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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Rugged Beauty of Islas de Gigantes

Iloilo Day 3

We woke up early the next day for our island hopping activity. We arranged one with Kuya Joel for PHP 1200. We only needed a small boat since there were just the two of us. Of course, breakfast first!

sweet and sour fish

We were still on a high from the seafood galore we had the other night and here we go again. :)

scrambled egg 

Kuya Joel told us not to worry about our food expenses. He promised it'll be inexpensive. You can actually request for a particular food and they will check it in the market for you if it's available.

dried fish

We had no complaints though. We liked everything they served to us. When breakfast was over, we immediately proceeded to the shore.

Our guide for the day was Kuya Jingle. He is Kuya Joel's close friend and was doing a guiding stint for him. We just grabbed our dry bag and snorkeling gears and went.

our 1st stop

Uaydahon was our first island. This was the only island we went to which has an actual signage. It also has open cottages and hammocks where you can rest.

totally rocks!

It looked a bit similar to a rocky beach in Batanes, only more scattered rocks that were irregularly shaped and jagged.

deep blue something

The beach was so rocky that we didn't try to swim nor snorkel. We just did some rock climbing. A little dangerous but fun! :)

it's the climb

While island hopping, we passed by Gigantes Sur. It reminded me of our misadventure the day before, but it felt great that we were able to travel around it on a habal-habal. The view was astonishing.

passing by Gigantes Sur

Our next stop was Antonia Beach. Oh la la!  Pristine beach, white sand, inviting waters, beautiful rock formation and snorkeling spot - ALL checked!

immaculate beach

This was where we stayed the longest. Aside from the fact that this was where we had our lunch, we swam and snorkeled for a good couple of hours here.

peculiar yet lovely

I knew from the moment I saw that rock formation that I will find myself climbing it up and sitting on it.

and there I was  ;)

It is the best spot to enjoy the breathtaking and refreshing scenery of the color-changing sea and nearby islands. I didn't care if it was hot. I loved what I was seeing and was enjoying the sea breeze.

see what I'm taking about?

When you grew tired of sight seeing, it's time to test those snorkel and goggles. The back beach houses some corals and fishes. Unfortunately, when we were there we didn't get to see that many sea creatures.

water so clear :)

Back to the front beach, we ate our lunch while appreciating this enchanting view.

dream-like panorama

There was this family of dogs in the island. People close to me knows how much of a dog-lover I am. I felt sad for them because they were so malnourished. Kuya Jingle said they were abandoned by their owners and was left behind in the island. They just live through the left over food given by the tourists and locals passing by. Still, they were happy welcoming people visiting the island. Just like the younger Pi, in the book (and movie) Life of Pi, I believe that animals have souls too. Just look into their eyes.

island dogs

The dogs followed us until we boarded the boat. I was looking at them as we went farther and farther and as they got smaller and smaller. It was heart breaking. Or maybe just for me, who loves animals (especially dogs). Emotional me.

sigh :'(

Trying to forget that sadness, I got excited for our next destination. But the bummer of them all - was us, unable to visit the supposedly highlight of all the attractions in Gigantes which is the Tangke Salt Water Lagoon. They say, this is similar to one of those that can be found in El Nido, Palawan.

the Tangke from a far

I badly wanted to see and experience it myself but it was the height of monsoon season when we visited. Our boatman and guide tried their best to get us there but the current and the waves were too strong to contend with. It was very difficult to get close to the lagoon entrance as tenacious waves continuously hit our vessel. Our safety comes first, so we backed-off. We will probably revisit Gigantes because of this. Damn.

islands waiting to be explored

So we just sailed to the next island destination on the list. Cabugao Dako (Big) and Cabugao Gamay (Small) are just next to each other. Yes, the name implies its literal translation.

Cabugao Gamay

There's nothing special in Dako, so we just went straight to Gamay. Unlike the other islands, there are people settling here.

local's goats

Again, I felt the urge to climb these rocks haha.

rockin it ;)

Rock formation here is very similar to that of Antonia Beach. There's just more vegetation here.

inviting turquoise waters

I love going to far-off places like this. You'll always have an island all to yourself. Total freedom and happiness! :)

clear sunny day

White sand strip + crystal clear waters + coconut trees = tropical paradise, right? When we're tired of rock climbing and swimming, we just sunbathed and tanned ourselves a bit more.

Our last stop for the day was the Bantigue Island Sand Bar. We went there the latest because low tide is in the afternoon and that's when we'll see it in all its glory.

gentle waves kissing the sand bar

The sand bar is immense that we were only able to walk through portions of it. I love sand bars. Every sand bar I went to had there own distinct characteristics. This is one is more laid back than the others. It's a perfect place for contemplation.

Bantigue Sand Bar

Of course, after traipsing in the sand bar we went swimming again. We didn't stay very long in the sand bar though. Kuya Jingle asked us if we want to go caving and our answer was YES. We immediately headed back to Gigantes Norte before the sun sets. Nobody wants to trek to the cave in the dark hehe.

cute-shaped islets

We had a super time hopping the islands of Gigantes. Not being able to see the Tangke was a downer, but it was alright. I think I've seen enough of its beauty to find out what make these islands mystical and yet alluring. But it wasn't over yet, our adventure continued spelunking a cave! :)

This is Part 5 of my Iloilo travel series.


  1. Will go to these islands one day. :)Love that there's a sand bar, too - my favorite.

  2. Claire, you'll love it there. As for me, I'll be back for the lagoon and more caves. And for the seafood feast! Takaw lang haha :)