Yes, 7 years! You got that right! It just happened on 7-7-17. Time just flies so fast and I can’t believe that Mea and I are already on our 7th year together. But anyways, just like what the title says, I’ll be showing you 7 reasons (attractions) why we visited Isla de Gigantes, but to make it more interesting, I’ll also tell you a little bit of our story.
Mea and I both manage this blog but it’s me who does most of the technical stuff since she’s quite busy all the time. And as you can see, I’m narrating this in my point of view(Jestan), just to let you know.
(BEWARE: Lengthy Post!)
Oh, FYI, these activities only took 2 days and 1 night to finish.
OKAY! Isla de Gigantes! Where is it and what’s so special about it?
It’s a group of islands that are located in the municipality of Carles and it’s 3-4 hours away from Iloilo City. We know that Isla de Gigantes is slowly becoming a famous tourist spot in the province but we were really triggered to visit it when we heard of a new place that offered a unique experience.
I messaged the place right away and asked two of our friends to come with us and yes, we weren’t disappointed. The resort gave us a really good deal that was hard to resist.
…So how did we meet? Once upon a time…(insert dramatic background music)
In 2009, Mea and I first met in college. We were both freshmen but we weren’t going to the same school. I went to UP taking up BS Management and she went to St.Paul taking up Physical Therapy.
During an aerobics event( which was kind of weird for college kids to do), I was invited to watch by my high school classmates who were then her college classmates. We got introduced to each other and yes, the rest was history!
But what’s funny is that we started texting each other a few weeks before that, since my friends gave me her number. Yeah, I hate to admit it but we were text mates at first. LOL
7 years! Time flies so fast!
1. Isla de Gigantes Island NorthCoast Beach Resort
Our first stop was at Gigantes Island Northcoast Beach Resort, one of the many resorts found on the island. But what I liked about it is that they offer “Glamping” which is basically Glamour + Camping put together, so yeah, you get the gist of their concept. Basically, you’ll be paying for a package tour that includes meals, drinks, accommodation, land transfers, and island hopping tours.
They’ll take care of your whole itinerary. The only thing that’s not included in the package is the fair going to Isla de Gigantes and a few local fees which will be discussed at the end of this blog.
The resort had a really nice beach setup with boulders lining up the shore, a nice wooden balcony, a mini cafe, and of course, air-conditioned tents because yeah, Glamping! If you’re looking for luxury in this secluded group of islands, this is the place to be. Not to mention, we had fresh scallops, crabs, fish, coconuts, and lime juice for our meals. It was just like heaven!
And that’s how I felt when I saw Mea the first time we met…
I was just star-struck when I first saw her during that school event back in 2009. But she would always tell me that I’m lying or I’m just trying to make her feel special and that we didn’t have that kind of spark when I first laid eyes on her.
Well, it’s 20% true(how did I even come up with this data) but the reason why is that I never really got a chance to look at her. LOL. It was like a 5-second conversation of “Hi’s and Hello’s.” Come on! I don’t want to be that creepy guy who’d just keep on staring at a first meeting.
But on our second meeting which was also our first date, I was definitely blown away by how beautiful she was. I had the opportunity to really check her out in a not so creepy way. She had that small adorable face(which I love) that matched her big round eyes, a cute nose, and a smile that you just can’t forget. Luckily, she agreed to be my girlfriend on 7-7-10 which was 8 months after a good number of dates.
2. Bakwitan Cave
But the name “Bakwitan” actually comes from the English word “Evacuate”, but of course, the people here just have a different way of saying it. The cave served as a refuge for people during WWII when the Japanese came and attacked the island. It also serves as a safe haven for people during storms.
And that’s how Mea and I are to each other…
She’s my refuge from the storm and I’m to her as well. I remember a time when I was just so frustrated on what to do with my life. After I graduated, I didn’t know what to do and for months I had no stable job and was earning very little. I’m the type of person who wants to solve things on his own and I was just so stubborn to get help. Well, she knew what I was going through even though I never really expressed it. She never said a word about my problems but what she would do is just support me on what I wanted to do.
As a matter of fact, she would go an extra mile for me and support me with my crazy business ideas until such time that I discovered my true passion which is writing. But of course, I’m also doing the same thing for her. After she passed her board exams, she said she didn’t want to get a job yet and wanted to join a beauty pageant. I was so against it, but hey, I gotta support her so she ended up joining, not one but two contests before she found a job.
3. Old Spanish Lighthouse
After visiting the cave, you’ll have a motorcycle ride to Isla de Gigantes’ Old Spanish Lighthouse. The name explains it! This is an old light house built in 1895 during the Spanish Regime. However, Typhoon Frank severely damaged the original one back in 2008 so the Japanese decided to donate a new one. What we liked about the old lighthouse though is that it still stands despite the test of time.
And that’s how our relationship is…
Like they say, “All relationships go through hell, real relationships get through it.” It wasn’t really like that though, but you get my point, we’ve had ups and downs but managed to push through. Sometimes the real problem doesn’t even come from outside the relationship but inside. A change in priorities, goals, and character tend to happen once you stay long enough in the relationship. It’s up to you guys if you’re going to accept them or not (like how I accepted the fact that she always asks for food but when we buy it, she never even finishes it).
