Islas de Gigantes is a group of islands under Carles Municipality which is located in Northern part of Iloilo province.
With white beaches, clear waters, and islands of volcanic rocks reminds me of Palawan. One can reach the islands by taking a bus from Iloilo City bound for Carles. It can also be reached by chartering motor boat from Estancia, but it would take longer time and might cost a lot. Also, all tourists going to the islands must register at the tourism outlet in Carles. Tourists coming from Estancia have to pay higher rates. So I recommend taking a land trip and start from Carles, also for proper tourism briefing and process.
We arrived in Carles by night and had our stay in one of the accomodations available in Bancal port.
Started early, we had our quick breakfast on the nearest karenderia. We then went to the nearest tourism station after. There we registered, paid an environmental fee, got island hopping permission, and chartered a motor boat.
First stop: Tanke salt water lagoon
The lagoon was said to be the pool of the giants. The lagoon somehow replicates some of the features of several lagoons in palawan. The water inside was shallow and placid when we arrived. The lagoon is enclosed with giant rocks. Though there are locals with medical kits ready on the site, still extra care must be observed when attempting to climb the rocks.
Second stop: Cabugao Gamay island
The famous picturesque island mostly tagged when advertising “Islas de Gigantes”. The island is blessed with white sands and clear waters. One thing you must not miss is their scallops right on your tables freshly caught from the ocean. The scallops are cheap. Each just costs 1php. Though you have to pay for 75php for the cooking and preparation.
Third stop: Cabugao Dako island (Antonia beach)
Just like Cabugao Gamay, the island also flaunts white beach lines. There is a local resort on the island and you can just buy your meal on the resort.
Fourth stop: Bantigue island sand bar
The island boasts a decent stretch of sand where you can take photos with the neighboring islands as your back draft. The beach is pebble-ish with coarse sands.
We supposedly have one more island left to visit, but we decided to get back to the port for us to have ample amount of time to prepare and commute to catch the last trip bound for Roxas City.
From Bancal port we rode a tricycle to their town proper or “banwa” so their local tongue speaks. From “banwa” we rode another tricycle to Balasan municipality. Then from the Balasan proper to the nearest ceres bus terminal. From Bancal port to Balasan terminal, the trip took around 50 minutes. From Bancal port, there are also motorcycles and tricycles that offer to take you directly to Balasan Ceres bus terminal, but they ask higher price compared to when you do multiple rides.
We waited for the last trip bus bound for Roxas City which arrived by 6:40pm. From Roxas drop point, rode a tricycle to Baybay for our seafood dinner. We stayed in Roxas Pension house just a walk away from Baybay people’s park. We got our air-conditioned room good for 4 people for 800php/12 hours.
- 07:00 Wake-up call, breakfast, and preparation
- 08:00 Arrange with the tourism center (75php; 150php if from Estancia)
- 08:30 Started island hopping (2.5K boat rental)
- 12:00 Lunch at Cabugao Gamay island. Scallops at 1php/piece
- 16:00 ETA back in Bancal Port
- 17:00 ETD to Carles proper via tricycle (15php)
- 17:15 ETA in Carles proper and ETD to Balasan via tricycle (17php)
- 17:40 ETA in Balasan and ETD to Balasan terminal via tricycle (10php)
- 17:50 ETA in Balasan ceres bus terminal
- 18:40 ETD to Roxas City via ceres bus last trip (70php+)
- 20:20 ETA in Roxas City ETD to Baybay, Roxas via tricycle (30php)
- 20:40 ETA in Baybay people’s park and dinner in one of the seafood grill houses
- 21:20 walked to Roxas Pension House and spent the night (800php/room)