Iloilo’s Paradise: Isla De Gigantes

6 Oct

Iloilo City has always been a favorite gatehub to the world-renown Boracay Island. Guimaras is also one of the more popular destinations when visiting the city. But this year was different for me. Being the city’s frequent visitor, I was happy to explore more of what it can offer to its tourists. And I got an exhilarating fill of Mother Nature that was infinitely unique to other Philippine destinations that I’ve experienced.  

Before I go on and on about how amazing this tour was, I’d like to recommend the tour package that we were blessed to have. Gigantes Experience Travel & Tours made sure that our trip was easily the best and most comfortable vacation for all of us. Everything was very well-planned and we were taken care of so profusely that we felt guilty for just sitting back and doing nothing. I have been traveling for most parts of my adult life, and this, by far, is one of my most favorite trips here in my country. Mr Christopher Salao (or Kuya Tope) was the epitome of Filipino hospitality. Every penny we paid for was worth it, or even more. He made sure that we were extremely-fed and happy all throughout the entire trip. If you want the same experience, please feel free to contact Kuya Tope at this number: +63 906 502 5250, or you can also check out their facebook page: GigantesExperienceTour .

To give you a sneak peek of our trip, please check out this video:

Isla de Gigantes is a litter of islands in the Western part of the Visayan sea.  According to our tour guide, coffins with the bones of giants were found inside the caves around the island. The skeletons showed indications of the existence of giants that grew to be as tall as 8 feet. Thus, how the island was named.

My friends and me left Iloilo City at 12:00 NN. A van was arranged to take us from the city to Estancia. It took us around 2 & 1/2 hours to get to the port. Our van comfortably fit the 8 of us. When we got to the port, we got a colorful treat of cute little boats lined up on the dock side, ready to take tourists to their island destinations. It took us another 2 to 3 hours to get from the pier to the island where we would be staying for the night.

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Picturesque view of Estancia Port

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Life jackets were provided during our trip, but we didn’t really need it that time because the sea was very calm.

As we neared our destination, we were able to take the time to drop by two islands that gave us an exciting appetizer of what we would be marveling all throughout the weekend. At the sight of the islands, we were all giddy with anticipation. We did not miss the chance to take a few shots at the front of our cute, little boat.

I couldn't help admiring this when I saw the amazing view. This is me doing my staple pose whenever I get really excited. (c) IG: Bakemason

I couldn’t help admiring this when I saw the amazing view. This is me doing my staple pose whenever I get really excited. (c) IG: Bakemason

(c) IG: Bakemason

(c) IG: Bakemason

Most of us had our cameras out, we desperately wanted to capture the view. (c) IG: Bakemason

Most of us had our cameras out, we desperately wanted to capture the view. (c) IG: Bakemason

Our first stop was at the Tangke Saltwater Lagoon. We were lucky that the weather was really good that day. Under normal circumstances, boats would find it hard to dock on this spot because of the strong waves. It would be impossible for them to steady the boat without hitting the huge rock formations lining the entire place. Since the sea was really calm when we visited, we had no problems at all. Though, we weren’t able to swim because the lagoon was barely filled with seawater, our eyes were filled instead with the jaw-dropping sight of angry rock crevices that demanded to be seen. It was literally like we were inside the arms of the most enchanted side of Gaia. The beautiful mix of greens and grays reminded me a lot of scenes from Jurassic Park or the Amazon Jungles.

