The substantial, vaguely triangular island of Panay has been largely bypassed by tourism, perhaps because everyone seems to get sucked towards Boracay off its northern tip instead. There’s room enough on Panay, though, for plenty of discovery and adventure: the island has a huge coastline and a mountainous, jungled interior that has yet to be fully mapped.
Panay comprises four provinces, Antique (“ant-ee-kay”) on the west coast, Aklan in the north, Capiz in the northeast and Iloilo (“ee-lo-ee-lo”) running along the east coast to the capital of province, Iloilo City in the south. The province that interests most tourists is Aklan, whose capital Kalibo is the site of the big and brash Ati-Atihan festival, held in the second week of January. This doesn’t mean you should give the rest of Panay the brushoff. The northeast coast from Concepcion to Batad offers bangka access to a number of unspoilt islands while on the west side you’ll find Antique, a raw, bucolic province of picturesque beaches and scrubby mountains.