The Hidden Gem of Gigantes Islands Tour

Exploring Iloilo is not complete without experiencing the famous Isla de Gigantes or Gigantes Islands Tour. It is honestly my most favorite part of our stay in Iloilo, I never expected how beautiful these islands are. One day tour is not enough, I highly suggest if you plan to visit Isla de Gigantes make it for 2 days, however, it's gonna be expensive for sure. But, let me share with you loves my day tour experience with Gigantes Islands. 

"Islas de Gigantes (variously Islas Gigantes, Higantes group, or Gigantes group) is an island chain within the larger Western Visayas archipelago in the Visayan Sea. It is part of the municipality of Carles, Iloilo, Philippines, and the northernmost part of Iloilo province. The Gigantes Islands consist of about ten islands; the two largest are Gigantes Norte (North Gigantes) and Gigantes Sur (South Gigantes)."--Wikipedia

My friend whose with me at that time got a discounted rate for 800 Php per person and an additional 260 Php per person per way for the transfer. We were pick-up at our condo at 4:00 AM. Travel time from Iloilo to Bancal Port in the town of Carles is 3 hours, it is where the jump-off point for the Gigantes Islands tour begins. We arrived in bancal port and write our names in the guestlist for security and safety purposes, waited for our group to be called while waiting we had our breakfast at the nearby eatery. Our boatmen are so entertaining, friendly and very supportive in taking our photos and videos, I appreciate their service, making sure we enjoyed our tour, they even help us carry our stuff and making sure our safety as well. We visited five islands, Cabugao Gamay, Antonia Beach, Bantigue Island, Tangke lagoon and Pulupandan island. Our boatmen already informed us before the tour starts that they will try their best to go to Tangke lagoon, depends on the weather, as it is very difficult for them to anchor the boat to the surface because the island has no sands, it is only a huge rock island. Well, it's better to be safe than to be sorry! From bancal port to the first Island took about 40 minutes to 1 hr, it's honestly far.

1. Cabugao Gamay
It is a small island with very white and fine sand with a beautiful line up of coconut trees. Cabugao Gamay is honestly small, "gamay" means in Visayan language small. Even though the island is small you can still enjoy the crystal blue-green water, this island is very famous for Instagram shots, as it has a view deck from the top of the huge stone mountain. Despite a very humid and hot weather tourists are willing to wait for a long queue just to take that Instagram worthy picture. It is honestly worth the wait, the view is so magical. There are no luxurious accommodations in the area if you plan to stay overnight. 

2 Bantigue Island
Bantigue Island is a long stretch of sands, I haven't got the chance to explore this amazing sandbar because me and my friends decided to stay in the boat, cuz boy! It is really crazy hot and we cannot take it anymore, we are already exhausted. This is the reason why I highly suggest to visit the islands in Gigantes for 2 days to really enjoy each island.

3 Antonia Beach
Antonia beach island is also a beautiful island with white sand and crystal blue-green water, amazing rock formation and cute coconut trees. We did a lot of picture taking in this island, and shoot some video clips, we enjoyed our time here.

4 Tangke Lagoon
Honestly speaking! I never thought that we will still try to visit this island, but our boatmen tried their best for us to see the hidden gem of Tangke Lagoon. Tangke Lagoon is a natural saltwater pool surrounded by a massively big and mountainous rock island. In my entire experience of traveling to different places, this is by far the most magical spot that I've ever encountered. I might sound cheesy but I'm telling the truth, Tangke lagoon is so amazing and it is really worth the visit even though it's a little bit unsafe to dock. We only stayed here for a couple of minutes, because our boatmen are avoiding the strong winds that might smash our small boat towards the rocks.

Before we proceed to our last island, we went to another island for our lunch. Unfortunately, I forgot the name of this island. However, it is still clear in my head how abundant the foods they prepared for us. They prepared a bowl of whole chicken soup, fried fish, and other kinds of seafood, they also have the famous unlimited scallops. It was ended a feast that everyone loves.

5 Pulupandan island
The last island in our day tour, our guide shared a local story of this island. It is said to be the island of "no forever" or in Tagalog "walang forever" this phrase is actually famous in the Philippines just to make fun for individuals who don't have a partner in life or just broken up. The story is about these two coconut trees who stand tall in the island, due to typhoon the other one was washed away into the ocean, and the other coconut tree left alone. what a sad story, LOL! Anyways, the island doesn't look sad at all because it is so beautiful. This is the only island that we got the chance to swim and just enjoy the moment with my friends.

After a very fun and amazing day tour in Isla de Gigantes, we head back to bancal port for another 1 hr. boat ride. When we arrived at bancal port there are few stores that offer shower rooms for 20 Php. In your 20 Php you've got a 1 large pail of freshwater. However, you need to buy separate shampoo and soap if you did not bring any. We paid another 260 Php to the same van that fetches us in our condo, the driver will just wait in bancal port for the whole day for the group of guests that he's assigned to. 

  1. Pack light and bring necessary items only, the boat is small enough for 10 people for group tours. It will be easier to move around especially if travel from one island to another.
  2. Bring a beach scarf or big hat if you don't want to get burned under the sun. 
  3. Apply sunblock all over your body and face, re-apply every 3 hours, to keep your skin safe.
  4. Bring travel-size bottled water to keep you hydrated.
  5. Always observe cleanliness, throw your waste to proper disposals.

To summarize all my experience with the Gigantes Islands tour, it is so beautiful and amazing especially the Cabugao Gamay Island and the Tangke lagoon. I wished I had more time on each island, but unfortunately its a group tour so we have to be on schedule. If I had the chance to go back to Isla de Gigantes, I preferred to stay in one of the islands who offered a tent or hut for an overnight stay and spend more time on each island without worrying the time especially in Cabugao Gamay and Tangke Lagoon. 

I hope you enjoyed reading my experience in Gigantes Islands and makes you inspired to add this destination to your bucket list. If you would like to see my full Iloilo Itinerary for only 4,920 PHP click HERE. If you like to read my full blog post with Guimaras Island click HERE. And if you like to watch my video in Isla de Gigantes click HERE

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