The island of Panay belongs to the Western Visayas Region in central Philippines and is divided into five provinces, namely Aklan, Antique, Capiz and Iloilo and Guimaras. Panay is a 45-minute flight from Manila. It is triangular in shape and surrounded by various bodies of water it is characterized by relatively wide stretch of coastal lowlands with rugged hills and mountains on the interiors, making Panay a heart of diverse marine life, inland fishery and various agricultural products. The island is also competitively advantageous in the production of seaweed and is being considered as the second largest rice producing region in the Philippines. Its large agricultural land area produces coconut, mangoes, pineapples, root crops, vegetables and the well-known muscovado, the origin of sugar in Panay and the Philippines. Rattan craft is also a large local industry.
There are large concentrations of fishponds in the northern and eastern parts of the island, and mineral deposits include coal and copper. The inhabitants are primarily of theHiligaynon (Ilongo) ethnolinguistic group; nomadic peoples live in the mountainous areas. Its major cities are Roxas and Illiolo City.
If you’re looking for a province that has a nice metropolitan city and history to boot then the province of Iloilo should be your first stop. That’s hardly a bad thing since it is quite accessible from just about anywhere in the country be you traveling by air, by bus or by ship. The capital that is Iloilo City is as modern as you can get with a touch of it old roots showing up in some of the most unexpected of places. Traveling within the city is accessible using the local transportation system although do be ready to experience the scourge of a lot of cities around the world traffic.
You will have your fill of Spanish era churches including the World Heritage Site Miagao Church.
For food lovers, especially seafood lovers, a trip to the province of Capiz is a must. Focus should be on the Capital City of Roxas, known as the ‘seafood capital of the Philippines.’ When you want to eat your fill of oysters or the ‘diwal” (angel wing clams) this is the place to go.
What does the Ati-Atihan festival and Boracay have in common? Well both of them come from the province of Aklan. These two well-known entities is what puts Aklan on the map nowadays, in the old days this area was known for its fabrics, especially those made from the Pina or pineapple plant. Nowadays the old ways of making Pina fabric is still preserved and you can get yourself a bolt to make nice clothes from.
Because of Boracay the province is easily accessible by land, sea or air. Regular flights from Manila as well as other major cities around the country abound. It’s a few hours by bus from Iloilo city and shipping lines dock at port on a regular schedule as well.
For scuba enthusiast Antique is the place. The province has a very long coastline and the coastal areas adjacent to them have nice reefs and underwater topography and sea life to make diving such a breathtaking and very memorable experience. You can also get a chance to watch weavers in action and buy their finished products. Created from the leaves of the bariw and buri palms you can choose from a variety of products from bags to mats to whatever else that can be woven by the deft hands of the traditional weavers.
Where to stay in Panay
Panay is continuously becoming a more popular tourist destination so visitors won’t have a hard time finding somewhere to stay. The most breathtaking places include beach resorts located in secluded spota giving visitors the chance to enjoy a vacation in their own tropical paradise. The accommodation options in Panay range from budget to upscale resorts with ocean views or strategic locations in the city centre.