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Author: Digital Tourism Team

Smart digital tools to boost Antique tourism, communication efforts

With its cerulean waters surrounding stretches of white sandbars, majestic nature trails harboring rare flower species, and sites honoring a not too distant historical event, Antique has piqued the interest…

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With its cerulean waters surrounding stretches of white sandbars, majestic nature trails harboring rare flower species, and sites honoring a not too distant historical event, Antique has piqued the interest of travelers who prefer the off the beaten path.

Antiqueños are proud of their province and are spreading the word about it further by tapping into the digital space with the help of mobile innovations.

PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications and InnoPub Media recently released the Antique Guide app, bringing the digital tourism program to the province. The app contains information useful to visitors and students, such as historical background, local folklore and other interesting cultural trivia. It also lists things to do and places to see.

Antique Guide

ANTIQUE GUIDE. The app is a comprehensive guide to the province.

Improve tourism, communications

Did you know that Rafflesia speciosa, one of the world’s largest flowers, can be found in Antique? Or that the first Malay inhabitants in the Philippines established their permanent settlement in the province? Facts and other details such as these are available on the app.

“We hope more people will discover what our place has to offer,” said Gov. Rhodora Cadiao. “We thank Smart for helping to improve our tourism and communication efforts by making these services available and accessible through mobile phones.”

The digital tourism program also includes the installation of markers with quick response (QR) codes and near field communication (NFC) chips in popular tourist spots and heritage sites. Through an NFC chip or QR code reader, mobile users will get on their phones detailed information about the said landmark.

The app is now available as a free download for both Android and iOS devices. The guide may also be accessed at ‪myguide.ph/antique‬.‬‬

Digital Tourism Antique

INTERACTIVE MARKERS. Tourism officers with SMART and InnoPub representatives hold interactive tourism markers during the launch of Digital Tourism in Antique.

Mobile innovations

“Our technology for development initiatives aim to use mobile innovations to help improve lives in our communities. We are pleased that Antique will now benefit from digital technologies,” said PLDT and Smart public affairs head Ramon R. Isberto.

The initial batch of QR code markers will be deployed to the following sites: Anini-y town and its Spanish-era church; Hamtic, home to the Malandog marker commemorating the establishment of the first Malaysian settlement in the Philippines; Antique provincial capitol; the Evelio B. Javier Freedom Park, named after the former governor whose heroism was seen as catalyst in the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship; and the capital town of San Jose de Buenavista.

More QR code markers will be deployed in other areas within the province, according to InnoPub cofounder Max Limpag. “We hope to showcase more of Antique into the digital space, and the best way to do that is to bring the information straight to users’ mobile phones,” Limpag said.

Digital Tourism

DIGITAL TOURISM. InnoPub Media co-founder Max Limpag talks about Digital Tourism during the launch.

To help enhance efforts in communication, as well as disaster preparedness, Smart also turned over to Antique its Infocast system. Smart Infocast is a short message service (SMS) broadcast platform that will enable the provincial government to send news updates, weather alerts, and other important information to its constituents through text message.

With the Smart Infocast, provincial authorities can send relevant updates to subscribers, who, in turn, can also send reports and feedback by replying to the message.

Deliver tourism, cultural, historical information

In partnership with government units, the digital tourism program of Smart and InnoPub is a nationwide initiative that harnesses technology to deliver tourism, cultural, and historical information to more mobile users. The program was launched in 2012 and has since been implemented in Cebu, Iloilo, Davao, Baguio City, and Metro Manila, among other areas. It involves the creation of tourism apps and e-guides, and the installation of interactive markers in selected landmarks to trigger the download of more information.

Smart Infocast, for its part, has boosted the communication efforts of the institutions where it has been implemented, among them government units and agencies, and other organizations. It is part of Smart’s #SafePH advocacy, which promotes the use of technology to help mitigate disaster risk in communities.

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San Jose de Buenavista

Antique’s capital town of San Jose de Buenavista grew from settlements that started out as a visita. Small communities that were visited by the priest of the parishes they were…

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Antique’s capital town of San Jose de Buenavista grew from settlements that started out as a visita.

Small communities that were visited by the priest of the parishes they were attached to were called visitas during Spanish colonial rule in the Philippines.

In the case of San Jose, it was once attached to the town of Antique that was founded in 1745.

It was called Malaiba when it became a sitio of what was then the town of Antique. Sometime from 1787 to 1790, Governor General Berenguer de Marquina granted the whole Mailaba estate to Agustin Sumandi.

San Jose de Buenavista is teh capital of Antique.

Not long after that, in 1972, Malaiba was turned into a town and Sumandi became the first gobernadorcillo.

Since the place was dedicated to San Jose, it was decided the town should adopt the name of its patron saint. During the ceremonies creating it into a township, government officials and dignitaries were so taken in by the view of the place from the sea that they added “de Buenavista” to its name of San Jose.

Upon a petition from the people, San Jose became the capital of Antique in 1802. It started out with the pueblos of Guintas, Hamtic, and San Pedro.

Hamtic was later separated from San Jose through an executive order issued by President Ramon Magsaysay in 1945.

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Hamtic

A sleepy community located close to the provincial capital, Hamtic plays a considerable significance in Antique’s history. This town is home to the Malandog Marker that commemorates the first Malaysian…

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A sleepy community located close to the provincial capital, Hamtic plays a considerable significance in Antique’s history.

This town is home to the Malandog Marker that commemorates the first Malaysian settlement in the Philippines and the first Filipino governor of Antique who was a local hero during the Spanish revolution.

A local epic on Panay history called the Maragtas tells of 10 Bornean datus who sailed northward with their families and first settled in what is now the village of Malandog in Hamtic.

The Malandog Marker that commemorates the first Malaysian settlement in the Philippines.

The Province of Antique commemorates this arrival with an annual celebration called the Binirayan Festival.

Historical shrines

Hamtic used to be the provincial capital before it was moved to San Jose de Buenavista. Antique also used to be called Hamtic way back in the 13th century when the island of Panay was divided into three sakups (jurisdictions): Hamtik or Hantik (now Antique), Aklan, and Irong-Irong (Iloilo).

Gen. Leandro Fullon Shrine.

The name Hantik comes from the large black ants called “hantik-hantik” that were plentiful in the area.

The town of Hamtic is eight kilometers from San Jose. Some of the historical and cultural shrines in the town include the Campo Santo (old stone church in Hamtic Cemetery), Gen. Leandro Fullon Shrine that depicts the birth of the Republic, and the Evelio B. Javier statue at Barangay EBJ.

The first Malay settlement. (Photo provided by Antique Provincial Tourism Office)

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Anini-y

There is a simple explanation as to why this town is called Anini-y. Back when it was newly settled in the mid-15th century, people saw that the place was irrigated…

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There is a simple explanation as to why this town is called Anini-y. Back when it was newly settled in the mid-15th century, people saw that the place was irrigated by small rivers flowing down from adjacent mountains.

Historical writings will tell you they named the town “anini” after a local word that means “a place of small rivers.”

A storied version passed down through the years tells of a love true and forbidden between a native princess, Anini, and brave and dashing warrior Nogas who was unfortunately descended from a family of slaves.

ANINI AND NOGAS. A mural of the love story between princess Anini and brave and dashing warrior Nogas.

Star-crossed lovers

In the tradition of such tragedies, their love was never meant to be. Nogas was killed and thrown out to sea while Anini pined for him and died of loneliness. From her burial spot on a rocky spot by the Anini-y coast, her tears continue to flow and has become the hot spring of Siraan. A short distance away is the body of her beloved that has been turned into Nogas Island.

Town myths aside, church historian Fr. Pedro Galende described the first settlers of Anini-y as wandering fishermen who reached the place by following the sea coast from one of the villages up north.

In 1714, it only had a population of 660. Anini-y was a visita of Antique and visited by its parish priest at least once a year. Its patron saint is San Juan de Nepomuceno.

The old Balete tree on Nogas Island.

Great man of Anini-y

Citing one of the reports of Fr. Hipolito Casiano dated 1705, who was named parish priest of Antique and Cagayancillo in 1690 and again in 1714, Fr. Galende said many of the 3,000 people from Cagayancillo who had been converted to Christianity were asked to settle in Anini-y against their wishes.

According to Galende, a decree issued on Dec. 20, 1861 turned Anini-y into an independent parish. The declaration only became official the following year when Governor General Jose Lemery followed it up with an order of separation dated March 22, 1862.

Considered the great man of Anini-y, Fr. Jeronimo Vaquerin was credited with completing the restored Spanish era San Juan Nepomuceno Parish Church.

The Anini-y church.

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Evelio B. Javier Freedom Park

He was young and idealistic, and his heroism was seen as a crucial catalyst in the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship. Antiqueños gather yearly here at the Evelio B. Javier…

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He was young and idealistic, and his heroism was seen as a crucial catalyst in the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship.

Antiqueños gather yearly here at the Evelio B. Javier Freedom Park to remember the former governor who was gunned down at the peak of the snap presidential elections on February 11, 1986.

Javier was a staunch supporter of former President Corazon Aquino. He was martyred on the very spot where a bronze statue of him created by the late national artist Napoleon Abueva now stands.

Evelio B. Javier Freedom Park

Evelio B. Javier Freedom Park

Many in Panay Island consider Attorney Evelio Bellaflor Javier as their “Ninoy Aquino.” His death further added fuel to the growing anger towards the regime of the late strongman Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr.

Born in Hamtic, Antique on October 14, 1942, Javier took up Bachelor of Arts and majored in History and Government at the Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU). He went on to finish his Bachelor of Laws in the same university.

Evelio B. Javier Freedom Park

Javier was married and had two sons. He was only 28 when he ran and won the gubernatorial seat of Antique in 1971. Memorabilia of his life are now on display at the Museo Antiqueño inside the Old Capitol.

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Experience Antique, where mountains meet sea

Welcome to Antique! The homeland of the Antiqueños is a rustic idyll of pristine islands, hot and cold springs, ancient churches and ruins, scenic beaches, and wooded mountain trails. It…

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Welcome to Antique!

The homeland of the Antiqueños is a rustic idyll of pristine islands, hot and cold springs, ancient churches and ruins, scenic beaches, and wooded mountain trails.

It is a paradise of picturesque spots and exciting experiences. Going from one place to another is to bask in the sight of majestic mountain ranges or the cerulean blue sea peeking out from behind roadside trees.

A walk along our highland trails is a chance to encounter such rare flora as “corpse flowers” and carnivorous plants.

A journey through the 18 towns in the province can lead to rare parasitic or carnivorous flowers, open up to a vista of valleys and peaks, or end in the sight of red-tinted or clear waterfalls, terraces carved on the mountainside, a running spring with the coldest water, and gushing rivers or quiet lakes.

Antique Provincial Capitol.

History

Before it became Antique, the province was called Hamtic way back in the 13th century. The legendary datus who came to the Philippines from Borneo created the first Malay settlement in a town that now bears the province’s old name of Hamtic.

Of the legendary datus who went on to occupy Panay Island, Datu Sumakwel chose to remain and live in Antique.

The town of Hamtic used to be the provincial capital but it was transferred to San Jose de Buenavista in 1802, wrote Fr. Pedro Galende in his book “Angels of Stone.”

Another Catholic Church historian, Fr. Juan Fernandez, said early on that progress and modernization came slowly to Antique because of its isolated location.

Historical landmark commemorating the first settlement.

Geography

Antique today takes pride in its unspoiled islands and preserved forests.

Narrow and long, and bordered by the Cuyo East Pass of the Sulu to the west and tall mountain ranges to the east, Antiqueños can rightly claim that Antique is where the mountains meet the sea.

Viewed from a map, Antique is shaped like a seahorse on the western border of Panay in Western Visayas. It is one of four provinces that make up the island mass.

Those who liken Panay Island to a three-cornered scarf see Antique as an oversized jagged hemline. Its unique location gives it one of the longest coastlines in the country.

A view of Nogas Island.

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Anini-y Church

Dedicated to San Juan Nepomuceno, the Church of Anini-y in Antique dates back to the Spanish colonial era in the Philippines. It is believed the first town church was built…

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Dedicated to San Juan Nepomuceno, the Church of Anini-y in Antique dates back to the Spanish colonial era in the Philippines.

It is believed the first town church was built way back between 1630 and 1638, when Anini-y was still a visita first of Antique and then Dao, by priests assigned to minister to the small local population.

Although the foundations of the first structure still existed when the second church was erected close by around 1845, there were no records as who built it, according to Fr. Pedro Galende in his book Angels of Stone.

It is believed the first town church was built way back between 1630 and 1638, when Anini-y was still a visita first of Antique and then Dao, by priests assigned to minister to the small local population.

The second church was destroyed during World War II.

Galende said the current one is a full restoration of the Anini-y Church made of masonry that Fr. Jeronimo Vaquerin started building close to 1900.

Except for a large arch near the main altar, the third Anini-y Church was basically finished in 1898. Galende described it as being made of coral stones, with one main nave and transept, and complemented by a three-story belltower that rose 25 meters high.

Anini-y became an independent parish through a decree issued on December 20, 1861 but took effect only on March 22, 1862 when Gov. Gen. Jose Lemery signed the order of separation. It had been administered by Augustinians since 1581.

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