Las Islas de Gigantes (epilogue)

Having settled our bill the previous night, the only thing left to do was to have breakfast, pack our stuff, and thank the resort staff for their excellent service.  Just before leaving, we were treated to a final send-off refreshment of fresh buko juice prepared by Joel and his father.  Joel would be joining us on the ferry ride going back to Estancia so we would not be giving him our thanks until much later. Continue reading

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Gigantes Islands Travel Guide

(Photo courtesy of Richie Bulda)

The Gigantes Islands, with all its beaches, caves and rich marine life, is a real gem in the rough in the province of Iloilo.  Its sheer distance from Iloilo City and the rest of the Panay mainland however ensures that it almost always gets bypassed as a tourism destination of beach goers and backpackers in favor of the much nearer municipality of Concepcion or the more accessible province of Guimaras. Continue reading

Gigantes Islands Sample Itinerary & Budget Estimate

This sample itinerary and budget estimate is for a 1-day island hopping tour of the Gigantes Islands. The actual length however stretches to 4 days due to the distance of the Gigantes from the nearest airport and the flight schedules involved. This is patterned after our own itinerary, with some adjustments to account for what actually transpired. Continue reading

Why are they called the “Gigantes Islands” anyway?

According to one source, the Gigantes Islands used to be known as Sabuluag or Salauag after an endemic tree species found in the islands.  But as for its modern name “Gigantes”, there are varying versions as to why this came to be.  The most common element among all these stories is that during the Spanish colonial era, some caves were were explored in the islands and there, some coffins were discovered which supposedly contained enormous human remains.  And since this happened during Spanish times, the Spanish word gigante (giant) came to be applied to the islands. Continue reading

Las Islas de Gigantes (afternoon)

(Photo courtesy of Richie Bulda)

I was getting a bit concerned because the first half of the day was already over, yet we haven’t even explored the Pawikan Cave yet.  Since it involved some mountain climbing, I thought there wouldn’t be enough enough daylight left to go trekking, spelunking and more island hopping later in the afternoon.  But since Kuya Jingle, our pilot, didn’t seem to view this as a problem, I just trusted in his judgment and went with the itinerary. Continue reading

Las Islas de Gigantes (morning)

(Photo courtesy of Gracey Isles)

We all woke up before the sunrise in order to give ourselves time to prepare for the day’s activities.  While Gracey took another shower while waiting for breakfast, Richie and I got our cameras and took pictures of morning scenes at the nearest seaside.  It was actually low tide and the water elevation was so low that one can literally walk towards a nearby rocky islet a kilometer away. Continue reading

Las Islas de Gigantes (prologue)

The Gigantes Islands are a small group of islands and islets off the northernmost point of the province of Iloilo in the Western Visayas region.  It’s not unusual for most Ilonggos themselves to be unaware of its existence because the Gigantes, as a destination, is well off the beaten track.  It is isolated by a body of water at least 2 hours away from the mainland and even it’s nearest mainland point is very distant from the main population centers of the province. Continue reading

Preview: Tangke Saltwater Lagoon

The Tangke Saltwater Lagoon is the main attraction of Las Islas de Gigantes in northern Iloilo.  Situated in Gigantes Sur island, Tangke might seem like a closed pool but actually has a hidden underwater tunnel exiting to the sea that allows the water level to rise and fall with the tides.  The best time to visit and take a dip is approaching noontime, when it’s at its deepest. Continue reading

Looking for Travel Buddies

(photo courtesy of Gwen Librodo)

I’m planning an exploratory trip to Carles in Northern Iloilo to visit the Higantes Islands and other nearby islands.  I will most probably do this on March 23-26, 2012.  (The date can change a bit as long as it includes the March 24-25 weekend.)  I can travel alone but I was hoping I could cut costs by inviting others to join me.

Just so you know what to see there, here’s what fellow bloggers have written about Carles:

A Paradise Called Carles

Higantes Group of Islands / Islas de Gigantes, Carles, Northern Iloilo

To set expectations, this will mostly be a backpacking trip.  The tourism industry in Carles is underdeveloped and there are certainly no first class accommodations.  Your sense of adventure should be a bit on the rough side. Continue reading