Antique is one of the six provinces comprising Western Visayas, it is an elongated stretched land occupying the western side of the island. It is bounded by mountains of Panay and as what people often described, it is a place where “the mountain meets the sea”.
Here are the key points that I learned from our Antique journey:
A. Cultural Structures of Antique
–St. John Church in Anini-y —
This is the only colonial church in the province which was built by the Augustinian friars and is still standing up to this period. And we know that because of the pierced heart, an Augustinian seal placed above the entrance door of the church. It was built on 1845 and is constructed out of coral stones which probably came from the nearby Sulu Sea. These blocks of corals were then glued using the traditional way of egg whites. By this, it can be inferred that the culture of society influenced the process of construction.
The church incorporates Baroque style like the triangular pediment supported by a single story. Inside the church, there is a semi-circular arch which supports weight from above. St. John Church in Anini-y survived the 1848 earthquake named Lady Caycay. The church’s main entrance is decorated with rosettes and niches above. The door on the other hand, was pleasingly sculpted with detailed flowers.
–General Fullon Shrine in Hamtic–
The revolutionary of Antique was born in the coastal town of Hamtic, Antique on March 13, 1874. Together with General Martin Delgado and General Ananias Diokno, General Emilio Aguinaldo sent General Fullon to liberate the island during the Philippine Revolution. On April 1901, the Philippine Commission extended the Provincial Government Act of 1901 creating the Province of Antique. General Fullon served as the civil governor of Antique until his death last October 1904.
The statue of General Fullon in Hamtic was designed by the national artist Napoleon Abueva.
—Ruins of Patnongon–
From the Fullon Shrine, we moved to the Ruins of Patnongon. Along the national highway are the ruins of St. Augustine. Started in 1860 by Fr. Manuel Asensio, it was finished in 1895 by Fr. Eustaquio Heria. In 1896, Fr. Joaquin Fernandez renovated the church by adding a patio.On the kumbento of the church, the tour guide told us that there were horses’ stables placed below. It was destroyed by the Japanese during World War II in fear of making the stables a garrison. It was renovated however by the Mill Hill Missionaries and was converted to St. Augustin Academy on 1962.
Nearby are the ruins of the two-storey, Spanish-era municipal building. Its walls are slowly deteriorating due to abandonment but from the inside it can be seen that the building has an interior wall and arch. Meaning, during the Spanish period, our architecture already uses arch to give support to weight above.
Known as the “cradle of Philippine civilization”, Barangay Malandog once flourished a culture where the ten Bornean Datus set foot. The Spaniards called the province Hantique from its Malayan name Hamtik. On the other hand, Hamtik derived
The church is made of corals according to some information. And as you can see, every terrace has the arch structure. At the back of the church also, a statue niche can be found.
its name from hantik-hantik, a species of large ants that swarmed the place when the Malayans arrived in the 13th century. It is the place where first Malayan settlement took place.
B. Local Craft
–Patadyong Weaving in Bugasong–
Before going to Bugasong we passed by the town of Tobias Fornier where members of Buri Handicraft Association braid buri palm into baskets, wallets. Buri palms grow abundantly in these parts of Antique. From the dyed and dried leaves of this plant, they made their business industry. Moving on, we also visited the town of Bugasong where a complex kind of weaving took place. Patadyongs as the Bugasongnons call it is a type of textile made from cottons, abaca and even polyester. There are six steps in weaving Patadyongs: a. Pagsab-ong -weavers have to determine how many meters and pieces can be made, with or without the design. b. Paglikis – the arrangement of the thread c. Pagbinting – insertion of the thread in the binting in an upward and downward movement d. Pagsulod – read is inserted in the reed e. Pagtalingyas – transfer of thread from the cone to the talingyasan f. Pagpanara – the process where the actual weaving starts.
I think the “Filipino-ness” of this craft is that the medium is wooden handloom called tiral and not the same with those in the industries. Wood is very accessible especially if you live near the mountains. Aside from that, the function of patadyong does not only serve as a blanket but also as skirts, baby hammocks, portable bathrooms and changing rooms. Patadyong is like that of a malong in Muslims, the only difference is that Patadyong came in checkered or plaid design.
