Friday, May 31, 2013

Remote, Idylic and Awe-inspiring Antonia Island in Carles

Antonia Island, Gigantes Sur, Carles, photo by Bombette G. Marin

Experience the intense variety and striking beauty of the islands of one of Iloilo’s most dramatic municipalities. A trip to the exotic islands in Carles is packed with physical activities, culture, history and good food in one of the most awe-inspiring sceneries in the region.

Antonia Island, Carles, Iloilo, photo by Bombette G. Marin

With its natural beauty and lovely, serene island beaches, Carles is a town that specializes in shattering preconceived notions. Embark on a tour. If you have something of the explorer in you, then an island-hopping holiday is ideal. Traveling across its vast sea evokes a spirit of discovery and offers a totally new perspective on the area. Explore and immerse yourself in the islands.

Part science lab, part playground, the islands of Carles has something for every nature lover, regardless of age. Your trip to the islands is not your average adventure tour package, but will be something rather more special. Enjoy nature walks, wildlife encounters and all the swimming and snorkeling you can handle. Best island adventure ever? You bet.

Antonia Isand Carles, photo by Bombette G. Marin

Touring the paradise islands with beautiful beaches will prove itself to be completely different than anything you have experienced anywhere else in Iloilo. Carles’ coasts are lined with island tourist destinations ranging from uninhabited coral atolls to built-up and developed islands.

Approximately an hour and 45-minuter motorized boat-ride from Estancia wharf discover one of Carles’ iconic highlights—explore the beautiful island of Antonia.

Antonia island in Carles, Iloilo photo by Bombette G. Marin

Antonia is an island-sitio of Barangay Gabi, Gigantes Sur in Carles. It is a small island of enormous beauty with the least signs of civilization and no one else around. This is one of the very few islands in Carles that is nearly uninhabited. It is no wonder a lot of visitors, mostly beach lovers and backpackers find it hard to leave.


Antonia island, Carles, Iloilo, photo by Bombette G. Marin

It has white sand with crystal clear blue waters. You can wander up and down the length of this short beach. It is a great destination for swimming and snorkeling. Its laid back atmosphere is a great place for a relaxing and enjoyable holiday. For those who wish to stay overnight, tents are available for a group of five and ten with a minimal fee of P300 per person with beddings provided. It also has a rustic beach hut that can accommodate six persons with same minimal fee charged to every person. There is a sari-sari store that sells bread, cookies, junk food, mineral water, soda and beer. There is a communal rest room in the area.

Antonia Island, Carles, Iloilo photo by Bombette G. Marin

Privately-owned by Mr. Patrocinio Mahipos Jr., Antonia is incredibly popular between the months of March and May – the peak summer months. It has grown into an energetic destination for young travelers looking to sunbathe with a bit more privacy. A P20.00 environmental fee is collected to every visitor in the area.

With such a range of attractions, there is something for everyone on a Carles adventure tour where you can combine a relaxing beach break with visits to historic sites, or experience real adventure travel on a boat ride across its islands. Most of the island beaches in the area have been unspoiled by pollution and tourism. If you are lucky enough to make it to Antonia Island you will have a beach experience that will surely give you a lifetime of memories.

Antonia Island, Carles, Iloilo,photo by Bombette G. Marin



The municipality of Carles is 146 kilometers away or a 3-hour bus or van ride from the city. To get to Antonia Island the nearest, one can be reached through a motorized boat ride from Estanca Feeder Port. To get to Estancia, one must take an air-conditioned bus at Tagbak Terminal in Jaro, Iloilo City. Public passenger motorized boats ply from and to the island only once a day, normally at around 1 p.m. Motorized boat good for 45 and 80 persons can be privately arranged. For more information, please contact Mr. Patrocinio Mahipos Jr. at 09192685896 or Mr. Danilo Dela Cruz at 09086164262 or Mr. Richard Mahipos at 09499442615. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Iloilo Sets Off for the 12th Fiestas in the City Celebration

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes




A week-long celebration of culture and the arts will kick off the 12th annual Fiestas in the City celebration on Monday, May 20, 2013 at 3 p.m. The event center of SM City Iloilo will feature entertainment and decorations as this annual celebration promotes and preserves the diverse heritage, culture, and the spirit of the Ilonggos for its residents and visitors.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

Fiestas in the City has grown over the years to a weeklong celebration featuring daily activities that feature music, dance, food, pageantry and parades on May 20-26, 2013.This year, traditions include the special performance of Kinaadman Chorale of John B. Lacson Maritime University with their rendition of popular Hiligaynon music along with the high school students of ton National High School Arts, Dance Class on the Opening Day on May 20, 2013 at 4 p.m.; May 21 will showcase the tribal performances of Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo City, Katagman Festival of Oton, Binanog Festival of Lambunao, and Tangyan Festival of Igbaras at 4 p.m.; May 22 will feature local fiesta dishes with a Cooking Demonstration at 3 p.m.; May 23 will highlight the one-of-kind Filipiniana-inspired gowns and barongs of Ilonggo designer Alfie Jolo Desamparado at 5 p.m.; May 24 will open with the teen parade of saga queens with special guest, CJ Navarro; May 25, Saturday is marked by a parade of maidens featuring or local festival queens under floral arches in the much-anticipated Sagala of Festival Queens at 3 p.m.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

Started in 2002, the first fiesta celebration was an immediate success. It is Iloilo’s oldest continuous tourism celebration held inside a mall. Within a few years, more special events were taking place and the Fiesta tradition had been born. It evolved into one of Iloilo’s premier tourism celebration.

The people of Iloilo have taken pride in both the historical and religious significance that this event projects. It is a unique blend of rich multicultural heritage commemorating the return of the Spanish colonists.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

A Spanish word which means feast, festival or party, a fiesta is originally a religious celebration of the feast day of the patron saint of a barangay, town or city. It is so popularity that it is grandiosity celebrated by the people. Those who are working from the cities and other places far away from their hometown will go back a week before the Fiesta or maybe few days before the big event.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

It is a time when we showcase our native dances, plays, cuisines, costumes and beautiful people. We take pride of our local traditions and culture and promote it.  

All of us, Filipinos love fiestas. It brings unforgettable memories as it is a special time to be with long-lost childhood friends, a time to bond with relatives, savor local cuisine that we missed so much, and lots of activities.

The Department of Tourism Regional Office and SM City Iloilo shares this event’s vision for creativity, innovation and service to our community and is proud to invite everyone for the 12th Fiestas in the City celebration.

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