Saturday, January 28, 2017

Island Hopping in Gigantes Island, IloIlo Philippines

I was able to visit another tourist spot which is a very famous perfect postcard shot you usually see online, located in the northern part of Iloilo Philippines, The Gigantes Island.

Gigantes Island (or Isla de Gigantes) is a group of islands composed of - ‘Norte’ and ‘Sur’, the two major island groups. In ‘Norte’, it has mostly the resorts and it is much more developed. While in ‘Sur’, it is where you will experience pristine beaches and more awesome places or views.

Isla de Gigantes used to be called Sabuluag or Salauag and later on changed  to Gigantes where the locals described the set of human bones inside the coffins found in Bakwitan cave as gigantic.

at Estancia Port

How to get there?

By plane, you can take a flight going to Iloilo city or Roxas City. From Iloilo City airport, take a ride going to Estancia Port (which is the jump off point to Gigantes Island). As for us, we hired a private van we met at the airport. (there are lots of private van you can find once you arrive at the airport). Iloilo City airport to Estancia Port would normally cost Php2,500 (good for 10pax; depending on your agreement). Travel time is around 3 hours. Then from Estancia port, you can ride public boats or rent private one to take you to Gigantes Island. Travel time is around 2 hours.

But then the recommended way to Gigantes is by Roxas City which is nearer and would take you about 1-2 hours only.

We were 9 in the group so we availed a tour package before our visit which includes a 2 way boat transfer from Estancia port to Gigantes Island, 1 day island hopping, and Inland tours at a cost of Php7500 (good for 15 pax and below).

(I will post a separate blog for the Inland tours)...

Our island hopping includes Gigantes North, Cabugao Island, Bantigue Sand Bar, Antonia Beach, and Tangke Lagoon (but this place was restricted to visitors at that time due to rehabilitation).

Gigantes North

This is the island which is the most developed in Gigantes. It has most of the resorts that offers accommodation for all the travellers. Rosewood Place Resort is located here where we actually stayed in. (Click here Rosewood Place Resort blog to check out the place). You can do an inland tour here that includes lighthouse and Bakwitan cave.

Beautiful white beaches/sandbar are also present in the area that you’ll also enjoy just like this little sandbar near the resort.

Also note that the main transportation here is only ‘habal-habal’ (motorbike) that would cost you Php20 per head. And you need to pay Php150 for the environmental fee.

Cabugao Island

Locals call it also as Cabugao Gamay, ‘Gamay’ which means small.

The island is small but composed of two white sand beaches divided by lining coconut trees. With rocky hills at both ends. In here you can climb up it’s viewing deck to see the whole island and experience the best view on top. And this is the place where you’ll find the most photographed and posted in social media.

Group shot at the deck. (photo from Geejay Gelogo of Geejay Travel Log)

This island is such a beauty. Experience white sand, clear water which is really perfect for swimming, beautiful rock formations, and it is a very serene place that makes it best to unwind and relax.

rock formation

Note again that there is a Php50 entrance fee upon entering the island.

White sand beach. Lovely!

Bantigue Sandbar

Bantigue Island is a long stretch of white sand in the middle of the ocean. The sandbar is shaped like a letter C. This can only be entered during low tide.

The whole stretch of beaches around the sandbar is so clean which is perfect for swimming.

friends having fun in the water

The rain was pouring from time to time when we arrived on the island so we headed first on a little nipa hut on the side where we stayed a little longer and ate our lunch which was prepared by our tour guides (we ordered meals on the resort we stayed in prior the island hopping).

Rain didn’t stop us to play around the beach and to take pictures. We really enjoyed beach walking and swimming here even if it was raining.

Antonia Beach

This was our last stop for island hopping. This is a beautiful beach too with interesting gigantic rock formations.

      the beach

beautiful rock formations

A perfect place too to relax. There are benches around the area where we stayed a little while and had fun chatting, sound tripping, eating, and drinking.

  just chillin' here

The place is also open for setting up or renting a tent in case you want to stay overnight. There’s also a store, and you can do fun activities like banana boat, jet ski, snorkeling, etc.

Note that there is a Php40 fee when you enter the beach.

our group pic (photo from Geejay Gelogo of Geejay Travel Log)

Overall, I must say that Gigantes Island is another great sight that you should add to your bucket list. The whole island hopping tour was just relaxed. You’ll definitely enjoy beautiful amazing view around the islands and beaches.

Gigantes Island (Isla de Gigantes)
Carles, Iloilo, Philippines


Day 00

04:30 PM ETA IloIlo International Airport
05:00 - 06:00 PM Check In at Hotel (Fleur De Liz Inn)
06:00 - 10:00 PM Go to City Proper (Dinner)
12:00 AM - Lights Off

Day 01

03:00 AM Early Call Time
04:00 AM ETD Fleur De Liz Inn
07:00 AM ETA Estancia Port
07:00 - 09:00 AM Boat ride to Gigantes Island
09:00 - 05:00 PM Gigantes Island Tour Package 
05:00 PM Onwards Free Time @ Rosewood Place Resort --> Click here Rosewood Place Resort blog

Day 02

06:00 - 10:00 AM Lighthouse/Caving in Gigantes Island
10:00 - 12:00 PM Boat ride to Estancia Port
12:00 - 01:00 PM Lunch at Estancia Port
04:00 - 05:00 PM ETA IloIo City/Check Inn Hotel
05:00 - 06:00 PM La Paz Market (Netong's Batchoy/Madge Cafe) --> Click here Netong's Original La Paz Batchoy blog
06:00 PM Onwards Dinner/Night Life at Smallville, IloIlo 

Day 03
06:00 - 07:00 AM Early Call time
07:00 - 08:00 AM Breakfast
08:00 - 01:00 PM City Tour/Buy Pasalubong
      a.)  Jaro Cathedral @ Jaro Plaza and pass by Nelly’s Garden and Lizares Mansion
      b.)  Museo Iloilo 
      c.)   Molo Church 
      d.)   Calle Real
01:00 - 03:00 PM Back to IloIlo Airport/Lunch
05:00 PM Flight back to Manila


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