Islas de Gigantes
If you’re looking for an affordable place to spend your weekend, you may want to check out this mind-blowing island in Carles, Iloilo. 😄 This place is great for any individual or group who wants to take a break for the upcoming holidays.
My Lady and I visited my province and while we’re on it, we decided we’d drop by Panay’s northwest most island—Islas de Gigantes, the “Island of Giants.” It’s named “Gigantes” after the first residents found gigantic bones from one of its caves. Formally, it’s called Gigantes Group of Islands but people commonly call it “Gigantes.”
There are no jeepneys, grabs or buses in the island. On our first day, we took the island hopping tour offered by our host—Peding’s Place, and started exploring the northern island of Gigantes using a motorcycle. The next day, we traveled to the southern islands via boat.
Let me share our trip to you! 😁
Day 1 – Around the Island
Since we rode the 10:00 A.M. trip of the ferry, we were able to reach the islands before lunch time. After eating delicious scallops, fish and rice, we began touring this wonderful place. 😄
1) Bakwitan Cave
First, we went to Bakwitan cave where the said gigantic bones were discovered. The entrance is just few meters away from our room. No need to bring your hiking bag since it’s just a very short hike. I’ll leave it to you to know what’s inside of that dark cave! 😃
2) Spanish House and Lighthouse
After a couple minutes of riding, we arrived at this old Spanish house where you can have coffee while enjoying the view of the Visayan Sea. Going around the house made me wonder what Islas de Gigantes looked like during the Spanish era! I’m guessing it’s peaceful like what it is now.
3) Pasil Sandbar
Our last destination for Day 1 is the beach called Pasil Sandbar. Here, you can sit and chill by the sea shore while watching the sunset. I highly recommend bringing some booze and food! 🍺
Day 2 – Island Hopping
4) Bantigui Island
Bantigui Island is well-known for its sandbar. You’ll love swimming here for sure! This is the only area in the Gigantes group that has a souvenir shop. Though you can also buy items at Bancal Port, it’s cheaper, more memorable, and would help the locals’ economy if you bought souvenirs here!
5) Cabugao Gamay Island
Instagram users would definitely love this island! You just have make few steps to arrive this sweet spot. Moreover, in Cabugao Gamay, you’ll find the only resort—Maruja Flora’s Island Paradise Resort, where you can eat or camp with your loved ones while enjoying the scenery.
6) Tangke Lagoon
This one’s a thrilling area! Our tour guide told us that if it’s high tide, the big rock (at the lower right of the photo) will submerge. It might look shallow on the picture but the water level is already in the knee level.
On the way back to our boat, we notice some slithering movement—a snake! It swam towards the center of the lagoon as we climb through the rocks. The tour guides are shocked as well! Be careful always! 😂
7) Antonia’s Beach
We didn’t stay long on our destinations except this one. It’s just so beautiful! With our packed lunch that is included in the tour package, we had a nice time eating delicious seafoods.
After eating, we swam and felt like the island is ours! It’s cloudy that time which is good because I forgot to wear sunblock. 😂 What are the odds that we are the only tourists at that moment? 🤭
8) Mini Boracay Beach
It really is Mini Boracay! The fine sand reminded me of walking on the shore of Bora. This was our last destination for Day 2. After a long and overwhelming day, we stopped by on this island to rest before going back home. We had the nicest view of the horizon while having a snack of bananacue along with a soda!
To Islas de Gigantes from Manila, Philippines
After arriving at Roxas Airport in Capiz, you need to go to Bancal Port in Carles, Iloilo, then ride a ferry to Islas de Gigantes. There are other ports too, but, we chose this one since it’s the nearest to Roxas Airport. It took us almost three hours from the airport to reach Gigantes Island.
- From Roxas Airport, proceed to Pueblo de Panay’s provincial bus terminal and take the trip bound to Estancia, Iloilo. The fare to Balasan Town, where you need to go, is ₱75.00 per head.
- From Balasan Town, you can ride motorcycles or a tricycle all the way to Bancal Port. I recommend using the motorcycles if you’re comfortable with it since terminals of tricycles have boundaries now. The fare to Bancal port costs ₱150.00 per head.
- In Bancal Port, each one should pay ₱250.00 to ride the ferry to Gigantes Island. Each of you is obliged to pay the environmental fee of ₱75.00 which also serves as your entrance fee at some mentioned destinations.
- To go back to Manila from Islas de Gigantes, you can reverse the steps above. From Gigantes Island, ride the ferry boat to Bancal Port. Then, hire a motorcycle to drive you to Balasan Town where you can find a bus or van that’s going to Roxas City.
Where To Stay
Browsing through Agoda, we booked two nights at Peding’s Place for only ₱1,302.00. Without their place on the island, our romantic getaway weekend trip wouldn’t be perfect. 💑
I’d like to commend the crew—Ate Inday for cooking and Kuya Jonathan for guiding us, for their service, hospitality and sharing their knowledge of the island. Along with their tour package, we’ve had the chance of a lifetime to explore Islas de Gigantes! Thanks for the lovely room, Sir Joseph!
Gigantes group of islands consist of two major lands: North Gigante Island and South Gigante Island. Peding’s Place and several resorts can be located in both islands which also offer the island hopping tour. I’m sure you’ll be able to visit all the tourist spots in a day or two if you availed their package. 😅
Islas de Gigantes Trip Tips 2019
- Check your schedule if it fits the shuttle’s trip. On weekdays, the boat to Gigantes leaves twice a day: one in the morning and later in the afternoon. While on weekends and holidays, it goes back and forth the port thrice a day.
- Ask your host if they serve meals. During our stay, we haven’t seen any restaurants at all. They have sari-sari stores and eateries but it’s not open 24/7. You probably want to buy snacks and drinks at the port before boarding the ferry.
- The island now has electricity—they used to have rotations on its availability before, and water source. However, some parts of Gigantes doesn’t have a strong cellular signal so prepare to undergo a social media detoxification. 😂
- Bring cash since no ATMs are available nor banks.
- If you’re a big group that scheduled to visit the island, it’s wise to rent a private boat at the port since it’s cheaper and it includes a tour too. But if you’re going solo or with a partner, riding the shuttle and availing your resort’s package tour is recommended.
- Wish that the weather is great on your selected dates. If it’s raining heavily, you wouldn’t be able to hop around the islands since the waves will be too strong. Like any other beaches, it’s best to visit Gigantes during summer season.
- If you’ll bring a car, it would be parked at bancal port since the roads of the island is under construction. The only vehicle available at the island is a motorcycle.
- You have the choice not to avail any package tours. If you intend to traverse Gigantes without a tour guide, it would be more expensive since you’ll still be renting different boats and motorcycles to go around the islands.
- We haven’t wandered on the other side of the southern island. Our tour guide says there’s a town and lots of resorts too like in the northern island. If you had the chance to go there, let me know! 🙂