3D2N Enchanting Isla Gigantes Trip

On the northern coast of Iloilo in the town of Carles a hidden paradise of what we know as Isla Gigantes awaits all curious visitors. White sand beaches, clear blue waters and scallops. It’s not very easy to get here and it will take you a day to get to the island but its all worth the trip. The island was named as such as it was believed that giants once lived on the islands. Stay at least 3 days here to fully enjoy what the island has to offer

To get here you have different options. If you’re flying from Manila it’s best to go to Roxas as it’s only two hours away via Ceres Bus. Regardless of where you’re coming from as long as you reach Estancia Port before 1pm you’re good to go as there’s only 1 passenger boat plying Estancia-Gigantes route. Boat leaves between 1pm-2pm daily and to be sure which boat leaves for Gigantes, ask around.

Tip: Book the earliest flight as much as possible. Take a van to significantly cut your travel time but for a cheaper alternative simply take a bus.

1. From Iloilo (Max of 5 Hours to get to Estancia): Get a cab (around 400 pesos) going to Tagbac Terminal or take the shuttle to SM City Iloilo (50 pesos) then take a jeepney going to Tagbac Terminal. From Tagbac Terminal, take either Ceres Bus/HPQ Buss (4 hours) or UV Express Van (2 hours) going to Estancia. Fare costs around 150 pesos. From Estancia, take a tricycle going to the Port (10 pesos). Ride a boat going to Gigantes (80 pesos).
2. From Roxas (Max of 3 Hours to get to Estancia): Take Ceres Bus (2 hours) going to Estancia. From Estancia, take a tricycle going to the Port (10 pesos). Ride a boat going to Gigantes (80 pesos).
3. From Kalibo (Max of 5 Hours to get to Estancia): I’m not sure if there’s a direct bus or van going to Estancia but you can take Ceres Bus or UV Express Van going to Roxas (2 hours) then to Estancia (2 hours). From Estancia, take a tricycle going to the Port (10 pesos). Ride a boat going to Gigantes (80 pesos).

Tagbac Van Terminal. Further to the right is the Bus Terminal

Estancia Van & Bus Terminal

Estancia Tricycle Terminal in front of Van & Bus Terminal

We checked-out from our hotel at around 8am and took a cab going to Tagbac Central Terminal. Between bus and van, we chose van for a much shorter travel time going to Estancia because they have fewer stops unlike a regular commuter buses. We had to wait though for all other passenger. We left at around 10am and arrived 2 and a half hours after. From the terminal we rode a tricycle going to the port. At the port, we hurriedly run to the nearest shed because of a sudden heavy rainfall. We waited for the rain to stop for like an hour before getting on the boat and lucky enough the sky cleared like it never rained. 

At the port, we were welcomed by Joel Decano who guided us to the boat and introduced us to our guide Joeneber. It was a slow 2-hour boat ride. Instead of just staring blankly on the horizon, we started making friends and met a very nice couple.  Meet Flo and Lea.🙂

Flo and Lea

Since it was low tide when we arrived at Gigantes Norte, we had to transfer to a raft and balance ourselves while the boatman pushes it to get to the shore. Cool! From afar you can clearly see a mountain like pile of scallop shells along the shore.

Getting ready to ride the raft. You see that mountain of scallop shells over there?

Slowly but surely

On the raft

Along the shores of Brgy Asluman

We then rode a Habal-Habal to get to Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Resort. We had coffee as our welcome drink under the shade of a Talisay tree. My ex-girlfriend and I together with Flo and Lea agreed to follow just one itinerary and go on one boat for our island hopping the next day. Since Joel originally arranged separate boats and guides for us, we agreed for a 2500 pesos boat fee for the island hopping instead of 1800 pesos per couple. That’s 650 pesos saving!

After the arrangement, our guide brought us to our cottage. Here, they have a fix rate of 200 pesos per head per night if you stay in a fan room. They have cottages/rooms for small and big groups. They also have a tree house and cottages facing the sea. The resort has a very wide open space ready for expansion and a mini pool.

Our Room

Mini Pool

Food Hall

Tree House

Main House – AC Rooms are here

Cottages facing the Sea

Coffee Area

Not wasting any time, we asked our guides if there’s any place we could go nearby. They suggested to visit Parola/Lighthouse. We rode a Habal-Habal then trekked for about 5mins to get to Parola. You also have the option to walk. If you’re not afraid of heights, you must go up. This is also a perfect spot to catch the sunrise.

