Are you looking for an island getaway that has the following: fine, bone white sand, clear waters and beautiful scenery? Gigantes Islands in Iloilo ticks off all these characteristics and then some. You won’t regret visiting this idyllic destination which is gaining popularity, but is still not as commercialized as its more famous counterparts in the country.
WHAT'S IN THIS GUIDE?
How to Get There
Nearest Airport: Roxas Airport (Capiz); Iloilo International Airport, also known as Cabatuan Airport (Iloilo)
You have the option to either fly to Iloilo City or Roxas City from Manila as the starting point of your trip to Gigantes Islands.
Via Roxas City
- Gigantes Islands are technically in Iloilo, but are closer to Roxas City in Capiz.
- After arriving, go to the transportation terminal. You can board a van from Roxas City to Balasan (P65).
- From Balasan, get on a tricycle bound for Bancal Port (P50/person).
- From the port, you can board a public boat to Gigantes Norte (P75), which only has one trip departing at 10:00am.
The entire trip takes around 3-4 hours depending on traffic and waiting time. There is also just one trip going back to Bancal from Gigantes Norte, departing at around 1:00pm.
Via Iloilo City
- From Iloilo City go to Tagbak Terminal, then board a bus bound for Estancia (P190-200). Alternatively, you can get on a van (P200 one way).
- From Estancia Terminal, board a tricycle bound for the port (P10).
- From the port, there are public boats that travel to Gigantes Norte (around P80). You can also charter a private boat if you are a big group for P5000.
The whole trip may take around 5 to 6 hours depending on traffic and waiting times.
Entrance Fee and Other Charges
Environmental Fee: P75
Island Hopping Tour: P1500 – P2000 (good for 10 pax)
Guide Fee: P500
Tourist Attraction Fees: Cabugaw Gamay Island (P50 entrance fee); Antonia Beach (P20 entrance fee); Gigantes Norte Lighthouse (P60 entrance fee); Bakwitan Cave (P500 tour fee, P200 motorcycle roundtrip ride)
- Island hopping is the primary activity. Your chartered boat can take you to Cabugao Gamay Island for the white sand beach and the photo you always see online, snorkel at Antonia Beach, beach bum and swim at Bantigue Sandbar, and go for another round of swimming and photo ops at Tangke Lagoon.
- Other than these places and activities, you can also visit the lighthouse or spend a few hours spelunking in Pawikan or Bakwitan Cave.
- As always bring enough cash once you’re in Gigantes proper as the ATMs are only on the mainland.
- Electricity doesn’t run for 24 hours, charge your gadgets accordingly or bring a power bank or extra batteries.
- Wear a rash guard instead of applying sunscreen as some of the ingredients may harm the underwater ecosystem.
- Bring enough food and water at least for the first day as the island only has small stores with limited options. You can have food cooked at your chosen resort, but tell them early as stocks may run out later in the day.
- Bring your own toiletries such as soap, shampoo and towel as some accommodations don’t provide these.
If You Have More Time and Budget
- After exploring the islands, you can visit the UNESCO-listed Miag-ao Church in Iloilo, explore the old streets in Molo and Jaro, or go to Boracay.
- Alternatively, you can go to Antique to visit Mararison Island and try the kawa hot bath in Tibiao just to name a few more places to visit.
Where to Stay
If you plan to stay longer and explore other places in the province of Iloilo, here are some of the top accommodations according to Agoda users (as of August 2017).
Urban Sands Iloilo Hotel
Richmonde Hotel Iloilo
The Grand Dame Hotel