Date: February 16 – 17, 2017
Location: Carles, Iloilo.
The Gigantes group or Islas de Gigantes used to be called Sabuluag or Salauag, which is the name of a species of tree endemic to the islands. During the Spanish colonial era, the name was changed to Gigantes. Local legend describes coffins found inside Bakwitan Cave that contained gigantic sets of human bones, which constituted the name change [info] (Gigantes from the Filipino word ‘Higante’ means Giant)
There are numerous islands to visit in Gigantes Island:
A LONG WHITE SANDBAR – that is how the Bantigue Island are famed to describe. This is the first island we visited. As per our tour guide, the sandbar is only accessible during low tide. Fortunately, low tide in the morning so we are able to see this beautiful sandbar.
This island was our 2nd destination, and my favorite. It is famed with its rock formations, where the guests can climb and take a perfect picture on top of it with the view of the whole island.
Tanke Salt Water Lagoon
It is called ‘Tanke’ because it is look like a water tank or a giant bathtub when high tide. Unfortunately, we went there in the morning – low tide, so the tank don’t have water yet, we took the opportunity to take a jump shot and as per our tour guide we are his first guest who took a jumpshot in the lagoon. As per the old people of the island, this were the ancient giant take their bath. hehe
This is the most popular destination for tourist because of having a rich marine life. You can do a lot of activities like snorkeling, kayaking, banana boat and more. Unfortunately, we are in a rush so we did not try any activities but just enjoyed taking photos.
This is our last destination. It also have its amazing white sandbar. Here’s where we ate our lunch before leaving the Islas de Gigantes.
Overall, these island have their similarities – they all have an amazing crystal clear water and a cool white sand. All of them have it’s uniqueness and a picture perfect destination.
Tip: Wear a rash guard or apply any sunblock lotions to protect your skin from the sun heat.
Gigantes Island are not just for island hopping but they have a bonus land destinations:
Gigantes Norte Lighthouse
This is the new-powered lighthouse donated by Japan it replaces the original lighthouse built by the Spanish in 1895. Beside the lighthouse is a single-storey elevated ruin.
We went to the lighthouse early in the morning to witness the beautiful sunrise, the breathtaking view of the islands and the sea.
‘Bakwitan’ is an Ilonggo dialect for ‘evacuate’ to ‘refuge’. The locals take this cave as their shelter for typhoons and this is also serves as the hiding place from the Japanese invaders during Japanese colony.
It’s a 15 mins hard-trek (why hard trek? since it’s raining the day before, it is muddy, slippery and too high) before we arrive to the entrance of the cave. Since we are in a rush, we just finish the half of the cave and exit on where we entered. The exit supposedly not on the main entrance of the cave and it will take 2 hrs to finish it.
Tip: Wear a trekking sandals/shoes and bring water to drink. Bring extra money for donation.
Where to stay?
We highly recommend the Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn. They have an all around tour guides (they’re the one who fetch you from the port to the island, a tour guide and a driver, they are also the one to prepare for your foods.) and they are very accommodating.
We would like to commend and thank our tour guide Kuya Bryan for the fun and memorable tour.
Hideaway will give you a package aside from accommodation they also include the island hopping, land tour, transportation, food and environmental fees. *no hidden charges*
The rooms are comfortable and the foods are all delicious. Their meals are more on sea foods, but they also prepare meats.
Tip: The taste of the drinking water in the island is not good, so better bring a lot of water with you.
The Island doesn’t have any phone signal, so its a better way for you and your friends or love ones to catch up. But they have this place called “Call Center” – this is the only spot in the island that has signal. But from Hideaway Resort, you will be needing a motorcycle ride going there. 🙂
How to book for reservation
- Contact Mr. Joel Escalano, Owner – +63 918 468 5006
- Give your reservation date and the number of days/ nights of stay.
- Deposit any amount to his account to confirm your reservation. (Don’t forget to bring your deposit receipt or screenshot your bank transaction details.)
- They have a person in-charge in Carles and Estancia Port, that will contact you for updates.
Angela declares: This is my first island getaway with my love – Bryl, and it’s nice to realized that we need this kind of adventure once in a while to refresh, escape and to find peace.
Contact Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn
Joel Escalano, Owner
+63 918 468 5006
See you in my next adventure!