The Gigantes group used to be called Sabuluag or Salauag but during the Spanish colonial era, the name was changed to Gigantes. Locals believe that the island is inhabited by the ancients.
Our initial plan was to go to Cebu for Sinulog Festival. However, since it’s just a couple of months before January, ticket prices are too high (too lazy to wait for promo fares lol) and so I suggested that why not we try Isla de Gigantes since most people will be in Cebu that dates plus maybe we can have the place to ourselves and so we can just relax plus I thought about the unlimited scallops I’ve always heard from my uncle (since they’ve been there a couple of times). 🙂
Got our ticket from Cebu Pacific for 3,324PHP for the base fare roundtrip. 🙂 Booked the 2:35pm flight to Iloilo since I’m off work by 7:00am and that’s the next earliest flight I saw after the 8:00am flight. I am not even sure if I’ll be able to make it before 8:00am since I’m off work by 7:00am. To be honest, I was really confused on to fix our itinerary. I asked my uncle about their itinerary, but they came from Roxas (If I remember it correctly) and not from Iloilo. So I just did some research, read blogs and voila! Created our itinerary for 3D4N! 🙂
Day 1: January 14, 2017
We had 5 hours to kill since we’re too early for our flight. We roam around the airport, had breakfast at Subway and stayed at Starbucks to play Mobile Legends. Lol
Good thing our flight wasn’t delayed. However, when we arrived Iloilo International Airport.. It was raining. There’s 2 options on how to reach Islas de Gigantes; either via Estancia Port (2 hours boat ride to reach the island) or Carles Port (1.5 hours boat ride to reach the island). On our end, since our contact if on Carles Port, we head that way.
MALIPAYON NGA PAG-BOT SA ILOILO!!!!
- From Iloilo Airport ride a taxi to Tagbak Terminal in Jaro District, it takes 20 to 30 minutes.
- From Tagbak Terminal, look for the bus that has the sign “Carles” in it, it would take 3 to 4 hours travel to reach the City of Carles.
We we’re able to reach the City of Carles by 9:00pm (?). The good thing is, the room that we we’re able to book is just at the side of the road. We were actually the last passengers to alight. When we reached Beverly Hills Pension House, our guide is already waiting for us. We put our bags in our room, then head out to look for something to eat. Most stored are already closed so we ended up eating cup noodles and immediately went to sleep since we have to wake up early the next day since we’ll travel to Isla de Gigantes.
- The room we got at Beverly Hills Pension House was suggested by our contact from Hideaway Inn. Nothing special with the room, but, it’s okay since we only paid for 1 night just for us to have a place to sleep.
- We had to get a room to stay for the night since there’s no boat/s that would take tourists to the island at night.
Day 2: January 15, 2017
We woke up early the next day, had breakfast and went straight to the Tourism Office to make sure that we’ll be able to reserve a seat for the 10:00am commuter pumpboat. We paid for the round trip boat fare and the environmental fee. That’s actually covered by the tour & accommodation we got from Hideaway Inn so it was deducted from our remaining balance from them later on.
Together with our tour guide (Just in Carles); Kuya Jarius we have waited for the Tourism Office to allow us to settle at the boat already. It was about 10:30am that the boat left since it waited for some more passengers. Sometimes, the boat leaves even if there’s few passengers. Just make sure to be there early to be able to reserve a seat. As mentioned, it took an hour and 30 minutes to reach the island.
When we alight the boat, there are several tour guides waiting. However, we don’t know who’s waiting for us since I wasn’t advised by the hotel owner. So what we did instead is rent a habal habal to take us to the resort where we’ll stay and paid 40php for it. We reached the resort at exactly 12:00noon and our tour guide was immediately introduced to us and he then prepared our lunch. After lunch we were given time to rest before we head out to visit the mini sandbar, lighthouse museum and cafe and to what they call “call center area.”
- The only mode of transportation on the island would be via habal habal its already part of the package with the resort.
- You’ll be introduced to your tour guide (Our tour guide was Jed). He’ll be with you the whole duration of your stay.
- Here’s the resort we’re we stayed for the duration of our stay in Isla de Gigantes, they offer cheap packages that already includes meals & tours. The room we got already has its own bathroom.
First stop: Light House Museum & Cafe
- It’ll take a 15 minutes’ habal habal ride and 5 minutes walk in order for you to reach this area. Its a ruin of a Spanish-colonial lighthouse found on the northern shore of the Gigantes Norte Island. It has a breathtaking view of the sea. However, we are not allowed to climb at the top of the lighthouse, it was said that before it was open so tourists were able to climb on top.
Second stop: Mini Sand Bar
- This was actually on the other side of the tourism office where were dropped off earlier that day. It has a mini sand bar and has clear waters which you can really swim for free. Most local visits this place if they would want to swim without having to visit other islands.
- There’s a small cave not far from the mini sandbar wherein it was said that it was guarded by “enkantos”, before people are allowed to go inside but when some people started getting stuff from inside, everything changed. Locals can leave items on it as an offer and pray/wish as an exchanged but that was before. It’s what they used to believe according to our Tour Guide.
Third and Last Stop for the day: Call Center Area
- I did mentioned on my blog title “Remote Island”; because mobile phone signal is next to none and this is the only spot wherein you’ll be able to get intermittent signal. There’s also a sari-sari store wherein you can buy drinks and chips while you enjoy your intermittent mobile phone signal. Lol
After dinner, we called it a day since we have to wake up early the next day for the island hopping.
