Malalison Island, Culasi, Antique

April 16, 2009. Early the next day after we arrived in Culasi, we all got up early and went on a short drive from our friend’s home, to the beach near the municipal hall to take a pump boat to Malalison Island. The island is one of the three island barangays of Culasi, and is the nearest one to the coast, with a distance of around 4 kilometers. It was a 20-minute pump boat ride to the island. Ours, though, took longer because we requested for the boat to go around the entire island before docking at the main beach.

The island was a relatively small island, with still some unspoiled coves and rugged stone cliffs. One can probably enjoy taking a peaceful hike around the island, though that we weren’t able to do.

After around ten to fifteen minutes around the island, we finally dock at main hook-shaped beach. Our friend from Culasi told us the beach was comparable to Boracay (which incidentally was relatively near Culasi). Indeed, it was. Not better, but comparable. The sand was just as white, though not as fine or powdery, and the waters just as crystal clear, even clearer.

Best of all, we were the only ones at the beach. The waters can get deep immediately a few meters from the shore, however, so if you don’t know how to swim, you might not get too far away. Though, on the upside, one can go snorkeling right there and then. Though, we weren’t able to do that either.

After less than an hour in the water, I took a peaceful nap in one of the huts on the beach. Even if I slept on a bamboo table, I’ve never had a sleep that good in a while, after all the anxiety and stress over the Student Regent selection two days before. By lunch time, we headed back to the main town of Culasi, with the same pump boat. See, I had to get on my way back to Iloilo City because my flight back to Manila was that evening. Since Iloilo city was a good four to five hours away, I had to leave by lunch time. My other friends, however, proceeded to Boracay after lunch.

I sat on the side of the boat on the way back, with my feet on the water. It got pretty hot that afternoon, too.

From Miag-ao, Iloilo to Culasi, Antique

April 15, 2009. Since the GASC (General Assembly of Student Councils) was able to select the new Student Regent in just a day, everyone had an extra day off to leave UP Visayas earlier and to go to Guimaras or to Iloilo City or to wherever they wanted to go around. Some of us decided to take on a friend’s offer to visit their town of Culasi, Antique. Little did we know that Culasi, Antique was a good four to five hours away from Miag-ao, Iloilo. That northern part of Antique is actually closer to Caticlan and Boracay already than it is to Miag-ao. The bus also has to pass through some mountain range which separates Antique from Iloilo, or from the rest of Panay for that matter. The tallest mountain in Panay Island can be found in Culasi, Antique, by the way (sorry, random information).

It was pretty easy to get a ride to Culasi. After lunch, we just had to walk a few hundred meters to the highway from the UP Visayas campus and wait at a pedestrian shed for buses that regularly ply the road from Iloilo City to Antique. I think I’ve mentioned it a few years before when I took a bus from Infanta to Manila, but I really have a penchant for taking long, open-air provincial bus rides–all the wind, the sights, sounds, smell, and the people gives for a relatively authentic traveling experience.

After winding through some mountains, the bus descends and takes a half-hour stop at San Jose, the capital of Antique, which is halfway through the entire four-five hour trip. Many of the passengers from Iloilo unload here, and are replaced with other passengers on their way north of Antique.