Need a vacation? Discover the charms of Anini-y, Antique by making it your next destination.
Anini-y, Antique in Western Visayas of the Philippines is a laid-back town at the southern tip of Panay Island. Anini-y is home to a hot spring source, a white beach island, mountains, a century-old church, and friendly people.
We went on a day trip to Anini-y, Antique from Iloilo City. We were able to visit three of the most popular destinations in town: Sira-an Hot Spring, Nogas Island and the Spanish-era St. John Church. Well, when I say popular, I meant, for the locals, because Anini-y is quite an unchartered destination for tourists.
St. John of Nepomuceno Church
Our first stop was the St. John of Nepomuceno Church. The church, also called Anini-y Church, is just beside the Anini-y Municipal Hall. It is built using the typical Spanish-era architecture, made up of corals and limestone.
Coming from the side entrance, the church’s beauty took me by surprise. As I said, the design is typical of old colonial churches found in the Philippines. However, the quietness (we were the only visitors at that time) and the greeneries in the surrounding area made the atmosphere feel more mysterious. I especially liked the big acacia tree providing canopy to the church’s front area.
The interior of the church is simple. No ornate decoration, but the history it embodies is significant, especially being it the only Spanish colonial church to stand the test of nature. It’s the only one left in Antique after a strong earthquake in 1948.
Sira-an Hot Spring
From Anini-y Church, we went two kilometers back to Sira-an Hot Spring through a tricycle ride. It was already past noon so we went for a lunch inside the resort’s restaurant. I presume most of the visitors in the resort are locals from nearby provinces because they speak Ilonggo.
Sira-an Hot Spring is composed of man-made pools where one will have views of the Sulu Sea while dipping. The natural hot spring in Sira-an, laden with sulfur, is courtesy of a small volcano within the Sira-an compound. The resort, as well as Nogas Island just off the coast of Sira-an is managed by the local government of Antique.
We did not try the pools though. My friend dipped his hand in the pool and told me the water didn’t feel warm. We paid the entrance fee so we could use the showers after spending our afternoon over at Nogas Island. To be honest, their shower facilities need a lot of improvement in terms of cleanliness.
View of the coastal area of Anini-y and the Sulu Sea from Sira-an Hot Spring
Nogas Island is declared as a marine sanctuary. Boats to Nogas Island can be arranged from Sira-an Hot Spring. Environmental fee can be paid in Sira-an, while roundtrip boats are at a fixed cost of Php 500 per boat, and paid directly to the boatman. Crossing Nogas Island takes about 15 minutes of boat ride.
That’s Nogas Island as seen from Sira-an Hot Spring
Nogas Island is uninhabited. Visitors at that time were mostly Ilonggos coming from nearby towns. There are snorkeling and dive sites along Nogas Island but since we didn’t bring any snorkeling gears, we just waded near the shores.
Mangroves on one end of the island
Looks like everyone has their own thing, while my thing, as you may have guessed, is to watch people doing their own thing
Aside from the beach, an interesting site in Nogas is the lighthouse. Oh, let me rephrase that…another interesting site in Nogas is the path to the lighthouse. The path leading to this non-functional lighthouse is bordered on both sides with Kalachuchi trees. You’ll be walking under the arched canopy while taking sight of the towering lighthouse at the center of the path.
A woman in Coast Guard shirt presented herself as a staff of the Coast Guard, and led us to the lighthouse.
“Vandal ako. Wag tularan.”
She later guided us to a century-old Balete (or Banyan) tree through a short walk into the wilderness starting the trail at the side of the lighthouse. The tree is enormous and according to her, they used to climb the tree when they were young. Balete tree in the Philippines is usually associated with horror tales of white ladies and kapre (mythical ugly giant said to inhabit trees). I don’t know whether to feel afraid but the tree reminds me of the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
How to get to Anini-y, Antique/ Notes:
- From Manila, the nearest airport to Anini-y, Antique is Iloilo City.
- From Iloilo City, you can take the bus or van to Anini-y or San Jose at the Molo Terminal. Molo Terminal is just a few blocks away from the Molo plaza and Molo Church. Ask the driver or conductor first if you can be dropped at Anini-y to make sure. Travel time is approximately 2 hours. We used the van on the way to Anini-y for Php 120 each. Going back to Iloilo, we took the bus for only Php 85.
- We got off at the Anini-y Municipal Hall, beside the Anini-y Church. From Iloilo, you will pass by Sira-an Hot Spring first. Hence, from the church, we went back to Sira-an Hot Spring by taking a tricycle at Php 9 each.
- Entrance fee to Sira-an Hot Spring is Php 60, which entitles you to use the pools and the showers.
- Environmental fee is Php 20 per visitor.