Isla de Gigantes
On our 7th anniversary (2016), JP and I wanted to take quick getaway from the stress, problems, and grind of city life. At the last minute, we booked a trip to Isla de Gigantes, a magnificent group of islands located in the northwest region of Iloilo. These islands are secluded and hard to visit, so locals recommend that tourists set aside 2-3 days exploring the islands. Unfortunately for us, we have work and need to be back in Iloilo the very next day.
How To Get There
Passenger and chartered boats are available from the towns of Carles and Estancia, the main jump-off points to visit Gigantes. The total travel time (land and sea) will take 6-7 hours from Iloilo City.
You need to charter a boat to travel between islands in Gigantes and would cost at around PHP 1,500 to 2,000 for the whole day. This rate, if I'm not mistaken, is the whole package (food, island tour, entrance fees, etc.).
Tourists visiting the island can camp under the stars or rent a cottage (fan or aircon) in one of the islands. However, food, water, and other necessities in Gigantes are limited. So make sure you have enough supplies throughout your trip.
Another alternative option is to stay at one of the beach resorts located in Carles or Estancia. JP and I checked-in at Pa-on Beach Club in Estancia.
Since we're pressed for time and burning under the scorching sun, I made a decision to savor every moment that we were there instead of taking photos. I regret my decision, I should've taken more photos. Of all the Philippine beaches and islands that I have seen, Isla de Gigantes is one of the most beautiful places I have seen. With its pristine seascapes and unspoiled islands, Isla de Gigantes is paradise.
Cabugao Gamay is the icon of the Gigantes Islands; it's the most photographed island among the islands. Aside from the hill that's covered with thick vegetation, pristine white beach, and perfectly aligned palm trees, I was mesmerized by how the ocean behaved around the island. The waters on the right side of the island, where the boats are docked, was calm and tranquil. While the waters on the other side of the island were the exact opposite!
Our last stop was the Tangke Saltwater Lagoon, a hidden spot surrounded by beautiful limestones. It may not look like it in the photos, but the water in this enchanting place is impeccably clear. According to the locals, the best time to go is during high tide, where the water is said to be bluer and deeper.
Tourists are required to do a little bit of trekking along the unforgiving limestones to get a glimpse of this lagoon, so a protective footwear is a must.
Our visit to Isla de Gigantes is one of those inconvenient and expensive trips that we do not regret. Isla de Gigantes is a paradise and we're glad to have seen it.