50
Zip-lining: Php200

Naranjo Water Park Rates
Kayak - Php250 per hour; Php500 for four hours; Php800 for 8 hours
Stand-up Paddle Boat - Php250 per hour; Php500 for four hours; Php800 for 8 hours
Pedal Boat - Php350 per hour
River Cruise - Php80 per head, minimum of 10 pax, maximum of 16 pax

WHERE TO STAY
Pandan Beach Resort
Brgy. Dionela, Pandan, Antique
Pandan Beach Resort Facebook Page
+63 917 580 9648

CONTACT DETAILS
Dioso Farm
+63 917 580 9648 / +63 933 815 5439

Enjoy traveling to off-the-beaten paths? Check out the rest of the Spread The Impact series.

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