Ever since I went to Antique and Boracay via 2GO Travel last year, I have always thought that Panay is easily accessible even just over the weekend. If you’re working on a day shift in Metro Manila, you just have to work undertime on a Friday to catch the vessel at nine o’clock and go half-day on Monday. The vessel may arrive quite early in the morning but there’s still the bus ride and, well, it’s supposed to be a manic day. And so when June was approaching, I just thought that I’d bite one last summer escape for the year.
As most of my college classmates are based in Iloilo it was an easy feat to ask some of them to come with me. (Yay!) After careful consideration, we had things laid out; we were to go to three destinations in just two days: Hinugtan Beach, Igpasungaw Falls, and Seco Island. (The last two will have their own blog posts so don’t fret just yet, honey.)
The port where the vessel from Batangas docks is Caticlan Port. That’s right, it’s already the port where you get your arse on a boat to
the infamous Boracay Island. (See? Boracay is that close!) Hinugtan Beach is located in the barangay of Alegria in Buruanga, which is just a neighboring town of Caticlan in Aklan. A jeepney just left by the time we congregated and since we may wait long for the next one to leave, we hired a tricycle for P350 instead. Travel time was around 30 minutes.
The port in Alegria was still being constructed, but of course that didn’t stop us from hitting our first bird. My contact, Jun (0947-178-9013), wasted no time and immediately had us seated in the pump boat. Its size was just enough to fit all of us. The ride takes only about 30 minutes (again) so there’s nothing to worry even if there are no life vests on board. *evil grin* According to an Aklanon classmate, Hinugtan Beach can only be reached via land by hiking/mountain climbing. So… Just pick your poison.
We rented a cottage for P500 on the left side of the beach (when facing the oh-ocean) which was big enough to accommodate twice or thrice our headcount. Below are the views on our right and left, respectively. As you can see, it’s pristine and the sand is reminiscent of Boracay’s.
At the far right end were kids jumping off a rock so, being the self-proclaimed good swimmers and daredevils that we are, we investigated what the fuss was all about. In Tagalog, mga usyosero.
As it turns out, the water they were jumping into was hardly deep that we simply had to retrace our steps after we got there. Below is the view of the beach from that side.
There actually exists a number of resorts already. There’s Hinugtan Beach Resort and the ones pictured below. Despite the former’s name sounding like it should be the only resort there, that couldn’t be the case, could it? Otherwise we would’ve been thrown into the sea for not staying with them. Kidding aside, when I first checked their website I immediately thought that I could enjoy Hinugtan in a way cheaper price. And I was not wrong. Even if we stayed overnight, I’d say we still would’ve underwent cheaper financial damages.
Splurging in the water was pure bliss. I forgot to ask though if, like in Boracay, there are also months when green algae is all over the place.
As we still have long days ahead of us, we cleared the stage after only roughly three hours. I am more than willing to go back on a full day tour or even overnight. I for one think that despite its proximity to Boracay, it doesn’t get as crowded.
Also, I had no idea that Ariel’s Point is along the way. I haven’t been there and all I know about it is that it’s a spot with diving boards which is accessible via tours from Boracay (inclusive of a buffet lunch). What I didn’t know is the presence of a highly elevated board which I think has the same height as the highest one in Salagdoong Beach Resort in Siquijor! Dayum. I will conquer it one day if I am finally able to afford a tour. Haha. It was deserted on our way to Hinugtan but was already crowded on our way back. I should’ve asked if it’s possible to sneak in there by not coming from Boracay.
Even before arriving in Panay, Jun already told me that it’s up to us how much we’ll pay him as for some reason he doesn’t seem “comfortable” on how much he’ll charge for his boat services. I thought of giving him P500 but a companion suggested P700. When I handed him our payment he said that it was too much but since it has already been decided and all was good, that’s it.
Excluding the food that we bought at the grocery, our expense so far was only P1,550, which is P310 per person. Good game, eh? It’s a golden rule to never give in to the initial prices offered by operators and to haggle coolly. For our tricycle ride from Caticlan, the initial offer was P400-450. As for our boat rides, we could’ve paid just P500.
And with that, we were ready for Igpasungaw.