The lagoon was nestled between huge rock formations that were artistically arranged by the angry waves that surrounded the whole place. (c) IG: Bakemason

The lagoon was nestled between huge rock formations that were artistically arranged by the angry waves that surrounded the whole place. (c) IG: Bakemason

It might look easy, but it was a real challenge climbing from the top of the rocks down to the lagoon. Thankfully, it wasn't slippery and I managed to do this pose with only my slippers protecting my feet. (c) IG: Bakemason

It might look easy, but it was a real challenge climbing from the top of the rocks down to the lagoon. Thankfully, it wasn’t slippery and I managed to do this pose with only my slippers protecting my feet. (c) IG: Bakemason

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After we saw our boat man showcase his cliff-jumping skills, two of us, decided to try it ourselves. The water was really inviting, but since we already had to leave for our next destination, not all of us were able to swim here. (c) IG: Bakemason

The boat then took us to the best place to catch and capture a killer view of the sunset, Bantigue Island. This place reminded me a lot of the White Island in Camiguin. Only, I wasn’t able to witness the same thing there. The sand bar was filled with vast white sands and we got to enjoy the beautiful glow of the sun as it bid farewell and give way to the rising nightfall.

Sandbar in Bantigue Island.

Sandbar in Bantigue Island.

Sunset View (c) IG: Bakemason

Sunset View (c) IG: Bakemason

(c) IG: Bakemason

(c) IG: Bakemason

We felt so blessed to have witnessed this.

We felt so blessed to have witnessed the beautiful play of orange and yellow, fighting with the beautiful melding of the slowly darkening sky.

Contented with the few minutes that we got to spend in the Sand Bar, we agreed to head to our final stop for the day, Antonia Island Resort. We got there after sunset, so it was a bit dark already. The secluded island was really quiet and absolutely unspoiled by technology. There was barely cell signal, and absolutely no internet connection. Electricity was made available only at night through a generator that was only turned on during the evenings. It truly was an escape from the topsy-turvy realities of the city. No internet made us appreciate nature more. No cell signal forced us to talk to each other. And the limited electricity made us see the stars in all its wonderful glory.

The quite serenity of seeing the tranquil sea and hearing the gentle waves hit the shore.  (c) IG: Bakemason

The beautiful pink and violet sky was littered with glittering stars that could only be visible in places like these.

The playful pink and violet sky was littered with glittering stars that could only be visible in places like these. (c) IG: Bakemason

 (c) IG: Bakemason

(c) IG: Bakemason

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Dinner was expertly prepared for us. We were treated to plates of crabs, scallops, vegetables, and fish fingers. The grapefruit juice was exquisite as well.

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It was culinary-heaven to have lots and lots of scallops in our menu. This is usually expensive when you buy it from restaurants in the city, but in here, it seemed like they had an ample supply of seafood, so they naturally treated us to plates and plates of it. And we weren’t complaining at all.  (c) IG: Bakemason

The crabs were really good too! Generous servings were cooked for us.

The crabs were really good too! Generous servings were cooked for us. (c) IG: Bakemason

We capped off the night with some bonfire, good music, and a few glasses of alcohol.

We capped off the night with some bonfire, good music, and a few glasses of alcohol. (c) IG: Bakemason

We stayed by the beach with our little bonfire and random stories, until close to midnight.

We stayed by the beach with our little bonfire and random stories, until close to midnight. (c) IG: Bakemason

All of us shared a huge tent carefully situated in the island. We all had foams inside and though it was raining during the first hour of the morning, their tents held strong and we slept through it. 

Front view of our tent of 8.

Front view of our tent of 8. (c) IG: Bakemason

Inside were lined with foams for all of us. We peacefully slept through the night. It was kind of hot inside during the evenings. But they did allow guests to sleep on the beachside. Some of us did. It was perfectly safe to sleep outside as well. People in the resort were very respectful, helpful, and polite. (c) IG: Bakemason

Inside were lined with foams for all of us. We peacefully slept through the night. It was kind of hot inside during the evenings. But they did allow guests to sleep on the beachside. Some of us did. It was perfectly safe to sleep outside as well. People in the resort were very respectful, helpful, and polite. (c) IG: Bakemason

We all shared a public toilet with the other guests in the island. They have seawater to flush, but you can also buy fresh water from the little store. It cost Php 25.00 per bucket.

We all shared a public toilet with the other guests in the island. They have seawater to flush, but you can also buy fresh water from the little store. It cost Php 25.00 per bucket. (c) IG: Bakemason

We started our day with this sumptuous Filipino breakfast feast. It was the perfect jumpstart to our long day.

