Half-day Gigantes Islands getaway

Want to go to a beautiful beach but only have a short leave from work? There’s no problem with that – Gigantes Islands is a worthy weekend getaway

Angela Nicolas

3:34:23am August 8, 2017

2:5:16am August 9, 2017

This photo essay won MovePH's #SharePH 2017 summer contest. This originally appeared on X, Rappler's self-publishing platform. 

MANILA, Philppines – Gigantes Islands or Islas de Gigantes is located in the Visayan Sea. It is part of the municipality of Carles in the northern part of Iloilo.

Where to stay?

In Gigantes Islands, we stayed at the Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn. Aside from accommodation, they also offer tour packages. They will assign an all-around tour guide for the guests.

INN WITH A TWIST. One of the tree houses turned into tourist inn.

Here’s my story and itinerary:

6:00 am - 7:00 am - Gigantes Norte Lighthouse

GIGANTES LIGHTHOUSE. Reaching the top of the lighthouse reveals a breathtaking view of the sea.

GIGANTES LIGHTHOUSE. Reaching the top of the lighthouse reveals a breathtaking view of the sea.

We visited the Gigantes Norte Lighthouse early in the morning to witness the breathtaking sunrise. From the resort, we took a habal-habal (motorcycle for hire) that took us 5 minutes going to the lighthouse.

The lighthouse was originally built by the Spaniards but it has been replaced by the Japanese after it was destroyed by a typhoon.

SUNRISE. People love to watch the sun set from the lighthouse.

SUNRISE. People love to watch the sun set from the lighthouse.

Aside from the lighthouse, what I love about Gigantes Islands is the view of the sunrise, the sea waves, and the fresh air. How I wish I have this kind of view every morning in Manila.

7:00 am - 8:00 am - Caving at Bakwitan Cave

BAKWITAN CAVE. It takes 10 minutes to get into the cave.

BAKWITAN CAVE. It takes 10 minutes to get into the cave.

Before heading to the entrance of the cave, we had a 10-minute trek. It took us 30 minutes going to the center of the cave. It will take two hours if you continue along the path leading to the exit.

8:00 - 8:30 am - Breakfast

BREAKFAST. A taste of their simple Filipino breakfast.

8:30 - 11:30am - Island hopping

ISLAND HOPPING. Tourist can lounge and swim before heading to the sandbar.

ISLAND HOPPING. Tourist can lounge and swim before heading to the sandbar.

Bantigue Sandbar

BANTIGUE SANDBAR. The Island is only accessible during low tide.

We headed first to Bantigue Sandbar. We were fortunate to see this island because the sandbar is only accessible during low tide.

Cabugao Gamay

CABUGAO GAMAY. A small island which can be reached by a 20 to 30 minute (chartered) pumpboat ride from Brgy. Lantangan in Isla de Gigantes.

Bantigue Sandbar is superb but the next island that we visited, Cabugao Gamay, blew my mind away. I was stunned by this little paradise. 

Tanke Lagoon

EMPTY TANGKE LAGOON. A hidden spot behind the steep cliffs of Isla de Gigantes.

If we were fortunate to see the Bantigue Sandbar, we were unlucky to see the lagoon empty. In any case, we were very happy to experience walking around the lagoon that we even took a jump shot. According to Kuya Bryan, we were his first guests who did it.

Antonia Beach

PARADISE. Antonia Beach is known for its rich marine life and fun activities.

PARADISE. Antonia Beach is known for its rich marine life and fun activities.

This island is the most popular island among tourists. Antonia Beach offers accommodation. It is known for its rich marine life and fun activities. There are a few sari-sari stores in the island where you can buy drinks or snacks.

TAKE A WALK. Walking around the beach makes you relax and appreciate the nature even more.

TAKE A WALK. Walking around the beach makes you relax and appreciate the nature even more.

Bulubadiang Island

NEXT STOP, BULUBUDIANG ISLAND. Bulubudiang Island offers a shorter sandbar and more rock formations.

NEXT STOP, BULUBUDIANG ISLAND. Bulubudiang Island offers a shorter sandbar and more rock formations.

Just like the Antonia Beach, Bulubadiang Island also offers accommodation. The island boasts of a short sand bar and awesome rock formations. We had our sumptuous lunch on this island by the beach.

This island also serves as an extension of Hideaway resort wherein guests can choose to stay.

Food to eat

SEASHELLS. There's a lot of sea shells to enjoy in the island: Scallops and Oyster.

SEASHELLS. There's a lot of sea shells to enjoy in the island: Scallops and Oyster.

FRESH OYSTER. Sauteed, stir-fried or pour in boiling water, you can cook it in many ways.

Fortunately, the package offered by the Gigantes Tourist Inn already includes food. 

How to get there via Iloilo:

Ride a jeepney to Tagbak Terminal

Ride a van at Tagbak Terminal to Estancia or Carles Port

How to book your tour: 

Contact Joel Escalano of Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn at +63 918 468 5006. – Rappler.com

By Angela Nicolas

Originally published under Rappler X