Pandan’s Malumpati Spring, Bugang River fast becoming Antique’s top tourist destination

SAN JOSE, ANTIQUE, July 3 (PNA) — Everything’s getting into place as envisioned and planned by Pandan Mayor Jonathan D. Tan to make Malumpati Cold Spring Resort and Bugang River in his town as the top tourist destination of this province.

In an interview, Mayor Tan announced that the Tourism Infrastructure Economic Zone Authority (TIEZA) has allocated P10 million for further improvement and development of Malumpati Cold Spring Resort and this he said, will speed up the development of the infrastructure component of the town’s most important tourist spot.

“With the P10 million from TIEZA, we will be putting up a convention hall and additional structures to cater to the growing number of foreign and local tourists who come to Malumpati. We have already constructed a world class comfort room in the area. We are also improving the access road and we have put up other amenities in the resort like the zip line,” Mayor Tan said.

In addition to cold water that you would always be tempted to take a dip on and enjoy a refreshing bath in the sparkling blue waters flowing from the rocks into the Bugang River, the guests can now enjoy the zip line, have fun in wall climbing, biking, trekking to the headspring of Malumpati, rapelling, and airsoft activities in the resort.

The natural pool of the river can accommodate about a hundred people to bathe at the same time. There are picnic cottages on both sides of the river and private homes in the area offer rooms for the guests to stay overnight.

Local tourists usually bring their own food baskets and stay in these cottages.

On the other hand, the Bugang River, a Hall of Fame awardee in the government’s Cleanest Inland Body of Water contest provides a different kind of experience of bamboo rafting and boating,” Mayor Tan said, adding that with these amenities, Malumpati is truly the ‘Jewel of Panay’ where one can experience splendor and adventure in nature.

To institutionalize as well as professionalize the hospitality of the Pandananons, particularly those working in the Resort, the Municipal Government of Pandan organized the people living along river banks. They are now members of the Bugang Community-Based Eco-Tourism Organization (BCBTO) and introduced a livelihood as boatmen to cater to tourists who wanted to go bamboo rafting along the four-kilometer long Bugang River that traverses the barangays of Guia, Sto. Rosario, Zaldivar, Candari and Mag-aba.

The BCBTO is also into protection, conservation and maintenance of Malumpati and Bugang River. The members conduct a regular clean-up of the river.

The river trip takes about one and a half hours along scenery of lush forest and nipa and ends at Manlonggong Point on Guia Bridge by the national highway. The guests in groups of five or six ride on a bamboo raft measuring about 5 meters by 1.5 meters. The raft is guided by the boatmen to ensure a safe and enjoyable cruise from one end to the other. The river cruise gets more challenging during the rainy season as the water current gets stronger. The more adventurous tourists may also go boating and paddle the boats themselves and race up or down the river.

“The development of Eco-tourism is one of my priorities as I know this can give our people employment. Now, we are already in the stage of promoting our tourist destinations. Some groups in the travel and tourism industry have come to Pandan to see for themselves what we can offer them and we have received very good feedbacks. As a matter of fact, our tourism office is in contact with these groups who are planning to bring in tourist from Europe, Russia and other countries in the next few weeks,” Mayor Tan said.

Pandan is about 45 minutes ride from Caticlan, the jump off point to Boracay Island and is about 5 hours ride from Iloilo City. From Poblacion Pandan, Malumpati Cold Spring is only around 10 minutes away.(PNA)