Parola

The Light

Group Pic – Flo was too scared to stand up.

To have a group pic, we sat beside Flo

Back in the resort, they served us the below for dinner. (To give you an idea how much it cost – this is good for 2)

Sizzling Scallop 110.00
2 Sticks of BBQ Scallop 36.00
Fried Fish 40.00
Squid with Chili Sauce 90.00
Grilled Pork Chop 60.00
   Rice 30.00   
Total 366.00

Day 1 Dinner

They really serve a lot so if I were you forgot about your diet. Just let your guide know if you only wish to be served with 1 or 2 viands. You can also ask for coffee, soda or beer and they would only charge you depending on how much it cost at a nearby store. Yes I think there are 2 sari-sari store near the resort where you can buy some stuff like shampoo, soap, toothbrush and even crisps.

During our dinner we learned a lot about Flo and Lea, they were very open and it felt like we know them already for a very long time. We talked about almost anything under the sun. After dinner, instead of going inside our room we decided to take a dip in the mini pool and continued our bonding with the lovely couple. I am not sure but I think we finished past midnight.

The following day we woke up really early to catch the sunrise.

Good Morning Gigantes

Breakfast was served at 7am. They gave us coffee first whilst preparing the table for breakfast. Everything was very organised here and it’s like having your very own PA. Since we requested for a smaller portion they served us light breakfast (still with rice).

Coffee Time

Plated Breakfast

After breakfast we prepped up for our Island Hopping adventure. We started past 9am already because of our amazement with the countless number of scallop shells near the shore.

Shells Shells Shells

Jump Shot

Our first stop was Tangke Lagoon. It was a challenge for most of us to get in because of strong waves making it hard to cross a makeshift bridge from the boat to the lagoon. Going back was another story. I even forgot to wear my slippers which made it even harder for me to walk through the rocks. Inside, it felt like I was in Coron. If you don’t know how to swim, this place is perfect for you as it’s not too shallow nor too deep.

Our next stop was Cabugao Gamay Island. This is the most famous island here. I think the shape of the island adds up to its charm aside from its powdery white sand and pristine blue waters. Group shots, jump shots, selfie, wide shots, stolen shots. We did all of it here.

To even more enjoy the island, we decided to have our lunch here. We had crabs, stuffed squid and fresh coconut juice. Yum Yum! We even took a short nap under a shade of a tree. Once on the island you wouldn’t want leave. It has a strange charm unlike any other islands.🙂

Just before we left, we were shocked to hear an explosion-like sound only to find out a fisherman threw a dynamite to catch some fish not very distant to where we were. I hope authorities are doing something to stop this madness. I’m sure they know it.

Our next stop was Bantigue Sand Bar. This served as a playground for us. The strong wind from an incoming rain triggered non-stop waves and made the water warmer. We played like kids jumping on every waves we see. We loved it so much!

Our last stop was at Antonia Beach. Whilst on the island, it rained heavily making it impossible for us to swim or snorkel. Instead, we stayed inside the kitchen of the island’s caretaker to have coffee and to eat spicy noodles. We met JayR here, a solo traveler who works in Singapore. After the rain, we immediately went to sea to snorkel and swim.  Just before leaving the island, they sold us 1 sack of wasay-wasay perfect for dinner for just 100 pesos. Nice!

Wasay-Wasay

Our next trip was supposedly the caves but because of the rain and it’s almost 5pm we decided not to go anymore. There are more than 30 caves in the island so ask your guide and try to explore at least one. Just take extra care and make sure to bring insect repellant.

Back in the resort for dinner, they served us steamed wasay-wasay, fish escabeche and adobong squid. Brrrppp! We were so full after. JayR also joined the feast.

Left to Right: Lea, Flo, JayR, Cleo and myself

For our last night here, we asked our guides to set up a bonfire near the shore. It was lovely!

Kuya Joeneber setting up our Bonfire

The next morning, we packed all our things then had our breakfast.

Breakfast – Day 3

Kuya Joeneber showed us the ancient wood coffin known as “Longon” displayed at the back of the food hall whilst waiting for the details of the amount we need to settle before checkout. In total (3D2N food and accommodation + island hopping for 2) we paid 3,480 pesos.

