Geology, Local Travel

Leaving foot prints behind in Antique, Panay Island: textbook sedimentary rock formations, pristine coral reef, and friendly locals

Even to this day, I feel glad to my core that I took Geology as my college course. My work as geologist has allowed me to travel around the country and abroad. I got to set foot on different islands and observe the different types of rocks that my country is made of. I also got to meet people from different cultural backgrounds even the ones that are considered indigenous such as the Manobo and Higaonon tribes of Mindanao. Every fieldwork I did means leaving my own set of foot prints on places that are normally not that accessible to ordinary tourists. That’s the very thing that I love most about my job as geologist.

My phone camera had the mind of its own and took this stolen shot of me. Haha!

Last July 6, my classmates for Geology 215 and I flew to Panay Island via Iloilo International Airport. The course is an advanced field geology subject every Masters of Science in Geology students is required to take. I wasn’t originally planning to take the course this year but when I found out that the class will be going to Panay Island, I couldn’t just skip the course. Panay Island, after all, is one of the few islands in the country that I haven’t left my footprints on.

To say that I’m happy I changed my plans and joined the class this midyear is an understatement. I’m positive that it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made so far as an MS student! Antique turned out to be a place that’s geologically interesting simply because the area is underlain by a myriad of rocks, with some of them I would consider as textbook examples. The geologic story of the place is also complicated given the diversity of rocks we observed and the fault structures that cut through them in places. I’d even go so far as declare that fellow geologists out there would enjoy going around the province – the rocks are simply that diverse, interesting, and challenging to piece together.

The Siraan Hot Spring resort is where we stayed for almost two weeks courtesy of the mayor of Anini-y. It’s nice to see that even just outside our dorm are rock formations that are so nice to behold for geologists like me.

“My favorite rock exposures during our Geology 215 fieldwork are the ones exposed along the Kipot River valley (video below) that exhibit textbook example of interbedded mudstone-siltstone-sandstone-shale. According to our guide, this area is a tourist attraction during summer time when water is clear (it was rainy when we visited).”

“This was also the place where I slipped a few times and landed on my butt – I was wearing a pair of shoes not designed for slippery ground that had just been rained on. Still, I would return to this place given the chance. The cables you see by the way are what the locals use to cross the river during flash floods. The boulder-sized rocks in the middle of the valley looking upstream are testament to how strong the currents are during flooding.”

Did I mention textbook example? This is an outcrop of turbidite sequence dipping seaward and offset by multiple fault structures.

Below is a gallery of photos of some of the outcrops we’ve seen in the area as well as me as captured by one of my team mates. One of the things we do on site are take photos of the outcrops and document the characteristics of the rocks in terms of structures, minerals noted, rock textures, and possible field ID based on mineralogy and rock textures. I record everything using UTM Geo Map app for GPS location as well as outcrop descriptions. I also do it the school way of jotting down my observations on my Rite in the Rain notebook per requirement by our professor for the course. At the end of each field day, all of us discuss our traverse logs to the class and plot everything on a large topographic map.

In case you’re wondering, I did bring my painting stuff to the field in hopes that I could sketch and paint en plein air but it was impossible to do so during our fieldwork. Our traverses were fast-paced and due to our limited time, further limited by rains in the afternoons, we had to finish our assigned area quickly. I did manage to sketch a few rocks using my pencil but these were just to feature important properties exhibited by our rock outcrops – not for any artistic purpose.

We only had a few days to finish our fieldwork but we did manage to squeeze in a few hours to visit and relax at Nogas Island – one of the tourist attractions in Anini-y, Antique. To get there, we had to take a boat from Siraan Hot Spring Resort where we stayed the whole time and travel by sea for about 15 minutes. It was low tide during our visit so the corals were exposed in places and we couldn’t swim. We did enjoy observing the colorful sea creatures in tidal pools which beats being in an ocean park any day.

Below is an Instagram reel I made of the short videos and photos I took at Nogas Island. The trees we viewed from the lighthouse were full of nesting flying fox. The corals are also relatively healthy and you’d see that the reef has plenty of brittle stars, various fishes, and Synapta Maculata (species name for the family of holuthuria, or sea cucumber) in various lengths and forms. We also saw cats on the island and we wondered what they ate when the island’s empty of tourists. They must have learned to hunt for fish and birds.

Miag-ao, Iloilo and Iloilo City

I have tried the local batchoy from a restaurant across the Miagao Church and also the ones from Antique. I gotta know how to cook it because I loved it!

After our fieldwork days have ended at Antique, we had a quick city tour of Miagao and Iloilo City en route to the aiport before our scheduled flight back to Manila. At Miagao we had our breakfast of “lugaw” and “batchoy”. We also had the chance to catch the Sunday mass at Miagao Church, a Baroque church that has been identified a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1993. In the video below, you can see how beautiful the church is and the tree outside looks so much alive because a lot of flying fox nest there. It’s quite a sight to see!

Miagao Church – a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993.

A Filipino’s trip to any destination is never complete without buying the local delicacies to bring as “pasalubong” to loved ones at home. I bought the local delicacies from bakeshops including the famous Biscocho Haus at Atria mall in Iloilo City.

Finally, get a glimpse of the rock formations, of us geology students, and the beautiful less traveled destinations of Antique in the video below. I made the video using iMovie so please don’t expect much – I just combined the videos and photos to document our fieldwork in Antique without much editing. I’m too lazy for that. Still, I hope that with this video compilation, you get a glimpse of the province and get inspired to also visit it in the future.

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