At this time of uncertainly, it will be best to check updates from local government and see if it’s already safe to travel around Gigantes Island.
It’s summer! Normally, some of us would scream due to uncontained excitement for their new escapades, and yes, I am one of those people. It is my dream to visit different wanders in the Philippines, fortunately, I had the opportunity to turn this dream into reality.
While looking at various tourist spots in the Philippines, my eyes were caught by the beautiful places of Iloilo, I was dumbfounded when I saw the jaw-dropping look of Gigantes Island but still, I managed to prepare. After a long trip from Manila, I was greeted with a tropical atmosphere and marvelous seascape in front of me. I am in Gigantes Island, one of my dream locations to rewind. They revealed that the island offers a budget-friendly trip that was definitely worth our stay.
Subtle white sand, crystal clear water, fascinating corals, and sea creatures. Azure sky with birds flying, piles of rocks, caves, luxuriant palm trees. Isn’t it refreshing and relaxing? I guess you’re already wanting to jump onto a beach and unwind during this summer. I think you’re already bored and exhausted due to the high temperature everywhere around that almost burned your skin and even your patience.
We’ve been waiting a couple of months just for the summer season, to experience these feels. Have you already planned your summer getaway for this year? If not, then I’ll be giving you the answer to your problem because through this blog, you can easily organize your vacation this summer. Come and join me, let us travel and discover the wonders of the Gigantes Islands in Iloilo.
From its name Gigantes which means giant, it is an undeniably large collection of islands. The Gigantes Group of Islands also known as Islas de Gigantes or Islands of Giants is located in the northernmost area of Iloilo province particularly at Carles, Iloilo. This group of islands covers around 44,249 hectares, and consists of two main islands called Gigante Norte and Gigante Sur. Under Gigante Norte, there are little islets called Bulubadiang, Gigantillo, and Gigantuna while under Gigante Sur, islets such as Antonia, Bantigui, Cabugao, and Tanguingui are located.
Knowing that the Gigantes Islands are located in the Visayan Sea, it is one of the most productive fishing grounds in the Philippines. A huge number of local seafoods are can be found here. Moreover, it has limestone forests, caves and white-sand beaches which are suitable for people who want to unwind and relax.
Aside from the beach itself, your eyes will get captivated by luxurious trees and alluring sky scenery. With these features, we can’t deny the fact that the Gigantes Group of Islands is one of the Iloilo’s best tourist spots.
From the remote vicinity of the northeastern portion of Iloilo, the Philippines, Gigantes Islands, or island de Gigantes connoted as the Island of Giants, laid at the coast of Carles and Estancia, my eyes feast at this paradise with a mouth-gapping view of the beautiful white sand beaches and outstanding rock formations I always dreamed of seeing.
Within the two large islands of Gigantes Norte and Gigantes Sur and its islets; Antonia Beach, Cabugao Gamay, Pulupandan, and Bantigue Sandbar, there are various activities to do while indulging with the 360-degree view of the teal and turquoise sea.
Once you arrived at the islands, don’t miss out on their white-sand beaches. First stop, we have Antonia Island which is the closest island from Gigantes Norte. This island is a well-known place for snorkeling because of its elegant underwater view. Next stop, we have the sandbar named Bantigue Island. This sandbar will astonish you with its sparkling background of clear water and green mountains which suits a photoshoot.
Another promising place in the Gigantes Islands is the Cabugao Gamay beach. This beach offers an indescribable summer vibe for travelers. You can also see the mass of rocks and swaying palm trees. Our next stop is a small sandbar called Lango Beach that will astound you with its bristly sands. Lastly, if you want a Boracay feels, then don’t miss trying Tinagong Dagat. With its white and chalky sand, this spot is tagged as “mini Boracay”. These five spots are just a part of the whole group of islands. You might also see other spots as you go around the Gigantes Islands.
Accommodation in Gigantes Island, Iloilo
Furthermore, there are numerous resort selections that you can check-in during your stay on the island. In Carles, Iloilo, resorts such as Se San Beach, Jesa Beach, Mini Boracay Beach, Arjan Beach, Helema Island, Rosewood Place, Langub Beach, Buaya Beach, Antonia’s Beach, Shangrila Beach, Pandan Island, Punta Carles Beach, The Beach House, Palm Garden Carles, Red Mandarin Beach, and Sol de Maria Carles B&B are available for tourists and travelers. In nearby places, you can also check-in to MJ Beach, Dos Jihas Beach, and Clarenz Beach at Iloilo City.
If staying at resorts in Gigantes Islands did not satisfy you and you want a more adventurous experience, you can also try visiting several tourist spots on the island. Activities such as island hopping, sightseeing of caves, and old lighthouse in Gigantes Norte and mountain rocks climbing to see a 360-degree view of the whole Gigantes Islands might be the solution to your unending travel desires.
How Much Will It Cost You to Enjoy Gigantes Islands
Here are the costs or the entrance fee for the activities to enjoy,
- A whole-day island trip around Gigantes with the chartering pump boat costs (including a guide) P1,500 to P2,000 suitable for 10 people. Note that guides have a P500 additional fee if the package was not taken.
Cabugao Gamay Island and Antonia Beach
- Entrance fee costs for only P20 per head.
Bakwitan Cave Tour
- The guided cave costs P500 while the roundtrip motorcycle taxi transfer costs P200.
Gigantes Norte Lighthouse
- A roundtrip motorcycle taxi transfer costs P60 per person.
