Pandan is the northernmost town of the province of Antique. Less than an hour away from Caticlan, this laid-back destination on Panay Island is an ideal respite for those heading to or from Boracay who want a charming place to relax by the beach minus the crowds.
While most tourists may overlook this town on their way to other destinations, those who take the time to visit will find that Pandan has its charms.
Here are five things you can do in Pandan, Antique.
1. Take a dip at a health spring
The most well-known attraction in the area is the Malumpati Health Spring, an eco-tourism spot where visitors can take a dip or in refreshing cold spring pools within a rich, tropical forest.
Challenge yourself by jumping off diving platforms from various heights or just enjoy floating around on inner tubes.
It’s best to visit early on weekdays to enjoy the place to yourself. Since the place is very popular among locals for swimming and picnics, it can get quite crowded during weekends and holidays.
2. Get a taste of the farm life
For families and small groups who want a bit more privacy and a taste of the simple living, Dioso Farm and Mountain Spring Retreat offers an alternative to the Malumpati getaway. This secluded farm offers activities like vegetable and fruit picking and linupak-making and can arrange picnic lunches.
After enjoying a feast of native fare and fresh fruits, hang around in hammocks, lounge in a kawa (cauldron) bath or take a dip in their freshwater spring pool to unwind. If you have time to spare, you can also take a short trek uphill to view the Pandan Bay seascape.
Some proceeds from the entrance fees at the Dioso Farm and Mountain Spring Retreat go to the Antiquenos for Reading and the Leocadio Dioso Memorial Public Library in Pandan, Antique which aids in the education of children in the area.
3. Cruise along one of the country’s cleanest rivers
Bugang River is reputedly one of the cleanest rivers in the Philippines. At Naranjo Water Park, a resort located along the river, visitors can try various low-impact ecotourism water activities such as stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking and pedal boating. Enjoy a leisurely river cruise aboard a floating cottage, passing through mangrove areas and groves of coconut trees.
4. Relax at a beach-front boutique resort
For couples, families and leisure travelers looking for a peaceful sanctuary, Pandan Beach Resort is one of the best places you can stay overnight in the area. This well-designed boutique resort located in the Pandan Bay Beach area offers rustic backpacker cottages as well as standard and deluxe air-conditioned rooms with private restrooms, hot and cold shower and WiFi.
Pandan Beach Resort offers free on-site activities like paddle boating, beach volleyball and skim boarding at its private beach.
The resort also has a floating cottage, lounging areas, and hammocks where you can just sit back and relax while watching the sunset. The resort runs a spa, where you get massages from the comfort of your room or outdoors while listening to the ocean waves.
5. Enjoy cocktails by the beach
Even if you’re not staying overnight, Pandan Beach Resort is worth visiting for meals, drinks and sunset viewing alone. Their in-house restaurant serves a good range of local and international cuisine and pasta dishes in a relaxing al fresco beachfront setting.
They also run an outdoor bar that serves tropical cocktails like Tequila Sunrise, Blue Lagoon, White Russian, Cosmopolitan, Long Island Iced Tea, Margarita and more.
How to get there: Philippine Airlines now flies direct from Clark in Pampanga to the newly opened airport in San Jose de Buenavista in Antique three times a week. Caticlan Airport and Kalibo International Airports in Aklan also offer nearer entry points and more flight options to northern towns like Pandan.