The Jacuzzi tub has got nothing on a kawa hot bath in Antique. In the latter, individuals are “cooked alive” in a large cauldron (so big, some can even fit four people at a time) instead of the usual tubs made of stainless steel, cement, or fiberglass. Local herbs and petals are added to the water, which helps soothe tired muscles and relax the mind.
A kawa is what Filipinos’ call the huge wok, which were originally used in sugar-making many years ago. But when that trade became unprofitable, locals decided to repurpose the many kawa they owned. Today, soaking in those kawa has become one of the main draws in the town of Tibiao.
Aside from it being an awesome photo op, a kawa hot bath is something to look forward to, especially during night time in Tibiao, where the weather could get chilly at times. It’s also a nice activity to cap off an adventure-filled day, visiting nearby attractions such as the Bugtong Bato Falls.
The kawa hot bath starts with a personnel that lights up the pieces of wood and dried bamboo to warm the water to the desired temperature, which is about 35 to 40 degrees. It does take a while to heat up that much water (around 45 minutes), which means you have time for a light snack.
As the water heats, you’ll start smelling the aroma that the fragrant herbs, leaves, and flowers give off. This alone helps calm the senses. Similar to swimming in hot springs, these hot baths have a reputation of expelling toxins from the body and releasing feel-good hormones.
Once the kawa bath is ready, slowly get on the giant pan (perhaps stand on it for a minute or two) just to allow your body to get used to the heat. After that, it’s time to sit down, and then fully immerse your body for best effect.
There’s really no chance of the kawa getting too hot that you burn or scald yourself. For one, a personnel will always be on stand by to supervise. Plus, the kawa is thick enough that it will never get too hot too fast.
Depending on which establishment you get the kawa hot bath, one usually costs somewhere between P300 and P500, for about 40 to 60 minutes of relaxation. Considering you’re helping local tourism, that’s a pretty reasonable price to pay.
If going to Antique is not in the cards at the moment but you want to try the kawa hot bath so bad, fret not. There are establishments in Tanay, Rizal, that offer a similar service.