–Pottery and Brick-Making in Brgy. Bandoja,Tibiao, Antique
In pottery, the first step is to knead the clay to ensure an even moisture content throughout the body. The next step is the rough ball of clay is pressed inward and downward into perfect symmetry. Third is making a hollow into the solid ball of clay and creating a flat rounded bottom of the pot. The last step is refining the shape of the pot. After that, the pots are then put into the oven so as to remove the excess water to harden and increase the strength of the clay.
In brick-making, we first made big chunks of clay from the clay deposits placed on the floor. After that, we pressed the clay into steel molds to form the clay into its final shape. Barangay Bandoja is blessed with half a million metric tons of clay reserves, and I think what made their products very Filipino is that the design of the pots were geometric and nature in motif. Some of their products also include terracotta bricks, ornamental jars, and pots. What makes it more Filipino-ish is that the potter’s wheels were improvised bicycle rims which can be turned by hand. It shows how resourceful Filipino people are.
–Bandi and Butong-butong in Lau-an–
Our heritage tour will not be complete if we won’t end it with pasalubongs. We visited the town of Lau-an were devoured sweets such as butong-butong and bandi were made. The first step in making these delicacies is to melt the muscovado sugar and the rind in the cauldron or kawa. After a short cooking time, the crystalized muscovado syrup is poured into banana tree stalks and was cooled down for a few minutes. The hot, melted sugar is then pulled until it becomes whitish in color and until it hardens to become a soft chewy candy. We even tried it ourselves and made unique designs. Bandi, on the other hand, is quite the same with Butong-butong but with peanuts added to the mix. When the mixture is ready, it is then poured out into the sawali mats, spread and hardened. It is now then cut into small pieces, ready for selling at 20 pesos for 4 bars. The Filipino-ness of this craft is simply how the process was made since it was quite easy and the bandi-makers only used sawali made of bamboo covers. Aside from that, these delicacies are uniquely based on Filipinos’ taste preference, which are undeniably in for sweets.
C. Communal Activity
A Kinaray-a performance which does not only showcase their talent in singing but also introduces the audience to the unique culture of Antique. This activity was spearheaded by the pillars of Kinaray-a music, Sammy Rubido and Dante Beriong. On their song Mananggiti, it tells us the life story of a tuba-maker with a funny twist. It is poetic in approach while the song is not literally taken. On Aragay Inday, one of their songs, they present the courtship of a man to a young maiden. It tells a story of how difficult things were experienced by the boy just to win the hand of the
maiden. Pangabuhi sa Uma, is also presented which tells us the fiesta culture of Antique and how the people use to hold bayle. One of the songs that cannot get out of my mind is Mauli gid ako sa Antique, it tells how the singer misses his beloved hometown and how he missed everything about it. The song was very emotional but at the same time, it makes you reminisce about the past especially if you’re from Antique.
We rode to bamboo raft called a balsa, but before that, we were told to leave our slippers behind and to wash our hands first, probably a fisherman’s accustomed belief before fishing. We pulled the rope so as our raft can move to the middle of the sea maybe 20 meters from the shore. The unique fishing technique involves laying down a fish trap to collect fishes such as tuna, sailfish, barracuda and mobula rays. We helped the fishermen pull the rope tied to the net. After several minutes, different kinds of fish wiggled to the balsa. It was a good catch for the fishermen today. This activity involves the lifestyle of the Antiqueños since fishing is their main livelihood. Mararison Island Children’s Choir The group of children is composed of youngsters with the age ranging from 713 years old. The way the group performs was so entertaining
D. Overall Reaction to Experience First of all, I am so happy that what we paid for this heritage tour was all worth it. I did not only learn to make pots, bricks, patadyong, and those sweet delicacies but I also learned how to appreciate the Antique culture more. I was able to grasp on their music, their products, and livelihood. Moreover, I didn’t realized that Antique has so much to show when it comes to tourism because it is overshadowed by its neighbors, Aklan and Iloilo. I didn’t even imagine that they have scenic beaches like those found in Mararison Island in Culasi. This heritage tour did not only gave me the opportunity to know more about the Antique culture, which I will be talking about when I go home in Mindanao, but it also gave me the chance to appreciate the beauty of what has been part of the past (the ruins and Antique history).This tour made me appreciate nature on it’s best – from sunrise while fishing down to Earth’s golden hour at Tibiao while we ate pizza as we contemplate life at the beach.