We started our day with this sumptuous Filipino breakfast feast. It was the perfect jumpstart to our long day. (c) IG: Bakemason

The resort offers various activities to its visitors. Water Sports were available. Some of us even tried the jetski. Others went for snorkeling, and there were also some who explored the cave on the resort.

The resort offers various activities to its visitors. Water Sports were available. Some of us even tried the jetski. Others went for snorkeling, and there were also some who explored the cave on the resort. (c) IG: Bakemason

We spent the first few hours of the day going around and taking pictures of the spectacular sights inside the island. I could not even begin to explain how stunning the whole place was. I don’t think there would be enough words to describe the intoxicating feeling of everything that we saw. We couldn’t get enough of the place. I personally think that one night was still not enough for our eyes to completely memorize every detail of the island.

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Bird’s Eye view of the front stretch. (c) IG: Bakemason

(c) IG: Bakemason

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One of my most favorite shot from my dear friend, James. Check out more of his photos in his IG account: bakemason

(c) IG: Bakemason

(c) IG: Bakemason

At around 10:30, we set off to see the other islands. Our first stop for the day was at Cabugao Gamay. What made this place interesting was the viewing deck. You’d have to crawl inside a small opening to get to view everything from the top. Common here are the brilliant rock formations that made the experience standout from the common island hopping adventures in other provinces.

Rocks were piled up on top of each other on the side of the beach.

Rocks were piled up on top of each other on the side of the beach. (c) IG: Bakemason

The soft, white sand inspired this jump shot. (c) IG: Bakemason

The soft, white sand inspired this jump shot.

Entrance to the viewing deck (c) IG: Bakemason

Who wouldn’t fall in love with this place? (c) IG: Bakemason

Chilling with the gang.

Chilling with the gang. Luckily, we were still able to take a photo of the place while it wasn’t crowded yet. (c) IG: Bakemason

Back-view of the Island.

Back-view of the Island.

After braving the crazy heat, we set ourselves off to the next island, Cabugao Dako. Here, we were able to swim with the fishes and enjoy the sparkling, blue seawater. And of course, more rock formations to admire.

Rock Formations (c) IG: Bakemason

Under the Sea

Under the Sea

(c) IG: Bakemason

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(c) IG: Bakemason

After taking our fill of the pristine waters, we headed back to Antonia Island Resort. We had another mouth-watering meal for lunch.

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(c) IG: Bakemason

Halaan for lunch.

Halaan for lunch. (c) IG: Bakemason

Steamed Dory Fish

Steamed Dory Fish (c) IG: Bakemason

After packing up all our things, we headed out to our next and final stop: Small Hidden Lagoon. Admittedly, it was hard for our boat to dock. Thankfully, our boat man was quite the expert in navigating our ride. It wasn’t long before we were all piling up to check out the place. 

(c) IG: Bakemason

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It was sad that we were about to end the trip already. If only we could do it all over again, I would gladly spend another weekend in these islands. I wouldn’t mind going here again and again for the nth time. My eyes simply could not get enough of the stunning views and unspoiled nook and crannies of nature. I felt so blessed to have been given the opportunity to see all the best parts of my country. And I would never get tired of describing to everyone who would care to listen about how exquisite Isla De Gigantes is.

The Isla De Gigantes gang, signing off! :)

The Isla De Gigantes gang, signing off! 🙂

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2 Responses to “Iloilo’s Paradise: Isla De Gigantes”

  1. Paige (bookdragon) @ thewildreaders March 16, 2016 at 10:36 pm #

    HI, ask ko lang po if you took the package tour and if yes po, how much po for 8 pax? 8 din po kasi kaming pupunta sa Gigantes..

    • Sheryl Blossom March 25, 2016 at 5:03 am #

      Hi, Im sorry for the late reply. Im not sure how much they price it now because it’s summer time. Bt you can contact the number I indicated in the blog. The owner is very helpful and accommodating 🙂 I hope you enjoy!

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