It’s no secret that one of the most popular destinations in the Philippines is Boracay. Travelers are attracted by powdered sugar sand and bewitchingly clear water. But popularity has made this “branch of paradise” on Earth somewhat “pop”. What can not be said about neighboring Panay. The island gives the impression of an absolutely non-tourist place, but at the same time there is everything for a wonderful holiday. In addition to the variety of beaches (both equipped and wild), Panay also has enough worthy “excursions” with ancient temples and natural attractions.
How to get to Panay
To fly to Panay, you need to make a transfer, or even two. There are 4 airports on the island: 2 international (Kalibo and Iloilo) and 2 for domestic flights (Caticlan and Roxas). But most options involve a transfer in Manila. Therefore, you need to decide in advance (well, or in the capital of the Philippines), from which city to start the journey. The preferred option is Kalibo, since it is possible to fly there by Aeroflot and Philippine Airlines or Air Asia with just one change in Beijing, Seoul or Shanghai. The flight will take 14-20 hours depending on the duration of the transit.
Taxi is very affordable. For example, a trip from Iloilo airport to the city costs about 400 PHP per car, and from the Kalibo air harbor to the beaches off the northwestern part of the island – 1100 PHP, but per person.
The largest settlements of the island and popular tourist places are connected by excellent roads. Communication between the main cities – Caticlan, Kalibo and Iloilo – is served by regular buses. Taxis are only available in Iloilo.
It is also convenient and inexpensive to travel around Panay by “jeepney” (the Philippine analogue of the minibus), and within the cities – by tricycles. You can get to the neighboring islands on scheduled Bangka boats or on a rented boat.
Finding a good hotel in Panay is not easy. Most of the options on the booking sites offer options in Boracay, which is part of the Panayian province of Aklan. Specifically, in the cities of Panay there are few hotels – there are only a few tourists once or twice. There are no fives or fours. The hotels of the island are either simple two- and three-star hotels, located mainly in cities, or resorts in the wilderness on the coast. You can check into the first ones for 500-800 PHP – this is how much a double room with breakfast costs. But a bungalow in a resort village will cost 1700-2200 PHP per day.
Cuisine and restaurants
The local cuisine is not much different from the general Philippine cuisine with an abundance of fried pork dishes and the ubiquitous side dish of rice. But there are also local specialties. It’s worth trying “inubarang decoy”, chicken boiled with lemongrass and banana stalk core in a coconut milk sauce. Crabs, lobsters, shrimp in sauce and grilled tuna fish with exotic spices are a must in coastal towns.
The prices are ridiculous, especially compared to Boracay. A hot dish, for example, chicken with pineapple and rice costs 160-180 PHP. Interestingly, fast food is not much cheaper. Basically, these are burgers with beef and a variety of local sauces. There are also McDonald’s, Subway, KFC.
Attractions in Panay
Most of the popular Panayan attractions are tailored for one- and two-day excursions from Boracay. The most interesting places here are of natural origin.
One of the most visited attractions in Panay is the Pangihan Cave, the largest on the island (GPS coordinates: 11.897389, 121.907278). Its treasures are stalagmites and stalactites aged 5 million years, between the pillars of which thousands of bats have found a home. In addition to these cute creatures, rare hermit crabs also live here.
Although Pangikhan is located 500 meters from the village of Malay, you will have to make your way here through the jungle – another adventure.
The village of Laserna is located 15 km from Malay, on the outskirts of which the mineral springs of Khurum-Khurum, or Basang (GPS coordinates: 11.842306, 122.030481) beat. The water here is very clean and suitable not only for swimming, but also for drinking and cooking.
After refreshing procedures, you can go to relax your soul to the Javili waterfalls (GPS coordinates: 11.791687, 122.222883). Their feature is 7 reservoirs of natural origin, the largest of which is oval, with an area of 22 square meters. m and a depth of 2.5 m. You can swim and go further, or you can stop at a nearby resort.
Another important tourist place in Panay is the Bahavan Ecopark in Kalibo (off. site in English). Here are collected all the plants growing on the archipelago. Its pride is mangrove trees and a kilometer-long bamboo path laid between them. There are many huts in Bahavan where you can organize a picnic for a nominal fee.
Despite its relatively compact size, the climate varies across the regions of Panay. The western part of the island has distinct seasons: dry from November to April and wet from May to October. In the rest of it, the rainy season is not so pronounced. Most of the precipitation is observed here in March-April, and the least – in September. See citypopulationreview.com for weather in the capital of Philippines.