2018 ISLAS DE GIGANTES TRAVEL GUIDE | BUDGET AND ITINERARY
Here’s your latest Islas de Gigantes Travel Guide.
We at The Happy Trip just concluded our latest adventure at Islas de Gigantes. The group of islands and islets, popularly known as Islas de Gigantes or Gigantes Islands is located in the Municipality of Carles in the Province of Iloilo, Philippines.
Cabugaw Gamal Island: The most photographed Island in Islas de Gigantes
ABOUT ISLAS DE GIGANTES
The town of Carles in Iloilo can be found in the Northern most of Panay Island. Definitely, the place is far from the chaotic and busy city life. While Islas de Gigantes ( Gigantes Islands) started to attract a good number of tourists both local and abroad, the place is still free from the usual beach party life like the most popular beach or summer destinations are offering.
Islas de Gigantes (a.k.a as Gigantes Island, Isla Gigantes) is blessed with spectacular sceneries, clear waters, and white sand beaches. The rich vast blue seascape brimming with rich marine life; interesting caverns and caves; Palawan like rock formations and the long stretch of white sand beaches are just some of the reasons for people to visit the place.
Gigantes Islands is composed of 2 big islands (Gigantes Norte and Gigantes Sur) and ten Islets, namely: Cabugao Gamay, Cabugay Daku, Balbagon, Waydahun, Bulubadiang, Bantigue, Gigantillo, Gakitgakit, Gigantona and Ojatras.
ISLAS DE GIGANTES TRAVEL BUDGET
Here’s my personal budget when we visited Islas de Gigantes. Please take note, that this budget was based on my place of origin – Bacolod City.
–Bacolod to Iloilo (Fastcraft Fare) – 260.00
-Iloilo Port to Tagbak Terminal (Taxi Fare) – 150.00
-Tagbak to Carles (Ceres Bus) – 197.00
-1 night, 2 day tour Package – 1,699.00
-Overnight Stay at Red Mandarin Beach Resort, Brgy. Barosbos, Carles – 500.00 (the air-conditioned room we got was priced at 1,000). But we divide the fee because I was with a friend. The room we got can actually accommodate 4 pax. So if you are traveling as a group, you can even save more. Our dinner was sponsored by friends who are staying in Carles. The reason why we stayed overnight at Barosbos is for us to arrive at Bancal Port before 9 am.
-Tricycle from Red Mandarin Beach Resort, Barosbos – Php 25.00/pax
-Fare to Iloilo City (Van) – 250.00, the van usually charged at 200/pax. But some of our fellow passengers going to Bacolod opted to take the RORO Vessel in Dumangas and the van driver decided to bring them at the port for an additional fee of 50/pax. Realizing that it will also be convenient for us, we also decided to take the RORO going back to Bacolod.
-RORO Fare to Bacolod – PHP 96/pax, plus 30 terminal fee
ISLAS DE GIGANTES TOUR PACKAGE
I think the most practical way to enjoy Islas de Gigantes is to avail of the tour packages. In our case, we availed the 2 days/1 night tour package at a very affordable price of PHP 1,699.00 only.
The inclusion of this package includes the following:
-Private service to and from Gigantes Islands and Bancal Port.
-Room Accommodation (Fan Room only). Please don’t expect for a spectacular accommodation. However, the nipa hut that was given to us was already acceptable and decent. However, the toilet for the accommodation in this tour package is common or shared. If you wish to be upgraded to an air-conditioned accommodation with private bath, you can approach the resort staff at an extra cost of course.
-Full Board Meals During the Tour.This is one thing that you have to consider, they offer unlimited of great food such as crabs, scallops, squid, grilled fish, soda and much more. Snacks are not included, so you may bring your own snack items if you are used to having in between meals.
-You can ask for coffee or milo anytime.
-Entrance and environmental fees are included in the Gigantes Island package
Note: Solo travelers may join a big group.
ISLAS DE GIGANTES ITINERARY
-8:30 am to 8:45 am: Assembly at Bancal Port Carles
-8:45 am to 9:00 am: Registration at the Tourism office.Participants may opt to wear already their swimming attire and just use some cover ups as island hopping starts the moment you leave Bancal Port. A comfort room is available at the port.
-9:00 am: Departure for Islas de Gigantes (please take note that this itinerary may change depending on sea conditions.
-Pulupandan Island- Photo op
-Tanke (Enchanted Lagoon) – While at Tanke you may try Cliff diving and Swimming
12NN: Check-in | Lunch at the resort.
-Cabugao Gamay. This island is the most photograph spot in Islas de Gigantes.
