Throughout the entire stretch of Antique in west Panay lies the breathtaking views from atop lush mountains, cold springs running through hinterlands, white-sand beaches with crystalline waters, and rich biodiversity both inland and deep down the sea.
Add all these to the smiles of its people, whoever experiences Antique returns home bearing its warmth and vibrance.
This province surely has plenty of destinations to offer, but there is one other thing that Antiqueños take lots of pride in – their local cuisine!
Handed down from generation to generation, each delicacy is perfected through time and tells an inimitable story.
From "tirik" (sea urchin) and "tatus" (coconut crab) dishes of the island municipality of Caluya in the north, through the renowned chicken Porvida (native chicken with alupidan leaves and coconut milk) of Sibalom, to the "balisongsong" (cone-shaped steamed rice wrapped in banana leave) of the southernmost town of Anini-y, all 18 component municipalities boast their own representative dishes – distinct but full of flavors so loved by people from anywhere in the province.
For many, these flavors bring back fond memories of the past and enable reconnection with their very own customs and traditions, that if not given emphasis and importance could vanish with the wind amid the influence of foreign cultures.
To promote traditional Kinaray-a cuisine and secure its preservation in the many years ahead, the Antique Provincial Tourism Office (APTO) opened the exhibit “Bugana: Antique’s Bounty” to highlight anew the splendor of Antique’s natural resources and the richness of its cultural heritage through heirloom recipes gathered from all corners of the province.
Located in the Old Provincial Capitol in San Jose de Buenavista town, the exhibit features a food map that shows authentic Kinaray-a dishes and where they are commonly found.
With the theme “Rethinking Tourism,” APTO hopes to introduce Antique as a prime tourist destination that offers not just scenic spots, exciting activities, and grand festivities but also a whole-new gastronomic adventure.
Undeniably, food always forms part of any journey towards the discovery of new places.
For Provincial Tourism Officer and overall project director Juan Carlos Perlas, the cataloging of recipes and publication of the book “The Flavors of Antique Await You” presents an illustration of a strong Antiqueño culinary tradition and desires to reintroduce histories-old cooking to the younger and future generations.
Governor Rhodora Cadiao believes in the capacity of her province’s local cuisine to captivate visitors through food tourism as she dreams of an Antique in the spotlight of the country’s tourism industry.
The lady governor expresses confidence in the commitment and expertise of the newly-installed members of the Tourism Officers Association of Antique (TOAA) to take the province to a new pinnacle.
Siblings Rep. Antonio Agapito Legarda, Jr. and Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda never cease to show support as well to their home province’s vision towards progress and shared development, stressing the promise that tourism brings.
"The Flavors of Antique Await You" was first conceptualized on the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and is now seeing the light of day with its recent publishing.
Two hundred copies have so far been printed and distributed to the different government entities and private institutions for safekeeping.
While talks for the funding of the scaled-down and low-cost version for public consumption are ongoing, the digital format of this repository of local dishes will be available soon across online platforms such as Amazon and Kindle, so
as to reach every household and enable Antiqueños here and abroad to savor histories-long recipes.
Beyond the mere flavors and nourishment, Kinaray-a food is a testament to Antique’s unique character as a province that is worth sharing with the rest of the country and the world.
Come, have a taste of Antique!