Unveiling the Scenic Isla De Gigantes
I always plan my travels months ahead but who wouldn’t want to go to Isla De Gigantes so quickly when you see a photo of Cabugao Gamay island.
I’m pretty sure that’s already enough reason to visit and explore more of the islands of Isla De Gigantes.
Isla De Gigantes is part of Carles town; however, the main jump-off point to get here is Estancia Port which is the primary seaport in Northern Iloilo. Getting here isn’t an easy ride; though you have three origin points that you can opt to; from Kalibo, Roxas City and Iloilo City. Among the three, the most convenient is from Roxas City as it’ll only take you 1 to 2 hours bus ride. Since our flight from Manila was to Iloilo City, we traveled through the latter origin point.
From Tagbak Terminal (which is about 20 minutes taxi ride from SM Iloilo), we rode a van bound to Estancia. Travel time is 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Fare is around PHP 150 per person. You may also take a bus but travel time takes longer.
From Estancia Terminal, we rode a tricycle going to Estancia Port. There we met one of the staff of Joel Decano. Joel is the tourism officer of Carles who I contacted to help us in booking our chartered boat, island hopping and accommodation.
The chartered boat costs PHP 4,500 which includes round trip transfers and island hopping. The boat can fit 10 persons. But if you’ve got a lot of time to spend, there are public boats available which departs from the port at 2:00 PM and leaves Gigantes Sur at 9:00 AM. Fare costs around PHP 150 each.
It was already past 12:00 PM when we left the fishing port. Travel time to get to Isla De Gigantes is 2 hours.
As we sailed the sea to get to our main destination, we passed by a small island named Pulupandan or Gakit-gakit Island. We were asked by our boatmen if we would like to drop by. Of course, we said yes!
The sand isn’t that fine but the totality of how the island looks like was enough for us to get excited about it. The sea was so irresistible. We would like to dip in the water but that isn’t a good timing as we weren’t in our swimming attires yet. Also, we might run out of time. We just roamed the island and took some photographs.
We arrived at Gigantes Norte at around 2:30 PM. This is where Gigantes Hideaway Inn is located, where we’ll be staying for two days. From the drop off point we rode a habal-habal to get to the resort. A habal-habal ride normally costs PHP 10 per person.
We settled our things first; then had our lunch. We then started our island hopping afterwards which was at 4:00 PM.
It was already late when we went off to our island activities but since the islands that we will be visiting are just nearby from each other we were assured that everything will be covered before dark.
Our first stop, Tangke Salt Water Lagoon. With how it looks in the image below, do I have to explain more why it was named as such?
The lagoon somehow resembles those in Palawan. The water is clear and calm, just perfect to float and relax. But what really made me enjoy this area was the cliff jumping. It wasn’t my first time to jump off a cliff; but this one was different. I must say more challenging because the sea current was too strong. What if I can’t board the boat quickly?
With my intense feeling of excitement, all worries were gone and I had just found myself in the edge ready (well, not so ready) to jump.
It may seem too low compare to other cliff jumping sites but I’m telling you it’s a different view up there. It feels like I’m jumping off a cliff as high as 10 story building.
I would still like to do another jump but climbing up was too tiring so I ditched the idea and went straight to the boat and waited for my companions.
As soon as everyone had their tries, we then went to our next destination which is the sought after island of Isla De Gigantes, Cabugao Gamay Island.
This island is the perfect island to entice people to visit Isla De Gigantes. Undoubtedly, this is one of the best example of a picture perfect beach.
One has to climb the rocky hill to get a panoramic view of the island. The view from above is just… sensational. If we only had a lot of time, I could have spent an afternoon here swimming, relaxing and taking photographs.
There’s an entrance fee of PHP 20 per person when visiting Cabugao Gamay island.
After spending half an hour, we finally moved forward and went to our next destination.
Approximately 15 minutes boat ride from Cabugao Gamay lies the Bantigue Island Sandbar.
The sandbar is curved to a snake like or letter S. The sand isn’t that fine but the entirety of the sandbar made it look so admirable. We took a swim for a moment; tried both sides of the sandbar.
It was nearing sunset when we had decided to go to our final stop that day, Antonia Island.
Antonia Island is a perfect stop for lunch, snack or for picnic. Tables and washrooms are available for use. An entrance fee of PHP 20 per person has to be paid when visiting the island.
We were told that corals is rich on this part of Isla De Gigantes but since it’s already getting dark when we visited the island I wasn’t able to go further to explore its undersea.
It was already past 6:00 PM when we finished our island hopping. I feel delighted that despite of our limited time, our group were able to cover the important spots of this island hopping activity. But truth has to be told that this kind of activity most especially how scenic these islands are, spending 3 hours or less is too short. I advise, spend at least half day so to fully feel and further unveil the islands of Isla De Gigantes.
Carles Tourism Officer