A trip to Western Visayas isn’t complete without visiting the Gigantes group of islands (literally the Giant Group of Islands). The islands consist of about ten islands, it is divided into two main islands namely, Gigantes Norte and Gigantes Sur.
The day tour we availed includes a visit to the amazing islets in Gigantes Sur – Pulupandan island, Cabugao Gamay, Lantangan Beach, Antonia Beach, Bantigue Sandbar, and Tangke (Enchanted Lagoon).
How to get there:
From Manila, the islands are accessible with 2 possible airports of entry – Roxas and Iloilo City. We flew into Iloilo which is 4 hours away from the islands. From Iloilo, we took a van bound for Carles, we asked the driver to drop us off at Bancal Port. At the port, there are boats that will take you to Gigantes islands, travel time is 1.5 hours.
Note: If you hope to visit Gigantes Islands right away, I would highly recommend that you take Roxas Airport in Capiz, which is 2 hours away from Estancia or Carles. Bancal Port in the town of Carles is an easier way to go to the islands compared to Estancia.
Places to visit:
Pulupandan island is a small island with nice rock formations surrounded by turquoise waters. Usually, it’s the first place to visit when doing an island hopping tour.
Cabugao Gamay is arguably the signature spot of Islas de Gigantes and the most photographed place. You need to climb to the top of the man-made stairs to take a perfect photo of it.
You can swim in the beautiful clear waters and enjoy the lovely white sandy beach here.
Antonia Beach has a character of its own, its sands are finer and whiter compared to the beaches in the islands. It has become more known as a picnic island and camping is allowed here. Campers are charged 100-200PHP per person per night.
Bantigue Sandbar – a few minutes would suffice to visit this island, it is the perfect spot where you take photos and swim for a while.
Tangke (Enchanted Lagoon) in my own opinion, is the best spot in Islas de Gigantes. I remembered Coron island in Palawan when I saw this place. Tangke is a natural saltwater pool where you can swim for a couple of minutes since many tourists visit the place. You can also do cliff diving here.
The Gigantes Islands are known as the scallop capital of the Philippines. You can get locally grown scallops for only one peso a piece! Cheap, isn’t it? We enjoyed unlimited scallops for lunch which was part of our day-tour package.
Overall, this group of islands is just plain beautiful, it is clean, and pristine beaches are currently untouched by major commercialism. With only 999PHP per head, we were able to explore Islas de Gigantes, have an unlimited scallops lunch, and have an opportunity to meet fellow travelers – this package is a worthwhile deal.
Going back to the port, it started to rain and the sea became unforgiving. I suggest to visit during the best months, December to May.
Travel Provider: Gigantes Island Tours and Services
Event Fee: 999PHP includes private charter boat, overloaded servings of food for lunch, all entrance fees, island hopping with 6 islands to visit, tour guide fee, and environmental fee.