Islas de Gigantes is a group of islands located at the northeastern tip of Iloilo City. Traveling to the famous group of islands seems difficult especially when you’re coming from Iloilo City. To be honest, we had difficulty going there to the point that we thought we couldn’t go. We were welcomed by the sudden news of rain when we arrived at Iloilo International Airport, but decided to be optimistic, and god, did we pray hard so the weather won’t spoil our trip.
There are two (2) ports going to Islas de Gigantes (Langub Port ) . The first one is Estancia Port, and the second one is Bancal Port in Carles. We opted to make our jump point Bancal Port since it was nearer to Islas de Gigantes compared to the port in Estancia. Arriving there, we heard the news from the tourist information office that the coast guard went out to check the weather situation. In the end, the coast guard advised both travelers and boatmen to cancel our plans for today going to Isla de Gigantes.
This is when our heart got shattered! We contacted the place we were staying about the situation. They informed us to go to Estancia Port instead since there are available public boats which can carry up to 80 passengers. These boats are big enough to travel across the sea and get us to Islas de Gigantes.
Sleep deprived and thirsty for adventure, we immediately hire a tricycle to get us to Estancia Port. At 2:00 in the afternoon, we were in the public boat, and ready to travel once again. But then again, what is it to life without some challenges?
Our travel via boat was extremely challenging. From waves as high as the boat to getting sea sick, our journey has it. I didn’t worry too much about the waves since the boat is big enough to handle the current, but I was starting to feel queasy. I swear getting sea sick is like getting drunk– one more move, and I feel like throwing up! (Spoiler alert: I did!)
We finally arrived at Langub Port in Islas de Gigantes after three (3) fricken hours. We decided to call it a day since it was almost getting dark.
At 3:00 in the morning the next day, we planned to watch the sunrise in Gigantes Lighthouse. The good thing about waking up early is that you have the place all to yourself. The Gigantes Lighthouse is a Spanish rustic ruin. You have to ride a habal-habal or motorcycle to get there.
It was one of the most magical moments in my life. I wonder why most photographers sacrifice sleep just to watch the sunrise, and on that moment I understood. The place was so peaceful at that moment. It felt like the world is a painting.
We went to Bakwitan Cave before we proceeded to go island hopping. The cave is considered as an evacuation area of locals who live nearby during calamity. When Typhoon Yolanda hit Carles, this is where people sought refuge.
Island hopping is perhaps the most sought activity in Islas de Gigantes, and it’s also my favorite. Our first destination was Antonia Beach located at Gigantes Sur. From above the rocks, you can see the picturesque view of the beach.
Our stay in Iloilo wouldn’t be complete without eating the famous one-peso scallops. While swimming in the clear waters of Bantigue Island, you can order cooked scallops in small sari-sari stores with a minimum purchase of PHP 100.
Cabugao Gamay is probably the most charming place in Islas de Gigantes. I’ve seen hundreds of pictures of this place on the internet, but it’s nothing compared to the real thing! Coconut tress line in the middle of the island which is a perfect place to chill. The view above was better– from there you can see the vast blue ocean that surrounds the island.
Another iconic spot is the Tangke Saltwater Lagoon. The surrounding massive limestone rocks like the ones you see in Palawan and the clear water of the lagoon makes it so enchanting. It’s easy to find tranquil inside that we would have stayed there for a longer time if only the place wasn’t so crowded. There’s also a spot outside the lagoon where you can cliff dive.
Visiting Islas de Gignates for two (2) days and one (1) night is achievable, but I suggest you add another day to your stay so you can take it slow and appreciate each islands you’ll visit. Islas de Gignates has been worth all the effort, and I wouldn’t mind coming back again.
HOW TO GET THERE
From Iloilo City, ride a bus or van from Tagbak Terminal going to your chosen port. In Bancal Port, head first to the tourism office to inquire and pay for transportation and other environmental fees. In Estancia Port, look for the spot where you can buy a ticket to Gigantes.
SEA PORTS IN ILOILO
As I’ve said earlier,there are two ports going to Langub Port in Islas de Gignates. Here’s the differences between these two:
Bancal Port is the nearest jump-off point to Gigantes (1-2 hours), but also the farthest when you’re in Iloilo City (3-4 hours). When you’re coming from Roxas, it’s recommended that you use this route as this port is nearer compared to Estancia.Public boats to Gigantes leaves at 10 am.
Estancia Port is near when you’re coming from Iloilo City (2-3 hours), however the boat leaves at 2 pm when you opt to ride a public boat. In case the universe is trying to challenge you the same it did to us, use this route as boats are bigger and have a higher chance of being able to sail to Gigantes.
Langub Port is the main port in Islas de Gigante that caters boat going to and coming from Iloilo mainland. Boats leave at 7:oo am and arrive at Estancia after 10:00 am or later depending on weather condition. Meanwhile, boats that leave at 2:00pm arrive at Bancal Port in Carles at 4:00pm or later depending on weather condition.