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Monday, June 12, 2017

Seco Island, Antique | Kruhay under the Sun


I could not come up with a better way of celebrating last year’s Independence Day than to romp over the fine white sands of this isolated island 27 nautical miles west of Panay. Highlighted by a curving stretch of sand bar encircling an area dotted with pockets of small trees and scattered shrubbery, it was named Seco Island because of its close similarity to the shape of a human elbow; ‘siko’ in Tagalog.

Seco Island. Ang Island na Ma-Swerte
Worth the Long Boat Ride

Getting here is anything but laidback. We started our sea journey under darkness aboard a cramped up passenger boat with enough space for us to huddle at the roof of the captain’s hull. Seating over protruding edges of wood, I labored for the duration of our three hour sail over calm waters. Under the mercy of the monotonous sound of the boat engine, I tried to doze off amidst my numbing butt and cramping legs, only to be awaken by the gleaming redness of the skies on the horizon a couple of hours later. 

Bullet the beautiful Sky
While I was stretching my hands and yawning myself to full awareness, it was then that I caught the first sight of the island from afar. As it revealed its comely image covered by the gleam of the early rising sun, the inconvenience of the long arduous sea journey was instantly replaced by an elated feeling.

Wave the flag of 3 stars and a Sun
Slowly, as we docked at the shallow waters, the live corals became visible and as one of the boatman dove to plant the anchor, I quickly recognized the exceptional scene precluding to a wonderful trip in the making.

OK Corals. 
Smaller boats which accompanied our party consisted of fishermen, residents and LGU members of the town of Tibiao. Months before, they have circled the date of June 12 as a perfect day to visit the island of Seco and raise the Philippine flag on the island – not only to celebrate our more than hundred years of freedom, but also to commemorate the inclusion of Seco Island in the province of Antique’s tourism and nature preservation program.

Indie Day on the Island

As the twin drone camera flew over and small fishing boats ran loops around the island, a short program was held where the participating stakeholders’ promised to promote the island while at the same time - implementing a set of measures to safeguard its natural beauty. A flag raising capped off the morning festivity which was followed by a human chain forming the letters of S-E-C-O as the drone camera captured it from above.

I wouldn't mind becoming a castaway here with the beautiful Madi Ross
Along with Kara, Aleah, Marcos and Dave – fellow travel bloggers who have been to the best islands in the country, we all agreed at the distinctiveness of Seco Island. A naked island at its truest sense, we all established the need to weed out plans to put up infrastructures in the island – to avoid the mistakes done in other previously bare island in the Philippines. Something, the LGU and tourism staff also approved upon.

Bounteous Nature Surround

A local fisherman told us that the waters surrounding Seco Island abounds with marine resources making it a favorite spot of fishermen from different parts of Antique. Coral reefs can be seen as close as four to five feet deep – and the wind that spheres the island are known to generate a favorable condition for windsurfing and kiting. “Every year, for 3-5 days – windsurfers come to this island to just ride all day” our host Flord Nicson Calawag of Katahum Tours told us.

I am bulkier now than this. Promise
Marine Protected Area

Being the site of bounteous marine resources, Seco Island is considered as a Marine Protected Area (MPA) as accorded by a local government ordinance. All activities related to the use of its waters such as fishing and even camping and visiting the island are regulated. Visitors are required to coordinate first at the local tourism office in Tibiao, Antique before traveling to Seco Island.

White Sands running in circle
Half a day in the island wasn’t enough for myself – but it was the only opening on our hectic schedule traveling around Antique to visit this island. I spent the whole time walking around barefoot and feeling the fine sands under my feet. Upon resting,  I opted to lay down under the shade of a small tree as I stared at the visual banquet laid out in front of me.

Drone shots ©Tonzie Gay
Just after lunch time we bade the island farewell – and as our boat sailed away, I saw the beautiful sandbar of Seco Island slowly sunk down from the horizon, as the dark blue waters gradually concealed it from sight.  I looked back at the morning’s happenings and savored the good experience in my mind. It was indeed, a wonderful time reveling at the idea of Kruhay (long live) under the sun.


Our trip was sponsored by the Antique Tourism and Kruhay Tours
Website: www.katahum.com
Facebook: Katahum Tours
Email: fate@katahum.com or katahumtoursantique@gmail.com

Mobile: +63920 126 1205 (Smart) or +63917 450 3121 (Globe)

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