The Enchanting Islas de Gigantes

The scallops capital of the Philippines, a hidden paradise comprising of a remote group of islands located in the town of Carles, Iloilo. Also known as Islas de Gigantes, is one of the must see places here in the Philippines. A four to five hours travel from Iloilo can never be compared to the beauty that this island could offer. 

The original name of the island was Sabuluag or Salauag but was later on changed to Islas de Gigantes as it was believed that coffins found in Bakwitan cave contained gigantic human bones. It is composed of about 10 islands but the two largest and commonly known are Gigantes Norte and Gigantes Sur.

Those who are planning to have a trip here have different options but the main jump off point is at Estancia port which is

  • 4-5 hours away from  Iloilo (our route)
  • 2-3 hours away from Roxas
We opted to take the ordinary bus from Tagbak Terminal which we thought is much cheaper than the van but we were wrong as we discovered when we talked to one of the travelers we met in Estancia port that her fare was 150 pesos (2 pesos cheaper that the ordinary bus) and take note, it only took them 2 hours from Tagbak terminal. So yup, van is the better option for cheaper and faster way going to Estancia port. Our boat left the port at 2:00 pm, we arrived at Brgy. Asluman at 04:15 pm. 

Scallops shells will greet you upon arrival at Brgy. Asluman 
I think they're one family making a living out of scallops.
 Gigantes Hideaway Resort

Most of the resorts in Islas de Gigantes offers an all-in package already, ours was 2350 php each for 3 pax which includes:
  • Round trip Passenger boat ride
  • 3 Days 2 Nights full board all in expenses including 5 meals (family-service seafood buffet meals/ unlimited rice)
  • Private Boat for Island hopping plus tour guide
  • Island tour in 5-6 Islands 
  • Island entrance fees
  • Habal-habal fare for 3 days activity.

We were offered a welcome coffee drink before we proceeded to our first tour which was the Old Lighthouse Ruins.

The old lighthouse ruins was built during the Spanish-colonial era which can be found at the northern shore of Islas de Gigantes Norte.

We headed back at Gigantes Hideaway resort at around 06:30 pm to relax and prepare for the next day caving and Island tour.

Relaxing at one of their hammocks. 

Sumptuous dinner. :) 

We started our tour by exploring one of their wonderful caves (and the easiest one as they say) which was the Bakwitan cave. It was named so as it was believed that it has been an evacuation area to many locals during the war. The name of Islas de Gigantes was also changed because of the gigantic set of human bones found in here. 

The entrance of the cave.
 Inside the cave.
The cave exit. 

 Our tour guide said that not all of the guests can manage to exit the cave as there are some obstacles that needed to pass through. If you wouldn't want to crawl or do some challenging adventure inside, then tell ahead your guide to go back to the entrance. As for our group, we decided to exit and were able to finish the caving in one and a half hours! We then returned to the resort to prepare for Island hopping. 

We started our Island tour at 10:00 am. 
 Our first stop was Bantigue Island. 

After taking some rest, we then proceeded to Antonia beach

 At Antonia beach

Our third stop was the famous Cabugao gamay! 

picturesque view in Cabugao Gamay!

our tour will never be completed without the spectacular view in Tangke Saltwater Lagoon! 

If you're an adrenaline junkie, then you better not miss the cliff jumping in tangke! :)

 We ended the day with some relaxation at the extension resort of Gigantes Hideaway!

try their hammock installed near the shore. Just be careful not to fall in the sea. :)

With our tour guide, kuya ronron. He's one of the best tour guides I ever met! He took good care of us during our stay. What's really good to know about him is that he's a marine engineer graduate! He was just taking some time to relax before he applied for a job in Manila (but if you'll ask him, he really loves to serve in Islas de Gigantes). He's been staying with Gigantes Hideaway for 5 years! I can say that he's a very passionate and humble person. You can request from sir Joel if you would like him to be your tour guide, he would provide you very rich information about the place you're visiting! (Here's his contact number: 09103046961)

So that's the end of our island hopping! If you would still have time then try to visit the beautiful Iloilo City (like what we did)! 

Old churches in Iloilo
Don't forget to buy pasalubong! :)

 strolling around the City
Iloilo was chosen as one of the venues for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings.
Old house in Jaro, Iloilo (looks creepy)

Beside the old house is a heritage restaurant named "WAWA". This is a must visit in Iloilo as it doesn't just cater delicious food, but it also provides the guests some readings about the rich history of Iloilo City. 

