The Ultimate Guide to the Original and Traditional “Kawa Bath” (Cauldron Bath) in Tibiao, Antique, Philippines | OneCarlos PH
“It’s like having a different level of a spa with the chirping of the birds and a nice view—by the river or in the middle of the jungle.”
Different Types of Bathing
Bathing has been part of our living throughout the ages. Like most other people, I don’t leave the house without getting a shower. And like other millennials, I sometimes skip the shower when I don’t have plans on weekends. I know it’s quite disgusting but it’s true with an emphasis to SOMETIMES only. Sounds defensive? IKR? LOL
Childhood Bathing Dreams
Like most kids, I love soaking and playing at the pool. [Reality is:] but we never had a swimming pool nor a bathtub. Yet, it didn’t stop me from enjoying my daily bath during my childhood.
Y’all know what’s the plot twist? I don’t know if you’ve tried this or you were once like me. I’m a basin kiddo!
After the basic cleaning and bathing with soap and shampoo, I go and fill our large basin with water and jump into it. I crazily soak my head (to have the feeling of like swimming in a big ocean or a wide pool), tap the water surface to create water splashes, and flip my legs together the way Ariel moves her tail. So gay! LOL
Why am I talking about all of these? The point is… I’d like to share a very special bathing experience I had during my birthday trip.
Bathing takes place in various forms. It ranges from warm to cold (wishing of a hot and cold shower at home!), from indoor to outdoor, from showers to bathtubs, from spiritual public bathing to skinny dipping (oops!), and the list goes on.
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The Original and Traditional “Kawa Bath”
When my friend Karen and I went to Antique, we made it sure we wouldn’t be missing the original and traditional “kawa bath” in the said province.
Kawa bath is very close to bathing in a tub. Their only differences are:
- You’ll be taking a bath inside a giant “kawa” (cauldron) instead of a bathtub. That’s where they got the term “kawa bath.”
- Instead of having bubbles or milk, you’ll get medicinal herbs and flowers in your kawa bath. And sometimes, they put ginger. Almost like cooking, right? LOL
- And of course, the reason why a kawa is primarily needed in this bathing: you need some kind of cooking temperature through the traditional way of putting a cauldron on fire—through burning firewoods!
It’s a safe, soothing and with a bit of luxurious kind of bath.
Fret no more, babe. It’s a safe, soothing and with a bit of luxurious kind of bath. So, you better keep reading as I continue to share how a kawa bath is prepared.
Preparation of a Kawa Bath
Obviously, you AREN’T going to take a bath in a boiling hot water, honey. Here’s what you need to get started:
- Fresh river water is added to the kawa.
- Medicinal herbs and flowers are added.
- Then, the kawa is put on the fire for a few minutes.
The water will be put on the fire to extract the medicinal properties of the herbs and flowers. It only takes a few minutes to get that tolerable warm temperature of the water. Then, it will be ready for you to get into the kawa and relax as you steep yourself into the original, traditional kawa bath that can only be experienced in Tibiao, Antique, Philippines.
We arrived and enjoyed the entire place at around 8 o’clock in the morning, and relaxed inside the giant “kawa” (or cauldron) filled with fresh river water, medicinal herbs, and vibrant flowers.⠀
It’s like having a different level of a spa with the chirping of the birds and a nice view—by the river or in the middle of the jungle.
ALSO: Are you planning to fly to Cebu? Feel free to check my other blog posts about what to do there:
Did You Know?
There are quite a few resorts and provinces here in the Philippines that offer kawa bath. But kawa bath originated in Tibiao, Antique, Philippines.
Where’s the Best Kawa Bath Experience?
We didn’t actually plan where to specifically go for our first kawa bath experience. But one thing’s for sure. We want to experience our unique bath galore while enjoying the most beautiful view of the Tibiao River.
What did we do? We’ve told our habal-habal (motorbike) driver to bring us to a kawa bath resort with the best view of Tibiao River. Yes, there’s quite a number of resorts offering kawa bath in Tibiao. So, you better be specific to what you want when you go there. I’ll help you choose though.
After a few minutes of habal-habal drive, we arrived at the amazing property, La Escapo Mountain Resort.
Why I Love the Place?
La Escapo Mountain Resort is the closest and has the best view of Tibiao River. You can even swim and play there. Just make sure to take a few minutes to allow your body to adapt to the temperature. The river is quite cold and the kawa bath is… warm, of course.
Value for Money: It’s super worthy and affordable! You only have to pay PHP250 (USD5) to get that dream kawa bath. And you can also chill by the river or even play at their swings by the river.
Summary of Expenses
PHP50 – habal-habal fare
PHP250 – kawa bath fee
PHP50 – habal-habal fare
PHP350 (USD7) – TOTAL
Their friendly staff is exceptionally hospitable. I’ve requested quite a few things to achieve the photos and experience I have in mind, and they deliver awesomely!
Where to Stay in Tibiao, Antique?
We stayed at Kasa Raya Inn because it’s along the highway and it’s the jump-off point to most of the adventures and destinations within the radar of Tibiao, including the traditional and original kawa bath.
How to check affordable and amazing accommodations offers there? I’ve got you covered, mate! I’ve prepared a handful of Tibiao accommodation choices of good deals.
Best Time to Go to Tibiao
One of the staff I spoke said their peak season is from November to Summer. But if you’re like me, go there during the less traveled days. That’s the same season where airfare seats are on sale. But what’s the catch? Rainy season it is.
Other Things To Do in Tibiao
- White Water Rafting
- Rice Terraces Trekking
- Picnic/Lunch by the River
- Overnight Stay at a Nipa House
How to Get There?
There are three routes that you can choose from when you want to go to Tibiao, Antique. You can head there via Iloilo, Kalibo or Caticlan. We opt to go there via Iloilo because we’ve got some places to see in Iloilo at that time.
Via Iloilo International Airport
PHP70 (20-30 minutes) – Iloilo International Airport to Molo Bus and Van Terminal
PHP120 (2 hours) – Molo Bus and Van Terminal to San Jose Bus and Van Terminal
PHP80 (2 hours) – San Jose Bus and Van Terminal to Brgay. Importante, Tibiao
PHP650 (10 minutes) – From the intersection, ride a motorbike to El Capo Resort
- Enjoy the view, your visit, your company and the moment.
- Try their swings by the Tibiao River. It’s both fun and challenging to balance.
- Explore the place and look for the photo spots while the kawa bath is being prepared. Time management, bruh!
- Don’t go beyond 30 minutes in the kawa bath or else you’ll get your balls cooked! LOL
- Truth is (in most places and in most travels)… always be a nice tourist to get the best assistance and accommodation possible. Though the people there are truly nice.
- Be generous enough. Tip the resort crew/s. It isn’t mandatory, but our extra demands and requests from them should be fairly rewarded.
- Lastly, leave no trace, man! If you’ve got some packed meals or snacks with you, keep your trashes with you or ditch them to the nearest garbage bin.
I think I went too talkative in this blog post. But I hope you find this post handy and informative. Feel free to drop your or questions below. I’ll surely get back to you when I get hold of my phone!
Meanwhile, allow me to end this with a powerful message from a wonderful and wanderlust friend who recently departed for his eternal travel: “Travel when you can, while you can.”
Talk to you soon, awesome travelers!
Jian of OneCarlos PH
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