-Antonia Beach- Snorkeling and swimming plus picture taking. Antonia Beach offers Banana boat ride at PhP 200/pax (minimum of 5 heads) and Jetski at PHP 2000 every 30 minutes. These rides are no longer included in the Gigantes Island package.
-Back to the resort
-8:00pm: free time
Pulupandan Islet at Gigantes Islands
We were feed with these freshly catch seafood during our trip at Gigantes Island
-Bakwitan Cave. Spelunking at Bakwitan Cave takes 2 to 2.5 hours. The activity includes boulder climbing, trekking, etc. The level of difficulty of this activity ranges from moderate to difficult depending on your physical condition. I don’t suggest bringing kids while doing spelunking. People with physical difficulty may opt to forego this activity as well.
-Light House. The lighthouse can be traced back in the 1800’s so I guess its worth to visit the place while in Gigantes Island.
-Mini Boracay. This place offers superfine talcum-like sand.
-Balbagon Island (we opted not to visit this Island anymore as we are catching some schedules)
-12:45 pm: Quick shower | Lunch
-1:30 pm: Travel back to Bancal port
For bookings and reservation please call or text: 09157595000 and look for Paul.
The Lighthouse at Islas de Gigantes
ISLAS DE GIGANTES TRAVEL TIPS
- Only Smart and Sun Cellular have signals at Gigantes Island. If you a postpaid subscriber to other telecom networks, you can simply buy prepaid Sim cards from Smart or Sun Cellular.
- No banks and ATM Machines at Gigantes Island.So bring enough cash.
- Sunscreen is a must when visiting the Island. Whenever possible use sunblock with high SPF, remember you will be in the water most of the time.
- You can bring some snack with you. However, sari-sari stores are also accessible on the Island.
- Bring your towel, shampoo, and soap. They are not provided at the resort.
- Electricity is already available on the island.
- Bring bottled water for the Island Hopping. You can also have it refilled at the resort for free.
- Don’t forget your medicines especially if you have some maintenance.Of course, a first aid kit would be very helpful.
- I was very happy that I brought along with me my action camera along with my DSLR. Since water activities are nice things to do while navigating Gigantes Island, action cameras came in very handy. On the other hand, my DSLR allowed me to take high-resolution photographs. Whenever possible, extra batteries are very helpful.
Bakwitan Cave A.K.A Pawikan Cave
HOW TO GET TO ISLAS DE GIGANTES
Via Roxas Airport, Roxas City, Capiz
If you are coming from Manila, you may opt to go to Islas de Gigantes via Roxas Airport in Roxas City, Capiz because it’s the nearest airport. From Roxas City, you can take the Ceres buses (Vallacar Transit) with Estancia Route.
Via Iloilo International Airport, Iloilo City.
If no flights are available are available from your place of origin to Roxas Airport, you can take the Iloilo International Airport which is serving more flights and destinations. From Iloilo International Airport, take a van going to Iloilo City and from there take another ride going to Tagbak Terminal in Jaro District, You may opt to take a taxi directly from Iloilo International Airport via Taxi at an approximately 20-30 minute drive. From Tagbak terminal, you may opt to take either Ceres Bus (Vallacar Transit) or Van traveling to Carles or Estancia.
Traveling by bus may take 3-4 hours at PhP 190/pax while traveling by Van might be a bit faster by 30 minutes and at PhP 200/pax. However, buses are more comfortable because it offers more legroom.
Via Kalibo Airport | Boracay
For people coming from Boracay, you will be traveling first to Kalibo first at an approximately 1 hour.
From Kalibo, you need to travel via Roxas City as there no buses or vans traveling from these places to Carles or Estancia.
From Bacolod City
From Bacolod City, you can take the fast craft to Iloilo City. From the seaport, take a taxi to Tagbak Terminal at about PHP 150. Then take the bus or Van going to Carles at PhP 190/pax.
You may also take the RORO (slow ferry) to Dumangas Port at PHP 96/pax with a travel time of 2 hours. From the port, you will travel to Barotac Nuevo, where you can get a bus or van to Estancia.
From Bancal Port to Islas de Gigantes
The most convenient and popular jump off point going to Islas de Gigantes is the Bancal Port in Carles. At Bancal Port you will find a Tourism Office wherein you will pay for your environment fee. You can also ask for some assistance in this office.
Travel time from Bancal to Gigantes Islands is approximately 1 to 1.5 hours covering 14 nautical miles.
A regular scheduled local passenger pump boat runs once daily from Bancal Port to Gigantes Norte Island. The pump boat departs Bancal Port at 10 AM and leaves the Island at 2 PM. However, those who are availing the tour packages are served special trips by the tour operators at their agreed scheduled time.