After these ventures, I bet you are already tired and hungry. Satisfy your cravings and feast on their scrumptious seafood dishes fresh from the sea. With a cheap price, you can enjoy their mouthwatering and praiseworthy kinds of seafood. You can visit Angga Restaurant located at Solina Beach and Nature Resort in Carles which offers a large selection of seafood and Ilonggo dishes. While at Antonia Beach, you can savor their scallops that cost only 1 peso each. Super cheap!
And if you are not yet full, try the Scallops Aglio Olio Pasta with Chili Flakes and Parmesan Cheese at Gigantes Cafe located at Carles Port. These are all locally made dishes but are comparable to those served in international restaurants.
Other things-to-do in Gigantes Island, Iloilo
Enjoy with the White Beaches
- Have fun swimming on the crystal clear waters or maybe take a walk or lay on the smooth sands and under the sun to achieve your dream perfect tan. More enjoyable water activities can be offered such as a banana boat, jet skiing, parasailing, and many other water sports to fully satisfy your beach experiences.
Take good photographs and selfies
- Would you let pass such an exquisite view? Worry no more because you can full your memory space with pictures of you or even with your friends and family because Isla Gigantes would not fail you with its beautiful picturesque.
Go, Island Hopping
- Your tour would not be exciting if you will miss the magnificent islands and islets Gigantes has to offer. You can spend half of your day to marvel at the main sites such as the Pawikan Cave, Tangke, Antonia Beach and Cabugao Gamay Island.
Swim at a Lagoon
- If you have never tried visiting a lagoon, your Gigantes tour would not fail you! Relax with the enchanting atmosphere of the saltwater lagoon that was surrounded by magnificent rock formations.
Have fun Beach Camping and Picnics
- Not in the mood to swim with the waters? You can have fun camping and picnics together with your family, friends, and colleagues. Also, it would be really fun to have a team-building activity at this location to rewind that you would definitely not be sated.
Do Rock Scrambling
- Planning for some adventure? In Gigantes Sur, you can climb the cliff called “Boulevard” by the locals by taking the steep and rocky trail that leads on the top of the limestone cliffs and take a 360-degree eye-dropping view of Gigantes group of islands including the Visayan sea.
Tour at Old Lighthouse Ruins
- Visit lighthouse ruins from the Spanish-colonial era that was located at the shores of North Gigantes Island. The top of the lighthouse has a stand beside it that offers a grand and breathtaking landscape of the Gigantes sea.
Explore Wondrous Caves
- Gigantes Islands was said to be the home of multiple caves hidden behind the towering rock formations. According to myths, the island’s name originated from the over-sized coffins that have recovered gigantic human bones. Most caves like Pawikan Cave can be easily explored from the spacious caverns that have large entrance chamber lit with natural openings from the cave ceiling and reflections.
Take a walk at Sandbars
- The island has the clearest waters and also offers a long sandbar that surfaces during low tide perfect for the summer pictures you are dreaming of and definitely fit for swimming.
Indulge in Fresh Seafood
- Eat to your heart’s content responsibly because the aquatic delights they offer such as Wasay-wasay shell, fish, shrimp, and crabs are way cheaper than those in the cities of Iloilo and Roxas.
Travel around Northern Iloilo
- Aside from the island and beaches Gigantes offer, Northern Iloilo has more island groups awaiting if you want to go even further like the islands of Pan de Azucar, Agho, and Bulubadiangan Island that also has sandbar.
Moreover, if you are worried about the expenses, here are some typical expenses that will suit your budget perfectly for a worthy stay.
For accommodation, a fan cottage per person costs P200 per night while air-conditioned ones that are suitable for two to four people cost starts at P1,500.
Transportation in Iloilo
When it comes to transportation, bus rides from Iloilo City to Estancia costs P170 to P180 per head while van ride only costs P150. From the Estancia Bus Terminal, the tricycle ride per person costs P10 only on the way to Estancia Port. Then, the fare for the pump boat from Estancia to Gigantes Norte costs P80 per person however, the boat rental costs P5,000 if you plan for a chartered roundtrip to Gigantes along with a whole island hopping tour. Also, if you plan to roam around Gigantes Norte and Sur, a motorcycle taxi is available for one person in one way just for P10.
Just like traveling to tourist spots outside the country, you might also want to discover new destinations inside the Philippines. Aside from it requires you less budget and expenses, the culture is way closer to your heart compared to spots abroad. In traveling from Iloilo City, it takes 3-5 hours just to arrive and see the white beauty of the Gigantes Islands. However, even this group of islands is located in Iloilo province, it is way nearer to the City of Roxas. From Roxas City, it takes only about 2-3 hours of traveling to reach these islands.
Meanwhile, there are three major airports near the islands. We have Roxas Airport, Caticlan Airport, and Iloilo International Airport. From these landing fields, we can easily access via land transport the two ports in Gigantes Islands which is the Bancal Port in Carles and Estancia Feeder Port in Estancia. If you’ll ask me what I prefer, I suggest using the Bancal Port which is more hassle-free compared to the other port. Besides, it takes smaller travel time and requires a cheaper environmental fee.
I was really fortunate to experience such a paradise, that I dreamed of wanting to stay there for good. I swear to myself to earn more and bring my family this time. I can even recommend this place to get along with my friends and colleagues because it is definitely worth the budget. You would never be disappointed to spend your money and bring your relaxation to another level. So what are you waiting for? Come to Isla de Gigantes and tell us your overwhelming experience.