If you’re looking for a way to take a break from stress, Iloilo might be the destination for you. Located in the northernmost part of the island is Gigantes Island. With the island’s remote location, there’s no escaping from relaxing since there is no cellular signal plus it’s only inhabited by a small number of population.
How to Reach Gigantes Island
Once you arrive in Iloilo (whether by plane or ship), ride a taxi to Tagbak terminal. Then either ride a van or bus going to Estancia. It’s better to ride a van since they’re faster and don’t stop to pick additional passengers. Then ride a tricycle going to Estancia Port.
You need to be early since there’s only one boat trip going to Isla Gigantes at 1 PM.
Getting a Tour Package
Our tour service provider was Gigantes Hideaway Tour Inn. The resort is owned by Joel Decano, a tourist officer of Carles. You can contact him on the number 09184685006.
He’s very prompt in replying to queries and text messages and you will be contacted by one of their staff on the day of your arrival in Iloilo. Then in Estancia port, you will be assisted by your tour guide who will then accompany you to the resort.
Included in the package are:
- Passenger boat fare (2 way)
- Island hopping
- Visit to lighthouse
- Private boat for island hopping
- 2 Nights accommodation
- 5 Buffet meals (drinks not included)
- Tour guide
Their service is okay and the staff is friendly but I hope they liven up their rooms. I understand that the island has low water supply but the room is really in a shabby condition and the bathroom is untidy. Plus we had to wait and follow-up at night before they prepared our room. The long travel going to the island is so tiring that you’ll want to relax first when you arrive so a nice and tidy room would really help.
Despite the condition of the room, we knew that we were there to enjoy nature so we just chose to be positive and then head on to our first destination.
This solar powered lighthouse is the location of the old Spanish tower. If you want to climb up the lighthouse, the fee is 100 PHP per group. It’s a nice place for viewing the sunset.
Beside it you will find some ruins of the old lighthouse.
If you have a thirst for adventure, a trip to Bakwitan cave will offer you adrenaline pumping activities. Spelunking, climbing and trekking are among the activities you’ll experience there.
The cave was a refuge area to the locals during the war. It’s still being used these days as a shelter from storms. They took shelter here during Typhoon Yolanda.
We started our island hopping on our second day and Antonia Island was our first destination. The island has rock formations that give a relaxing view and that you can climb.
Beside the rocks are coral reefs where you can enjoy snorkeling. Scuba masks and snorkels are offered for rent if you don’t have your own gears.
Bantigue Island Sandbar
This reminded me of the white island sandbar in Camiguin.
When I was still researching about Gigantes Island, this is the island that usually shows up on Google searches so I was really happy to have finally seen it in person.
Tangke Saltwater Lagoon
The rock formations reminded me of El Nido.
There’s an environmental fee of 70PHP when getting here.
Hideaway Resort Inn Extension
Our last stop was at the other branch of Hideaway Resort that’s located in an island. If it’s low tide, the island can be reached through a 30 minute walk on a sand bar.
This was also where we had our lunch for our island hopping. Gigantes Island is abundant in scallops so scallop dishes are always present in every meal.
During the tour, I didn’t really get the wow feeling that I’ve felt when I visited other places like Camiguin, El Nido, or Boracay. However, Gigantes Island is still a pretty nice place to visit especially if you really want to relax in a remote place and take a break from using the internet. I recommend staying longer at Antonia Island Resort and Cabugao Island. It’s also fun chatting and spending some time with the locals.