When one mentions Panay, the first thing that comes to mind is the white sand beach and sunsets of Boracay.
Boracay is one of the most popular destinations in the Philippines, whether for local or foreign tourists. Because it’s part of Aklan, it also drives tourism in other parts of the province. However, there’s more to Panay Island than Aklan.
Here are less touristy but still noteworthy destinations to add to your itinerary.
Iloilo is a charming province that is a mix of developed and rural districts. The city has the comforts visitors are looking for, such as a variety of restaurants, shopping centers, and transportation hub to other places on Panay Island.
For those looking for beach time, one of the places to go to is Gigantes Island. The island is picturesque, with a lovely sandbar, powdery white sand, and turquoise waters that are calm and ideal to swim in.
Once there, go on an island hopping tour to its main sites such as Cabugao Gamay Island, Pawikan Cave, Bantigue Island, Antonia Beach, and Tangke.
Cabugao Island is the most photographed spot on Gigantes Island, a climb up the rocks of the beach will take you to the area where you can get an overlooking view of the island.
Capiz is not usually on the radar of tourists exploring the island, but once you visit, its idyllic charm and rich history will make you stay a little longer. Relax and take in local life while spending an afternoon around the area of the Roxas City Fountain and Cathedral.
The baroque church of Sta. Monica is another landmark that is worth a visit on Panay Island. You can also find Dakong Linganay, the biggest Christian church bell in the region, hanging in Sta. Monica Church.
Capiz also has beach destinations. Nearby Baybay Beach is perfect for viewing the sunset and eating delicious seafood in the many restaurants along the coast.
Olotoyan and Mantalinga Islands are also noteworthy places to visit while in the province.
A serving of egg noodles called miki, topped with generous amounts of fried garlic, crushed chicharon (crispy fried pork skin), scallions, slivers of pork meat, intestines, and liver, and for the finishing touch–a spoonful of bone marrow.
The secret to the dish is in the buto-buto broth, which is slow-cooked for hours with beef, pork, and bulalo mixed with local guinamos (shrimp paste) for flavoring.
Tatoy’s and Breakthrough are probably the most popular restaurants in Iloilo. But when at Tatoy’s, one must order their famed lechon manok.
The charcoal-roasted native chicken called “daraag” is marinated in vinegar and calamansi then stuffed with lemongrass and sampalok leaves.
It’s crisped to a golden brown, with a very flavorful and slightly sour taste from the marinade. Native chicken is known to have a gamey taste and stringy texture because it’s leaner with less fat.