Dreaming of an island escape from Manila, Philippines over the weekend? Here’s a paradise that was long hidden by the giants, Islas de Gigantes (also The Gigantes Islands).
This group of islands in the Philippines is off the coast of the municipality of Carles. It is part of Iloilo Province and is the northernmost municipality of the province. It is located in the larger Western Visayas archipelago in the Visayan Sea. This island chain is undoubtedly a true gem of Iloilo Province and boasts white sand beaches, limestone cliffs and turquoise-colored waters.
Let me give you a travel itinerary to explore Islas de Gigantes, Philippines (or the islands of giants) over the weekend:
Islas De Gigantes Itinerary (Day One)
After arriving at Roxas City, which is the nearest airport to Islas de Gigantes, plan to take the 2:00 PM schedule for the commuter pump boat from Carles (Bancal port) to Gigantes Norte (Langub port) so you can do some sightseeing first in Roxas City.
The boat ride from Carles (Bancal port) to Gigantes Norte is shorter (18 km to Gigantes). Thus, safer than taking the boat from the more famous jump-off point in Estancia (27 km to Gigantes). And if you choose to start from Carles, the environmental fee is only 75 pesos compared to 150 pesos if you get it from Estancia (price as of June 2017). In addition, you will not be given access to Tangke Lagoon as the pass is exclusive only from Carles.
Daily pump boat schedule varies on the season:
- Carles (Bancal port) to Gigantes Norte (Langub port)
Peak season (February to mid-June): 8:00 AM / 10:00 AM / 2:00 PM
Off-peak season (mid-June to January): 9:00 AM / 2:00 PM
- Gigantes Norte (Langub port) to Carles (Bancal port)
Peak season (February to mid-June): 10:00 AM / 2:00 PM / 4:00 PM
Off-peak season (mid-June to January): 11:00 AM / 4:00 PM
For Islas de Gigantes accommodations, there are a few bed and breakfasts and resorts around. But I recommend staying at Gigantes Hideaway Resort and availing their tour package to save money. The price depends on the number of days that you are staying at the resort. They will assign your group a tour guide who will take care of everything. Also, you may request a room on their extension island to have a beachfront accommodation.
For bookings, e-mail at email@example.com.
1) Visit Immaculate Concepcion Metropolitan Cathedral
Roxas City’s Immaculate Conception Metropolitan Cathedral was founded in 1707. It is considered one of the oldest churches in the island of Panay.
2) Take photos at I Love Roxas Sign
Located across the Immaculate Concepcion Metropolitan Cathedral, you can take a snap at this sign. 250 meters walk farther along Rizal street, you will find the famous Spanggo Café & Pasalubong Center.
This Spanish-Ilonggo restaurant serves all-day breakfast made from their homegrown recipe: Longaniza, Chorizo, Spicy Butifarra (Catalan sausage), Spanish sausage, etc. It’s a home of the best buko pie in Capiz so a must try. It is open from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM daily.
3) Visit the Old Lighthouse
The old lighthouse was built around 1895. However, it was destructed by typhoon Frank in 2008. This solar-powered lighthouse built today was donated by Japan to replace the one built by the Spanish government.
Islas De Gigantes Itinerary (Day Two)
4) Go spelunking in Bakwitan Cave
“Bakwitan” means a place to evacuate in Ilonggo dialect. This cave is said to be a refuge area to many locals during the World War II thus, the name. Local legend describes coffins found inside this cave that contained gigantic sets of human bones, which constituted the name Islas de Gigantes.
We opted to do an early morning spelunking for only 1.5 hrs so we have more time for island-hopping. There’s another way that leads to the other side’s exit but it will take you 4 hrs to explore this.
5) Walk barefoot on Bantigue Sandbar
Bantigue Island is known for its long, snaking and white sandbar. Certainly, this is my favorite place for swimming as the water is so clear.
6) Take a selfie at Cabugao Gamay Island
Islas de Gigantes trip would not be complete without going here. This is the most photographed spot of Islas de Gigantes. It is called a “selfie island” so make sure to have one after a 3-minute easy climb to the view deck.
7) Jump off a cliff at Tangke Lagoon
Tangke is a saltwater lagoon surrounded by limestone cliffs located within Gigantes Sur. When visiting the lagoon, make sure it is a high tide because the water in the lagoon recedes during low tide. At the side of the lagoon, you have the option to jump off the cliff.
8) Take a dip at Mini Boracay
This Mini Boracay is located just at the side of the Antonia Island. Indeed, it has the finest sands in the entire Islas de Gigantes.
9) Climb the rock formations at Antonia Island
Antonia Island is a white sand beach where you could put your snorkel on. It is known for having the “loaf bread” stone structure. For more adventure, you can climb the rock formations for a better view of the island. Also, it’s another good spot to take photos. It will take you less than 10 minutes to reach the top.
10) Stay at Roxas President’s Inn
After island hopping, you could head back to Roxas City to catch the early flight the following day. For Roxas City accommodations, there’s a couple of hotels to choose from but I recommend Roxas President’s Inn. This quaint hotel is right in the city center with clean rooms and accommodating staffs and good Tripadvisor reviews.
For bookings, visit the website of Roxas President’s Inn.
Islas De Gigantes Itinerary (Day Three)
Immediately after the early complimentary breakfast, you can request for an airport drop-off to catch your flight back to Manila. You can choose to travel from these scheduled flights:
- via Philippine Airlines – ETD Roxas City at 7:10 AM and ETA Manila at 8:10 AM
- via Cebu Pacific Air – ETD Roxas City at 9:00 AM and ETA Manila at 10:15 AM
Next Suggested Article –> 9 Reasons To Tell Your Friends Not To Miss Tomorrowland 2018!