Day 3: January 16, 2017
Our wake up call was supposed to be 6:00am so we can have breakfast and by 7:00am we can leave for island hopping. The weather that day wasn’t really good, so our call time was moved. We had breakfast by 7:00am and waited for a go signal if we can start with our island hopping. It was raining the duration of our Island Hopping, but it didn’t stop us from exploring the beauty of Isla de Gigantes and thank god we we’re able visit 4 islands and still managed to go back to our resort safe 🙂
First stop: Cabugao Island
- This is the most Instagram-worthy island in Gigantes. This is what would always come to your mind when you heard about Isla de Gigantes. This is also where Maruja’s Flora Island Paradise is located and it’s where we’re supposed to stay. However, the packages they offer are quite too expensive, but once you visited the island, you’ll see the amount they offer is worth it because of its location. Such a beauty!
- We had to climb up to be able to see the beauty of the island while you’re on top.
- There’s an entrance fee to this island, but it’s already included in our package.
Second stop: Bantique Island
- The sandbar was quite nice and spacious. We’re not able to check the rock formation that was mentioned by our tour guide, but we just enjoyed the sandbar and took photos. You will also enjoy the pristine and crystal clear water on this sand bar island.
Third stop: Antonia’s Beach
- Antonia is rewarded by the paradise-like white sand beach and inviting emerald green waters, perfect for swimming. We waited for the rain to stop first since it was raining hard when we arrived. So we just ordered some banana Q.
- It is also a designated lunch area for tourists. Scallops are served here for 1.00PHP/piece with minimum of 100PHP/order and they will cook it for you just inform them on how you would like it done.
- This is also the place if you prefer to stay in tents rather than getting a room.
- We had to stay here for a while since our tour guides’ are monitoring the monitor level since our next stop would be the Tangke Lagoon and they want to make sure that the water inside the lagoon is high enough so we can enjoy swimming.
Last stop: Tangke Lagoon
- Our last stop and it was still raining…
- Many myths surround this interesting natural attraction. One of our tour guide mentioned that there was a mermaid seen years ago inside the lagoon, others said that it was guarded by again “enkantos”, so we’re warned not to make too much noise so they won’t be disturbed.
- We had to make a short climb to get inside the tangke; the water inside was enough for us to swim. I can say it was somewhat similar to the small lagoon of El Nido of course this one, much smaller. 🙂
- You also have an option to do cliff diving outside of the lagoon. However, we didn’t try it since the waves are too strong because it was already raining hard.
We went back to our hotel afterwards and waited for our lunch to be prepared..
The food was actually part of the package we’ve paid for so we just always wait until we’re called for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It consists of unlimited rice, scallops (cooked differently every meal) and 2 more other viands. It was actually worth the money we paid for. Every meal served was mouth-watering. (see photos below)
On our last day, we woke up early and right after breakfast we went to Estancia Port to catch the boat going back to Estancia. It was another 2 hour boat ride before we’re able to reach Estancia Port and we went straight to the van terminal going back to Iloilo City. It was an hour and 30 minutes land travel going back to the city. We had lunch and went straight to Biscocho Haus to buy some pasalubong and just in time for our 6:50pm flight back to Manila 🙂
|Tours + 6 meals + Accomodation + Habal Habal around the island + Tour Guide Fee + Environmental Fees + Passenger Boat roundtrip||3,665php/head|
|Taxi from Iloilo Airport to Bus Terminal||500php all in|
|Accomodation in Carles||350php/head|
|Van going back to Iloilo City||150php/head|
|Banana Q @ Antonia’s||15php/each|
|3 kilos of scallops as pasalubong – this was my own expense since I was asked by my family to take home some scallops. Lol||500php|
Pasalubong from Biscocho Haus
- You can get a much cheaper round-trip airfare than the 3k we got.
- I would suggest you go in groups since there’s no electricity at least you still guys can enjoy if you’re in a big group.
- Electricity only runs at scheduled hours of the day/night. Electricity is turned on late in the afternoon until 11pm and then switched to a power generator, depending on the resort. Make sure to bring power banks and have your phones/camera charged, just in case its what you’re using to take photos.
- The mobile phone signal is next to none and this is the only spot wherein you’ll be able to get an intermittent signal; visit the call center area for mobile phone signal. In my experience, I can say GLOBE works best there. (Boo, Smart! :()
- You can have drinks with the tour guides during the evening just like we did since we’re too bored and got nothing to do. We shouldered the drinks while the tour guide provided palutan (excess food from the kitchen :p)
- Make sure to visit the Bakwitan Cave as part of the itinerary. We’re not able to check it out since the weather is not good that time and it might be dangerous according to our tour guide.
- Book your flights early in the morning so you can go straight ahead to Isla de Gigantes without wasting time (like what we did. It’s just my schedule sucks -_-) Book either flights to Roxas, Kalibo or like what we did Iloilo.
- Do sidetrip to Guimaras Island or Iloilo City Tour if you have time. (In our case as much as I would like to go to Guimaras, we don’t have time because you know why. And I’ve already toured around Iloilo City back in 2010.)
Feel free to leave comments or send me messages for questions. 🙂
For more travel tips or you’re just after some food trip click the link ❤