We were almost ready to leave but then we suddenly felt dizzy and saw the water in the pool spilling over. We heard the staff shouting and couldn’t believe we just experienced an earthquake. It was scary! What if there’s a tsunami?Aftershocks? Where’s the epicenter? What made it worst is that we have no way of checking due to lack of internet and mobile network signal in the island. Thank God we’re safe!

We left still a bit nervous but we had to say goodbye to the nice staff of Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Resort. A trip we will never ever forget. Amazing island indeed. Very accommodating staff, well-mannered guides, endless supply of scallops, fresh seafood and picturesque white sand beach. Life is Good!

JayR, Flo, Lea, Cleo and myself plus our 2 guides. Joeneber – in yellow short.

With a bigger boat this time, it only took us less than 2 hours to get to Estancia port.

Estancia Port

Oh I forgot to mention, Flo and Lea joined us on the next leg of this trip. 4 is better than 2!

Check my next entry about our Guimaras Trip: <————>

You can also check my entry about Iloilo here: Iloilo 2D1N DIY Trip

This is part of our Iloilo 5 Day DIY Trip last October 12 – 17, 2013. See detailed Itinerary and Expenses HERE.

Sample Itinerary

DAY 1
0700 Wake Up Call
0800 Check-out at Chito’s Hotel
0830 ETA at Tagbac Central Terminal via Taxi (150 pesos)
1000 ETD to Estancia via Van (150 pesos/head)
1230 Estancia Transport Terminal
1245 Estancia Port (via Tricycle 10 pesos/head)
1430 ETD Estancia to Brgy Asluman via Boat (80 pesos/head)
1630 ETA Brgy Asluman
1640 ETA Hideaway Resort via Habal-Habal (10 pesos/head)
1700 Check-in (200 pesos/head/night)
1730 Parola (via Habal-Habal 30 pesos/head/way)
1830 Back at Hideway Resort
2000 Dinner Time
2200 Night Swimming (Pool)

DAY 2
0600 Wake Up Call
0700 Breakfast Time
0830 Prep for Island Hopping
0900 Habal-Habal to Boat
0910 Start of Island Hopping (2500 pesos/boat good for 4 with 2 guides)
0940 Tangke
1100 Cabugao Island (20 pesos entrance fee/head)
1200 Lunch at Cabugao Island
1340 Bantigue Sandbar
1430 Antonia Beach (20 pesos entrance fee/head)
1630 Back at Brgy Asluman
1645 Hideaway Tourist Resort
1900 Dinner Time
2100 Bonfire by the Beach
2300 Lights Off

DAY 3
0600 Breakfast
0730 Prep for Check-out (Total Bill: 3480 pesos)
0830 Check-out Time
0845 Boat to Estancia (80 pesos/head)
1030 Back at Estancia Port
1130 Van to Iloilo (150 pesos/head)
1330 ETA Tagbac Central Terminal

Breakdown of Expenses

DAY 1
77 Breakfast
150 Taxi Fare to Tagbak Terminal
300 Van going to Estancia
20 Tricycle Fare to Port
20 Water
160 Boat Fare to Gigantes
20 Habal Habal to Hideaway
120 Habal Habal to Light House

DAY 2
100 2 Buko at Cabugao Island
140 Snacks at Antonia Beach
100 1 Sack of Wasay-Wasay
20 Habal Habal to Hideaway
52 Toiletries

DAY 3
3480 Hideaway Total Bill
600 Tip
20 Habal Habal to Boat
160 Boat Fare to Estancia
40 Water
103 Food
30 Tricycle to Van Terminal
300 Van to Tagbac Terminal

Total Expenses: 6,012.00 Pesos

Tips:

  • Mobile networks are not available in the island so forget about checking your facebook or instagram. Forget about calling or texting, just enjoy and have fun.
  • Bring a nice camera with you all the time and capture every moment.
  • Electricity is only turned on late in the afternoon until 11pm then it switches to power generator. So don’t be surprised if you wake up the following day with no electricity.
  • Be sure to arrive at Estancia Port before 1pm-2pm or else you’ll wait for the next trip the next day.
  • From Gigantes Norte, boat leaves for Estancia at around 8am so make sure to tell your guides to avoid being left.
  • If you wish to stay in an air-conditioned room check with Joel first for availability. During peak season, make sure to book ahead of time to secure a good room. If you own a tent, you can also bring it and set camp inside the resort.
  • Guides don’t have a fixed income/salary so give them the tip they deserve. They solely rely on the tip.
  • Cooking Charge is up to you as well so if you have any request for lunch or dinner feel free to tell them but don’t expect any vegetable dish as they don’t really have a market to buy vegetables on the island.
  • If you sleep late, your guides too.🙂
  • Each cottages have its own toilet and bath.
  • If you’re looking to have a massage, they have 2 local masseuse in the area but don’t expect it to be a spa-like experience. Just ask your guides if you’re interested.
  • If you are travelling solo and want to spend less, be friendly and join other groups.
  • Local water may taste weird for some so better bring your own supply of mineral/distilled water.

Schedule of ferry from/to Isla Gigantes:
Estancia Port to Isla Gigantes : 2pm (80 pesos)
Isla Gigantes Langub port to Estancia: 8:30am (80 pesos)
Carles Bancal Port to Isla: 10am (75pesos)
Isla to Carles Bancal Port : 2pm (75pesos)

From Roxas City you can take bus going to Estancia and alight in Balasan, then take a tricycle going to Carles Port if you want to catch the morning ferry.

Contact Jedden, one of the tour guide and he will assist you. +639468516513

Isla Gigantes Contact Information:

Joel Decano
Proprietor/Tourism Officer
09184685006 / 09155796612
Facebook: Isla Gigantes
Email: isla.gigantes@yahoo.com
Joel Decano is a tourism office who also owns Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Resort. He will arrange everything to make sure you enjoy your stay in Gigantes. If DIY is not your thing, he can also create a package/itinerary for you.
Alternative Contact Information:

If you are not able to reach Joel you may contact the below that was given to me by a friend who visited Gigantes May 2014
Remia Pesta of Arjan Resort at 09199314248 or
Boy Pestaño at 09999918643 and get Glenn as ur guide.

*Arjan Resort is located at Gigantes North and is along the shoreline. They also have boats plying the route of Estancia and Gigantes North. Boat departs between 12 to 1pm. For more information please contact Remia directly.

53 thoughts on “3D2N Enchanting Isla Gigantes Trip

  1. thanks for this.. very detailed indeed.. this wi be my guide as i am planning to go to where you’ve been in Ilo-ilo.. very informative..

    • Hello,
      Maraming magagandang Isla diyan sa northern iloilo, isa na ang Isla Gigantes. Lagi kami nag outing sa mga Isla long time ago pa nang mga bata pa kami. Worth the visit kahit na malayo at matagal ang biyahe. Wala pa masyadong tao & perfect for much needed R&R (rest and relaxation).
      Diyan pala sa estancia mey resort din, Pa-on Beach club, na puede kayo mag stay at they offer different island tours packages, isa na ang Gigantes islands.
      Enjoy ;))

  2. hi po! we are planning this december din, yung rent nyo po sa boat for the tour separate po yung bayad dun? or kasama na xa sa tour package po? thanks!

  3. 3 of my friends and i are going this feb 2015. I believe 4 din kayo sa trip sa blog mo?how much po yung total expenses nyo lahat2?thank u🙂

  4. We’ll be going to Roxas City this coming Saturday. Our problem is that we have a tight flight schedule: arriving at 11AM in Roxas Airport (11/29) then departing at 11AM on Monday (12/01) in the same airport. You’ve mentioned that there’s only 1 passenger boat plying Estancia-Gigantes route which leaves between 1pm-2pm. Will we be able to make it? Is there an alternative way to get to Gigantes?

    • You might make it just in time since it takes 1.5 to 2.5 hours to get to Estancia from Roxas via Van or Ceres Bus. Have you made contact to anyone from where you’re going to stay in Gigantes? They might be able to talk to bankeros to wait for you.

      Other option is to rent a private boat but it will be too costly.

      • Hello po, Ako po Ay Taga estancia. Mey resort po diyan sa estancia na ang pangalan ay Pa-on Beach Club. They offer island hopping sa Ibat ibang isla diyan including Gigantes island. They can also make arrangements for you sa maskyan niyo na pumpboat. If you’re interested eto ang number nila 397-0488 at just google website paon beach club estancia.

        Hope this helps.

        Have fun!!!

