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Make the Most Out of Your Isla de Gigantes Tour with This Guide

Pitch a tent, swim, enjoy fresh seafood, and commune with nature all in one place

By: Hyacinth Bangero | January 01, 2021
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Isla de Gigantes is open for day tours only. Operating hours and protocols for tourists may change depending on COVID-19 trends, so please coordinate with the local government unit before visiting.

Isla de Gigantes Iloilo adventure

Get ready for an unforgettable trip!

Estancia and Carles in Iloilo are the two towns with ports that have trips to a newly discovered tourist destination—Isla de Gigantes. Although the place is still a two-and-a-half-hour travel by land from Iloilo City and a two-hour boat ride from either port, Isla de Gigantes started to gain popularity among tourists in late 2015.

Isla de Gigantes is really a chain of islands within the larger Western Visayas archipelago in the Visayan Sea. It is near Estancia, Iloilo, in terms of proximity but it officially belongs to the Municipality of Carles.

1. Tangke Salt Water Lagoon

Isla de Gigantes Iloilo adventure

Be in awe as you see a paradise hidden inside this cathedral-like limestone rock formation.

Image: Taga Cabatuan Ako Iloilo Facebook page

Tangke Salt Water Lagoon is what easily comes to mind when tourists hear of the islands of the giants. Every tourist and local who visits Isla de Gigantes could not resist the salt water pool that is enclosed in the steep cliff limestone rock formation at the southern part of the islands. They really don’t mind a little bit of rock climbing that they have to do in order to have a glimpse of the hidden paradise.

You only have to pay for an environmental fee when you visit. But you also have to observe the CLAYGO or clean-as-you-go principle when you come to see the lagoon in order to maintain the cleanliness and beauty of the place. Swimming is allowed and you should remember to take photos as a souvenir of your communion with nature.

2. Cabugao Island

Isla de Gigantes Iloilo adventure

Swim with your family and friends in whichever side of Cabugao Island you’d like to.

Image: Dante Lampa Facebook page

Isla de Gigantes captured the attention of tourists because of its picturesque islands. In particular, Cabugao Island became a landmark after tourists discovered that climbing its highest point would allow you to view the entire stretch of the island. There are several cottages that can be rented as you arrive there.

You can also buy snacks and drinks from stores on the island when you go hungry after hiking and swimming. Just prepare some change if you plan to buy from these stores or rent a cottage. For your convenience, you can make prior arrangements with the Municipal Tourism Office of Carles, Iloilo, or directly with the management.

3. Norte Lighthouse

Isla de Gigantes Iloilo adventure

Approaching Norte Lighthouse—view from a boat

Image: Gabriel Gabrillo Facebook page

It is not only the beach that tourists can enjoy at Isla de Gigantes. Lately, locals have included in their tour packages a visit to the Norte Lighthouse. It is where you can see a lighthouse adjacent to the ruins of a building. The lighthouse currently serves as a viewing deck whenever the caretaker is around. It is a good place for tourists to appreciate the view of the entire Isla de Gigantes from the top.

4. Bakwitan Cave

Isla de Gigantes Iloilo adventure

Rock formation at Bakwitan Cave

Travelling the Philippines Facebook page

What’s more to see in Isla de Gigantes? If you and your friends are into cave exploration, the Gigantes Island adventure is for you. You can see stalactites and stalagmites as you explore Bakwitan Cave.

5. Antonia Island

Isla de Gigantes Iloilo adventure

There is always a perfect spot for relaxation and some “me time” at Antonia Island.

Image: Richanthony Arlante Facebook page

A bunch of water sports and activities is available at Antonia Island. If you and your friends or family would like to ride a banana boat or speed boat, pitch a tent, eat seafood, and take pictures, then going to Antonia Island must be part of your plan.

It is also the place at Gigantes Islands where you can buy fresh shellfish like diwal (angel wing clams) and scallops for a very cheap price. Depending on the season, seafood on this island is sometimes sold per piece.

Meanwhile, if you want to stay overnight, you can also rent a tent and achieve your squad or family goals. Or if you want to soak in the water all day, the seawater around Antonia Island is perfect for you—it is crystal-clear, cold, and swimmer-friendly.

6. Bantigue Sandbar


Tourists watch the waves merge into one another at Bantigue Sandbar.

Bantigue Island Sandbar recently earned nationwide attention after a group of scientists saw the potential of developing medical drugs out of marine sediments found there. This great news, which called for the protection of the sandbar where the microorganisms were seen, has drawn more tourists to the place.

Budget-conscious travelers appreciate that they can commune with nature at Isla de Gigantes without spending a fortune. If you’re on a budget, you can take one of the commuter pump boats that regularly have trips to the islands. If you’re going there with a big group, you can reserve a pump boat in advance for around PhP3,000 to PhP5,000.

The beauty of the islands at Isla de Gigantes is not the only thing that draws people there. The hospitality of the tour guides, who are at the same time the pump boat captains, the warm accommodation of the owners and managers of beach resorts, the deliciously cooked seafood, and the clean, crystal-clear waters surrounding the islands are all part of the reason why tourists are attracted to this hidden paradise of Iloilo.

Visit Yoorekka to discover more guides to beautiful tourist spots in the Philippines!

Prices may change without prior notice.

Stay safe as you travel! Make sure to follow social distancing protocols and observe health precautions wherever you go. Have a great trip!

This article was originally published in Yoorekka on July 23, 2018.
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About Hyacinth Bangero
She is a young broadcast journalism professor and marketing officer of the University of San Agustin. She's a proud volunteer of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines. Hyacinth is geared to educate, experience, and explore.
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Disclaimer: All articles in the Consumers Magazine of Yoorekka are for general information and entertainment purposes only. Although careful research has been made in writing them, Yoorekka does not make any warranty about the completeness and accuracy of all information presented in our articles. Our content is not intended to be used in place of legal, medical, or any professional advice.
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