Tibiao is a place you visit for probinsiya feels. Here you can book a homey cottage on the riverside, do nature activities like kayaking, trekking, and chasing waterfalls, and finally experience the kawa hot bath.
Tibiao is also dubbed as the Eco-Adventure Capital of Panay Island.
Hali and I went here for a day trip when we were backpacking Iloilo and Guimaras. It was actually my favorite part of our vacation — yes, even more so than our island hopping experience in Gigantes Islands. For a traveler like me who loves relaxing and immersing myself in nature, this is the perfect place to be.
We stayed at Kayak Inn which offers cottages beside Tibiao River. We trekked to see Bugtong Bato Falls and then later on soothed our muscles in the kawa hot bath. Let me tell you, this was a dream came true! We also enjoyed a fitful sleep in the cottage, with the clear night sky visible in our window.
Here’s an Updated Guide to Tibiao in Antique, including day trip activities you can do on your visit.
How to get to Tibiao (Antique)
Via Kalibo or Caticlan
Kalibo Airport is the closest airport to Tibiao. It’s about 2 hours away.
- From Kalibo or Caticlan jetty port, ride a bus bound for Iloilo or Culasi and get off at Tibiao (around P100-200, 1.5-2 hours).
- From the drop-off point, ride a habal-habal (P70 per person) to take you to your selected accommodation.
Iloilo is a bit far from Tibiao. Travel time is around 4-5 hours.
- From Iloilo City, head to Molo Terminal.
- Ride a van (P180 per person, 4 hours) or bus (5 hours) to Tibiao, Antique.
- From the drop-off point, follow same instruction as above.
Day Trip Activities in Tibiao
Here are the best activities in Tibiao you can do in a day:
1. Tibiao Fish Spa
Tibiao Fish Spa is one of the popular attractions in Tibiao. Here you can have you feet tickled by therafish followed by foot massage.
2. Tibiao Museum
Tibiao Museum is an ancestral home where you can find two gigantic pearls. One weighs around 13.75 kilos and the other 24.75 kilos. The pearls are heavily valued at not less than $100 million. More than its monetary value, the pearls are displayed to promote awareness and biodiversity.
3. Trek to Bugtong Bato Falls
Bugtong Bato Falls is a seven-tiered waterfall. Currently, only the first 3 levels are accessible to day trippers. From the third level, it will take another 4 hours to reach the next level and you will need to take a different route in the mountain.
From the registration area, you need to trek for around 30 minutes to reach the first level of Bugtong Bato Falls. On the way, you will pass by lovely rice paddies. Once you reach the first level, the trail gets steep and you will need to climb a steel ladder to reach the upper levels.
The first level is the most ideal place to take a dip. Most tourists stay here. Thankfully it was almost empty so we were able to get some IG-worthy snaps.
We swam at the third level of the waterfall, where the basin is the deepest at 13 meters. The rocks here were slippery so we opted to go barefoot before plunging into the water. It was cool and refreshing.
It was a tiring but worthwhile activity.
4. Swim, kayak, or tubing in Tibiao River
The Tibiao River stretches for 30 kilometers in the town of Tibiao. You can go here for a swim, though it’s more popular for adventure activities.
Tibiao River is said to be one of the best white water rivers in the Philippines. In fact, it hosted the first International Kayaking Cup in 1997. If you’re adventurous, hop on a kayak and navigate along the flowing river.
Related Read: White Water Rafting in Cagayan de Oro
Alternatively, you can ride donut tubes and let the current carry you away. Guides will watch over and help you if you get stuck between boulders.
5. Kawa hot bath
A kawa is basically a wok made of thick cast iron, large enough to serve as a tub for a person or two. Here in Tibiao, it’s used as an outdoor hot tub.
The kawa is heated for about 30 minutes. Traditionally, spring water is used. Herbal leaves are added to soothe muscles; flowers too if available. Recently, other options on what to use in the bath are added: including beer, milk, salt, coffee, or wine.
Hali and I shared a large kawa. After the day’s activities, we were tired and this was an amazing way to relax. We actually dozed for around an hour and the water stayed warm all throughout our bath.
Enjoying a kawa hot bath is the perfect way to end your day trip in Tibiao.
Other activities you can do
If time is not an issue, here are other activities you can do in Tibiao
- Pottery making. Learn pottery in Barangay Bandoja.
- Lambaklad fishing. Experience a unique type of fishing in the coastal area.
- Explore Antique Rice Terraces. This is a cluster of rice terraces spread over different barangays. You can go on a tour here to see the rice terraces, mingle with the locals, and sleep in a homestay. The Antique Rice Terraces has been hidden from the tourism unit until it was rediscovered in 2014.
- Boat trip to Seco Island. Seco Island is a small island located about 3 hours away from the port in Tibiao. It’s famous as an IG-worthy spot due to its sand bar and as a kitesurfing destination.
Day Trip Itinerary in Tibiao
Here’s a sample 1 day itinerary in Tibiao.
7AM – 9AM Travel from Kalibo to Tibiao
9AM Arrival in Kayak Inn / drop off bags
9:30AM – 11:30AM Trek and swim in Bugtong Bato Falls
11:30AM – 12:30PM Swim in Tibiao River
12:30PM – 1:30PM Lunch
1:30PM – 3PM Kawa hot bath / dress & pack up
3:30PM Drop by Tibiao Bakery for merienda
If you want to experience other activities such as river tubing or kayaking, it’s best to stay overnight at least.
Where to Stay
This is a tourist-favorite accommodation in Barangay Malabor in Tibiao. It’s located beside Tibiao River and it’s the home of the original kawa hot bath. (Today, there are other places in the Philippines that have imitated this, including Rizal.)
Accommodations include native cottages.
Calawag Mountain Resort
Calawag Mountain Resort is owned by the same family as Kayak Inn. It’s located at the higher terrains in Tibiao.
Accommodations include native cottages and the treehouse.
While staying here, you can ask for a boodle flight setup by the river. This is another unique experience as you can eat while your feet gets wet with flowing current.
Where to eat
Tibiao is a remote town so eateries are far and between.
You can visit Tibiao Bakery, which is famous for the bread roll called teren-teren and other local breads.
You can order food from your accommodation. Price is around P200 per person.
Budgets and Expenses
Here are the current rates in Tibiao:
|Activities||Tibiao Fish Spa:|
Starts at P119 for 30-minute fish spa + 5-minute foot massage
Bugtong Bato Falls:
Entrance fee – P100 per person / Guide fee – P150 (whole group)
Tibiao River activities:
Basic kayaking – P499 / Extreme kayaking – P899 per person
River tubing – P399 per person
Kawa hot bath:
Starts at P250 for kawa herb
|Accommodation||Kayak Inn – P300 per person (+P200 each for breakfast)|
Reminders and Tips
- You can explore Tibiao DIY or via packaged tours.
- It’s best to visit on weekdays to avoid tourists and to enjoy a longer time in the kawa hot bath.
- If staying overnight, bring insect repellent.
- Kayaking or river tubing is best done from July to February. Contact your selected accommodation ahead of time to ask about the water level in the river before your tip to be sure that river activities are possible.
Here are some useful contact information:
Has this Guide to Tibiao (Antique) been helpful to you? If you have comments or questions, let us know in the comment section below.
What to read next:
Read about our backpacking trip to Iloilo and Guimaras. Here are other articles about this trip: