Banate is in a unique position being a great jumping-off point to explore the 5th District of the province. The town can surprise those willing to spend a few days exploring it. It may not be as appealing as its adjacent municipalities, but if you are looking for an all-day adventure, the coastal and mountain areas of Banate provides a glorious backdrop attractive all year-round. The town is a great place for outdoor experiences, from snorkeling to challenging wilderness hikes.

The Fourth-Class municipality of Banate is situated in the northern portion of the province. It is 50 kilometers away or an hour and thirty minute ride from Ilooilo City. It shares border with Barotac Viejo and San Enrique in the northwest; Banate Bay in the southeast; and Dingle and Anilao in the west. The town has a total land area measuring 11,886 hectares that is politically subdivided into 18 barangays.

Banate is populated by 32, 532 (2015 Census on Population) Banatenhons. Market day is every Wednesday. It annually celebrates its Religious Fiuesta every 24th of June in honour of ST, John the Baptist.

To get to Banate, one can take a bus or van at the new Ceres Terminal in Barangay Camalig, Jaro, Iloilo City.

HISTORY

The settlement of Banate is of ancient origin. It was among the organized Pre-Hispanic territories of the Confideration of Madja-as in Panay. It was known to the Spanish missionaries during the earliest dates of the colonization as Bobog. The Spanish Augustinian historian Fray Gaspar de San Agustin mentions it in an account about Dumangas and other coastal towns of the island, where in ancient times, there was a principality and trade ceneter that had the most illustrious nobilities in the whole island of Panay.

Bobog (Banate), Araut (Dumangas), Anilao and Hapitan were among the ancient coastal civilizations in Panay. Another Agustinian historian Fray Juan Fernandez, in his Monografias de los pueblos de la isla de Panay, affirms that Banate was known in the ancient times as Bobog or Bog-og. The more modern name banate might have been derived from a species of tree that grew abundantly in the place.

ATTRACTIONS

ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH CHURCH was built in 1870 under the supervision of Father Eustaquio Torres. The convent was established by Father Manuel Santos in 1883. Made of stone and wood, the façade is very simple with no decoration at all.

SAN SALVADOR BEACH is a motorized boatride away from the town center where backpackers frequent this destination because of its beautiful sunset. There are adjoining beaches in the area, the Solongan and Punta Magkil which are separated by rock formations. It was also a part of the history of the province as it served as a citadel during the Spanish times.

CANIAPASAN FALLS located in the wilderness area of Barangay Managopaya, 13 kilometers from the town proper. Fairly located in a remote barangay, this relatively small but scenic cascading waterfall has series of smaller water falls on the rugged, upturned rocks. Located in a sheltered, beautiful spot, the water gushes much over a wide ledge and drops about 10 feet. The walk to the falls is moderate. The trailhead is not so difficult to reach but physical stamina may be required.

HIBOTKAN ROCK SANCTUARY is a good snorkelling and diving spot, a popular place for tourism. Just two kilometres away by motorized boat from Sulagan, it is found in between the municipal waters of town and Guimaras Strait, the sanctuary covers 25 hectares but only 1 hectare is exposed to the sun during low tide. As a precious resource for this town, the site has 16 families of corals with 34 species being observed. The sanctuary also provides shelter for a wide variety of marine life.

FESTIVAL

KASAG celebrates the contribution made by the blue crab industry by those persons involved in the local fishing industry. It became the starting point for the annual festival that also showcases its unique and pulsating choreographed steps. The dance maps out the crab’s journey through movement where it traces its connection from the sea to land. The synchronized movement symbolizes the crab, often accompanied with arched legs, and movement of arms and hands like scissors. Dancers also present the color change on crabs from blue to orange through their suggestive costumes. Banate welcomes its visitors with a weekend of fun and pure pleasure. The celebration is a tasty and entertaining tradition, with music, great food, arts and crafts, and featuring Kasag Cooking Contest. This family fun and feasting event draws visitors from all across the province and region.

ANG PAGTALTAL involves a cast of almost nearing a hundred of performers playing key roles in the Biblical story. No professional actors are hired for the play, which is performed only by those who were born in the towns mentioned. The play’s cast is drawn from all walks of life from within the municipality. The play is performed in Hiligaynon.