That's how we end our 4 days trip in Iloilo! It was fun, exciting and very informative! I would definitely go back for more!

04:20 am ETD NAIA 3
05:25 am ETA Iloilo Airport
05:48 am ETD ilo ilo airport via taxi going to tagbak terminal 
06:25 am ETA at Tagbak Terminal 
06:30 am ETD to tagbak going to estancia transport terminal
09:53 am ETA to Estancia Transport terminal via Ceres Bus 
10:00 am ETA Estancia PORT Terminal via tricycle
(Waited for passenger boat, one local approached us if we want a private tour for 5k each all in, we declined as it was too expensive)
10:51 finished lunch
02:00 pm ETD Estancia to Brgy Asluman via Boat (80 php included in 2345 tour package)
04:15 pm ETA Brgy Asluman gigantes norte
04:40 pm ETA Resort via Habal-Habal (10 pesos/head included in 2345 tour package)
05:00 pm Check-in (200 pesos/head/night but already included in the 2345 tour package)
05:30 pm visit Lighthouse (via Habal-Habal 30 php/head/way included in 2345 tour package)
06:30 pm Back at Hideaway Resort
07:00 pm Dinner Time

06:00 am Wake Up Call
07:00 am Breakfast Time
07:30 am Preparation for Island Hopping
07:45 am Take Habal Habal to Bakwitan cave
08:00 am Explore Bakwitan cave
09:45 am Completed rock climbing 
09:50 am Take Habal-habal going back to Hideaway resort, prepare for Island Hopping
09:55 am Take Habal-habal to boat for Island hopping
10:00 am Start of Island Hopping (2500 pesos/boat good for 4 with 2 guides, ours was included in the 2345 all in package)
(Bantigue Island, Antonia beach, Cabugao Island,Tangke Saltwater Lagoon or Hidden Lagoon)
10:20 am Bantigue island
11:20 am ETA Antonia beach
12:20 pm ETD Antonia beach
12:30 pm ETA Cabugao Gamay Island
01:09 pm ETD Cabugao Gamay Island
01:20 pm ETA Tangke Saltwater Lagoon
02:10 pm ETD Tangke Saltwater Lagoon
02:49 pm ETA HideawayExtension Resort
04:30 pm Back at Brgy Asluman
04:45 pm ETA Hideaway Tourist Resort
07:00 pm Dinner Time
11:00 pm Lights Off

06:45 am Breakfast
07:00 am Prep for Check-out (Total Bill: 400 pesos) 2345
08:00 am Check-out Time
08:29 am Boat to Estancia (80 pesos/head)
10:30 am Back at Estancia Port
11:30 am Van to Iloilo (150 pesos/head)
01:30 pm ETA Tagbak Central Terminal
02:30 pm ETA Jaro Iloilo
03:00-09:00 pm explore Iloilo
10:00 pm Lights Off

Day 4
04:00 am Prepare for flight departure
06:05 am ETD Iloilo Terminal
07:25 am ETA NAIA 3

106 php - taxi going to NAIA
232 php - taxi from Iloilo to Tagbak Terminal
152 php/head- bus going to Estancia Transport terminal 
10 php -tricycle from Estancia Transport terminal to Estancia port
35 php- lunch at Estancia port
105 php-bought mineral water to bring in Gigantes
2350 php- ALL in package for 3 days 2 nights stay in gigantes island by Hideaway Resort
2990 php total expenses excluding airfare

  • Make sure that you'll be in Estancia Port hours before 2:00 pm or else you’ll wait for the next trip the next day.
  • From Brgy. Asluman, the boat leaves at 8:30 am so make sure that you'll arrive there ahead of time.
  • Bring Mosquito repellent
  • Bring flashlight for Bakwitan cave
  • Electricity is available from 3:00 pm to 11:00 pm then generator will took over from 11:00 am to 6:00 am so expect that there will be no electricity from 06:01 am- 02:59 pm
  • there's NO signal in Gigantes norte but you can ask the local to bring you in their call center if you need to contact the outside world. 
Contact details: 09184685006 (Joel Decano)

1 comment:

  1. wow.great info. napa #gigols ako dun sa creepy house. ayos yun wawa,not crowded. sa left side pala nun jaro cathedral meron door paakyat where the choir sings, sa ceiling nun mga paintings, ang gaganda.