4. Tanke Lagoons
Aaah! The jaw-dropping Tanke Lagoon! With that kind of view, I don’t need to describe it so I’ll just let your eyes marvel at its wonders. This is the first stop of the island hopping tour and it’s definitely a very good appetizer for the eyes as you start your adventure. Lush green vegetation, turquoise green waters, and stunning rock formations? What more can you ask for?
You do need to be careful of the monkeys that come down from the mountains though…they’re quite curious.. Remember! Do not feed them or they will become dependent on humans! Anyways, there’s also a spot where you can cliff-dive to the open sea just near the entrance of the lagoon.
I did mention lagoons on the header above, yes? Well, that’s because there are two Tanke Lagoons. The other one can be found on the other side of the island and it’s called Tanke Gamay(gamay means small). Similar to its big brother, this lagoon also has a cliff-diving spot and gorgeous waters. However, there’s a bonus for this one since there’s a small underwater passage in the lagoon that will lead you to the open waterS..just like the ones you see in movies.
When you see these two lagoons in person, you’ll run out of words describing how beautiful they are.
And that’s how I exactly feel about her…
I can’t help but think how lucky I am to have her and that I’ll spend the rest of my days looking at one of God’s most beautiful creations. No kidding, that’s how I exactly feel though I’m not able to express it all the time. If only the word beautiful has thousands of synonyms, I’d say each word to her every day.
5. Cabugao Gamay Island
Next to the Tanke Lagoons, this place is one of the most photographed attractions in the area. You’ll see tons of photos online with this background if you key in Isla de Gigantes on Google. It’s undeniably Instagram-worthy that’s why you can’t blame us for being a part of the bandwagon.
Aside from the lookout point, which is the main attraction of the island, there are also other areas with picturesque views. You just have to look for the right angle. But all I can say is that this place is just paradise on Earth! I can see my self living on this island forever!
And that’s how I see my future with her…
I can see myself living the rest of my days with Mea by my side. Whenever I’m with her, it feels like home. You know that feeling you get when you’re at a mall then you can’t decide which place to eat? Then after countless moments, you end up saying….Aaah, Jollibee!!! She’s my Chicken Joy! haha..But seriously, that’s how I exactly feel about her, like a childhood memory calling you from deep within your subconscious mind. I kind of over exaggerated there but you get the point!
6. Mini Boracay
Now, let’s move on to Mini Boracay! It’s basically a small white-sand beach, hence the name. What’s interesting about it is that there’s a huge rock where you can go cliff-diving. But wait! What’s even more interesting is that it looks like “Pride Rock” in “The Lion King.” It looked like the other half of a split rock and it’s about 20 feet high.
Anyways, you do have to ask your boatmen to take you to this beach because it’s not part of the tour. But yeah, we got more than we asked for.
And that’s what I got from Mea…
I knew I was a lucky guy when she said yes to me but I thought I was only getting a smart and gorgeous girl to be my girlfriend. Lo behold! I was wrong. The more I got to know her, I saw a kind-hearted, God-fearing, and family-oriented woman who deserves the most expensive wedding ring in the world.
7. Bantigue Island
The last stop of the Isla de Gigantes island hopping tour but definitely not the least. Why? One word…Scallops! You can buy a bag for only PHP100 which has about 100 pieces in it. And yes, there’s also a long stretch of a sandbar that can offer you spectacular views of the other islands. You can also pitch your tents here and camp for the night if you want to do some stargazing.
Were we satisfied? Yes of course and I’ll just leave it that way.
And that’s what I feel right now…
I’m satisfied and contented with what Mea and I have. I won’t give it up for anything….plain as that..
But now that you’ve read through this long post, let me show you how to get to Isla de Gigantes.
How To Get There:
If you’re coming from Iloilo City, you need to take note of the boat trips from Bancal Port (Carles) to Langub Port (Isla de Gigantes) and vice versa so you can schedule your whole trip.
Bancal Port To Langub Port
9:00 AM – Inday Lucy
2:00 PM – Justine’s Place
Langub Port To Bancal Port
11:00 AM – Inday Lucy
4:00 PM – Justine’s Place
The best time to travel is around 5 AM in the morning and since there aren’t any jeepneys around that time, just take a taxi cab going to Jaro Tagbak Terminal. Tell your driver to drop you off at the van terminal going to Bancal Port.
From there, it would be a 2 to 3-hour ride from Iloilo City to Bancal Port, Carles and fare would cost P200/person. You’ll probably arrive around 8:00-8:30 in the morning which will give you enough time to buy tickets and rest for a little bit.
Tickets cost P70/person and the environmental fees cost P75/person. They will give you tours to choose from once you arrive there so better do your research before hand on the cheapest tours online. There’s lot of Gigantes Island tours on Facebook.
However, I’d suggest you get the Northcoast Island Resort Tours because they have an amazing place and atmosphere. You can check out their FB Page for inquiries.
You can also hire a boat directly at Bancal Port if you prefer. They offer day tours and here are the rates.
A. Small Boat- 1-10 persons- P3500
B. Medium Boat- 11-15 persons- P5000
C.Big Boat- 16-30 persons-P6000
If ever you change your mind and decide to stay at a resort, just tell your boatmen and they will find you one. You do have to pay an extra fee of P1000 per night so it’s not really practical. Just get a tour if I were you.
So that’s basically it, it’s pretty easy to get there. If ever you have any questions, feel free to drop them at the comments section below.