        Kristine

        >

  5. hi sir we’re planning to go here first week of january, we just want to know how was the waves during your boat ride from extancia port to gigantes? 2 hours po kasi halos ang boat ride medyo scary ang dating sa amin

  6. ADVENTURE TO BUROT BEACH
    IN CALATAGAN BATANGAS: the have a beautiful place, beautiful white sand
    clean water: the place you can RELAX
    you can ENJOY THE WHOLE FAMILY & FRIEND
    IF YOU WANT TO ENJOY…
    BUROT BEACH IS THE PLACE TO BEE!!!
    TRY IT BELIEVE IT…
    For your information:
    Just call or text kuya Bents ( tricycle driver )
    Contact no: 09266452950

  7. Hi manong! Great post! Very informative. Some relatives and I are planning to go there sometime in March and this is a great help. If matuloy kami, we might follow your itinerary as well, hehe. Salamat🙂

  8. We are from northwest cebu..can I ask how can we get there?fast cratf is on san carlos port..can u send in my email the details possible itinerary and expenses..we will be having our school ed.tour..thanx
    ***pls dnt publish my email..

  9. Hi! We’re planning to visit Gigantes next month, would you know if what time is the first trip of the van at Tagbac Terminal? And would you also know if there’s any transportation from Iloilo airport going to the terminal? Thanks!

    • Hi Bajoy!

      First trip can be as early as 8am but it will only leave until all seats are taken.

      From the airport you have the option to take a cab directly going to the terminal or take a shuttle to sm city then take a jeepney to the terminal.

  10. Your blog is very Helpful, I ‘ve already booked a flight this coming November just hoping na hindi maulan, Just want to know kung saan mas maganda ang accomodition , Hideaway Inn or Arjan po? thanks🙂

  11. FYI, Schedule of ferry from/to Isla Gigantes.
    Estancia Port to Isla Gigantes : 2pm (80 pesos)
    Isla Gigantes Langub port to Estancia: 8:30am (80 pesos)
    Carles Bancal Port to Isla: 10am (75pesos)
    Isla to Carles Bancal Port : 2pm (75pesos)

    From roxas city you can take bus going to estancia and alight in balasan, then take a tricycle going to carles port if you want to catch the morning ferry. Contact Jedden, our tour guide, he will assist you to go there. +639468516513

  12. Just came back from a 3D/2N stay in Gigantes Norte December 2015- Arjan Resort. If you seek seclusion and tranquility stay at the private resorts in Cabugao Gamay and San Antonia. Do not stay in Gigantes Norte and Sur resorts unless you don’t mind being surrounded by the island’s residents. People’s houses are literally at the back of Arjan and Jesa resorts (both at Norte), they’re beach front alright but it’s always low-tide and no waves – you got to walk at least 50 meters for a knee deep water, it’s more like a lake than a sea.

    Solo travellers please be warned, do not eat in Arjan resort. There’s a 150 paluto or service charge and ingredients charge on top of your order. E.g. Half kilo of scallops is Php 90 + 1 cup of rice Php 15 + service charge 150 = 255 Total for just 1 meal. Paluto is only worth the Php 150 if you’re in a big group.

    The blogger of this site might want to update info: Entrance fee in Cabugao Gamay is now Php 50 and Php 40 in San Antonia, it more than doubled since this article was written.

    People might want to know that there’s a boat travelling to and from Carles and Gigantes island. Carles is closer to the island – just 45-minute boat ride as opposed to 2 hours from Estancia port. It leaves at 10 am for Gigantes and goes back to the main island at 2 pm. Much earlier than the ones in Estancia (2 pm going to Gigantes and 8 am back the next day to Estancia – not a very efficient time). Best to do day tour if you’re after the island hopping experience only.

  13. hi po!! we’ll be going there 2nd week of november… our arrival at roxas is around 11:00-11:20 am. praying our flight wouldnt be delayed. you think po makakaabot kami sa public ferry? if maiwan kami ng ferry.. is there another way para makarating ng gigantes. that same day?

  14. Carles port ( Bancal) is the most convenient way to Gigante not Estancia which will take u 3 hours in Carles port to gigantes island only 45 min. And the municipal council will pass an ordinance discouraging those who pass via estancia port meaning they will not a priority to enter Tangke. As vice mayor tupas also said that there is a proposal that if you pass estancia port some part of gigante island that u will not able to explore. Thus for a complete package experience pick a carles base reservation. Contact solinasreservation@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s