Islas de Gigantes | Carles, Iloilo Province
Is it just me feeling that Boracay’s reopening did not lure the hordes of tourists back to the island? Or is it just warming up? Whatever there is, one thing is sure, its closure opened opportunities for other islands to steal the show. Take Islas de Gigantes in Carles, Iloilo.
Islas de Gigantes already made ripples on social media before we said goodbye to Boracay. But its gentle murmurs swelled into big waves when many tourists turned to other islands for “holiday refuge”.
And this string of islands, 120 kilometers north from Iloilo City did not disappoint. In fact, I feel like 2019 is going to be its year!
Taming the Giants: Islas de Gigantes
There are about 10 islands off the coast of Carles. Gigantes Norte & Gigantes Sur are the biggest & the rest are islets that are sure to tickle the inspirations to get you start packing.
While it’s part of Iloilo Province, the shortest way to get here is from Roxas City. V-Hires & buses ply this route regularly & if it’s not much of steal, they bring you straight to Bancal Port.
There are modest accommodations on the island. But seriously, a day trip there is enough. I personally recommend staying at Solina Beach & Nature Resort in mainland Carles. Click here to check rates.
Palm-lined shores, swaths of white sand & technicolor turquoise water make up our dreams of paradise. But we know not all islands are created the same. Islas de Gigantes just happen to have a patch of everything: stunning beaches, karst formations, lagoons & sandbars all in one go.
Cabugao Gamay is the poster island of Islas de Gigantes. No trip here is ever complete without a mandatory shot at this spot. Well why not when all the elements of a beautiful backdrop are here.
Sexy blond beach lines & jungle-crept outcrops on both sides is the winning combination of Antonia Island. Add a little shot of rhum & you’ll be just as fine.
How do you achieve that perfect castaway snap for your Instagram? Put a lonesome coconut tree & a shack in the frame! Close it with #solitude for that OA effect.
Bantigue is a short sandbar. It’s pretty but not dramatic. But if you probably come in a red flowing dress & move all the boats somewhere else, there’s hope for a beauty shot.
Tangke Lagoon is Islas de Gigantes’ answer to El Nido’s (Not-So) Secret Lagoon. Towering limestone karst walls crept with age-old trees fill the scene. When it’s high tide, it fills up like a tank, thus “tangke” — simple.
There used to be a 19thcentury lighthouse on Gigantes Norte. But it was damaged by Typhoon Frank in 2008. But the light keeper’s house still remains intact & beautiful. Here, you tell your story in sepia.
If scallops fill your seafood fancy, here it’s P1 per piece only. Just ditch the baked kind with all the shebang of garlic because it just goes fine with vinegar.
There’s more on Islas de Gigantes like Tinagong Dagat, Pawikan Cave as well as Bakwitan Cave. Then there’s Tanguingui & Turnina islands. Above all, there are friendly locals who will bring you to some pretty secret spots for a bowl of mami.
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Betwixt and between the arthritic 40 and a horrendous body mass index of positive 30, escapism and yummyeology are my real-life double post-graduate degrees conferred with the highest honors. I lived nearly half of my life in fancy suitcases, jetsetting between reality and fantasy... read more