Sometimes all we need is one photo to convince us to pack our bags and go. For me, this photo one of a kawa hot bath in Tibiao, Antique. A kawa is a wok made of thick cast iron, large enough to serve as a tub for a person or two. I’d seen it in Facebook perhaps a year or two ago. I said to myself, I’m going definitely here. This is the primary reason we went on a day trip to Tibiao.
Getting from Iloilo to Tibiao, Antique
From Iloilo City, the road to Tibiao, Antique, is filled with scenery of endless rice fields and both modern houses and native huts.
I thought, this is what being in a province feels like.
After 4 hours of easy travel via van and a short habal-habal ride, Hali and I arrived in Kayak Inn, a favorite accommodation in Tibiao. A young lady greeted us and showed us our hut, which was delightfully simple and comfortable. Our room was bare except for a table and a thick mattress in the center. A toilet made of cobbled stones is located at the corner. Everything about our temporary quarters speaks charm.
Kayak Inn stands beside Tibiao river, where one can do kayaking activities. The sound of gushing water is very soothing in the senses, especially when we were dining in an alfresco setting and, later on, when we were sleeping at night.
We dropped our bags and, after a quick lunch, proceeded to the barangay hall where we would have to register and avail of a guide to the local falls nearby.
Trekking to Bugtong Bato Falls
Bugtong Bato falls is a recently discovered tourist attraction in Tibiao, Antique. It is a seven-tiered waterfall, though most visitors visit only tiers 1-3. From the third tier, it will take about 4 more hours to reach the next level and will require the tourist to take a different route in the mountain.
Trekking to the seven-tiered falls normally takes 30 minutes. It starts to become challenging once you get to the first tier. It’s not for kids, for those with fear of steep climbs, for the faint hearted.
The falls are cold with a deep green color. The pool in the third-tier fall is the deepest of the lot, about 13 meters. You can climb on the sides and jump to the water. The rocks, however, are slippery so one must be very careful. Hali went barefoot before jumping down the pool.
From the first tier, you have to climb rocks that require holding on to a rope for support. It’s a piece for rock climbing enthusiasts. From the third tier, you can opt to go down through the holds beside the second-tier falls itself; the climb is shorter but wet and slippery.
These holds are too small and far apart. I had to climb down without seeing where to place my feet. Ate Menen went ahead of me, and she kept assuring me she got me. Midway though, my legs started shaking and I panicked. “Ate, dun na lang tayo sa kabila,” I told her. And so we went down via the rocky climb.
All in all it was a challenging trek to remember. It would be nice to go back and visit the upper levels of the falls sometime in the future, although I don’t know if the barangay hall covers visitation to that area as well.
The traditional kawa hot bath in Tibiao
Hali was excited to experience a kawa hot bath in Tibiao as well. I’m not sure if this was for himself or, in his words, he’d simply like to see me get cooked while he threw in carrots and other vegetables in my kawa.
It will take about 30 minutes to prepare the kawa hot bath. Spring water is added along with herbal leaves. I think the leaves are called alubihon, although I couldn’t find any reference of this online. The leaves help soothe the muscles. Sometimes flowers are added, too.
Hali and I shared a big kawa, and we stayed there for probably an hour. It was peaceful and relaxing, with the darkness slowly creeping in around us. We dozed off. the The water stayed warm all throughout our bath.
After our kawa hot bath, we had vegetables for dinner and went to our quarters to finally hit the sack. Even without an electric fan, the night was still cool. The open windows let the air in and let us glimpse a beautiful view of the night sky. Okay, to be honest, Hali was the only one awake to witness the glory of the sky; I was sleeping fitfully all through the night. It was one of the deepest sleeps I’ve had in a while.
A full day is enough to explore Tibiao, Antique. We only spent half a day here because I got wrong information from the internet. I’ve read that from Iloilo City commuting to Tibiao will take 3 hours. Apparently that’s not the case. Riding a van will take 4 hours not to mention the waiting time for the seats to be taken, while riding the bus will take up to 5 hours due to frequent stops.
Aside from trekking to Bugtong Bato falls and relaxing in a kawa hot bath in Tibiao, other activities to enjoy here are:
- Pottery making in Barangay Bandoja
- Relaxing in Tibiao fish spa
- Swimming or kayaking in Tibiao river
We’d spotted the Tibiao fish spa and bakery just before the crossing to Kayak Inn, so I suppose it would be a good idea to stop there first since habal-habal rides can be costly.
We’d contacted Kuya Edwin ahead to make reservations. There is no downpayment needed. Kuya Edwin and the other staff at Kayak Inn were very kind. We got up at about 3:30AM the next day to go back to Iloilo City, and the habal-habal drivers waited for us to get in a van before leaving.
Kuya Edwin, Kayak Inn: 0921-570-1947
- Van from Molo terminal to Tibiao, P180 each
- Habal-habal ride from dropoff to Kayak Inn, P70 each
- Local tourist rate in registration, P50 each
- Kayak Inn native hut, P500
- Guide to Bugtong Bato falls, P150 (we also gave additional tip to our guide)
- Kawa, P200 each
- Cooking fee, P250 + price of cooking ingredients
It’s your turn to share. 🙂 Have you been to Bugtong Bato falls or experienced the kawa hot bath in Tibiao?
P.S. This post is part of our 5-day Antique-Iloilo-Guimaras trip. See other places we’ve been to in this trip.
- Tibiao, Antique: Going back to native roots
- Iloilo: The post-card perfect islands of Islas de Gigantes
- Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn: Where to stay in Gigantes Islands
- The charming ruins of Guisi Lighthouse: A must-see in Guimaras
- To the land of sweet mangoes: A day tour in Guimaras
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