Islas de Gigantes

September 16, 2016

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A total of about 4-5 hours from Manila and you will get to this island. Very bad signal, no internet. Just some white sand, clear waters and if you’re lucky like us, some awesome weather. Very different from the usual Boracay or Cebu as the province is not yet commercialised. But it was refreshing to see the simple life in the islands of Visayas.

Islas de Gigantes is a group of islands in Carles, Ilo-Ilo. Most of the islands we visited had little coves by the Visayan Sea. To get here, we flew from Manila to Roxas city via PAL and took a tricycle from the airport to the Ceres Bus Terminal. (Side note: The tricycle drivers in Roxas take advantage of tourists. We stayed in Roxas City on our last night and all these tricycle drivers were charging us P 50 – P 100 for a ride that would normally cost P 8 – P 16. Don’t be fooled.) We went to Balasan Terminal via the Ceres Bus and took a tricycle to Bancal Port. You can also choose to ride a van if you want. From Bancal Port, we hired a boat for 2 days (through the tourism rep in that port) for P 4,500 only. And that includes the island hopping and the return transfers from Bancal Port to our hotel (Arjan Hotel). We were 6 in our group. Our boat man, Kuya Nonoy, was really really nice and surprisingly, a very good photographer haha!

Island hopping is basically the only thing you can do in this area. Everything can be done in 1 day. So what we did, we ordered food from Arjan Hotel (our budget was P 150/ head) and they packed it together with plates and utensils since we wanted to have lunch in one of the islands (Bantigui Sand Bar). In Bantigui, they were selling steamed scallops for P 1 each!!! It was so good we ordered 100 pieces! I highly recommend this. Eat it together with spicy vinegar and rice. Yum! We also ordered a case of beer (Arjan Hotel gave us some ice and a cooler) and that was the best decision ever.

* Just a tip, though we really enjoyed the service of Arjan Hotel, don’t be bullied into hiring a “tour guide” from them which they will tell you is “mandatory”.

1. It’s not mandatory to have a tour guide (again, do not be fooled) and 2. After we did the island hopping, we were very happy we didn’t get a tour guide because there was no need for one whatsoever. The owner of the hotel hated our guts. It led to a looong argument but anyway, that’s another story to tell. hahaha!

The next day, we went to Roxas City and stayed at Islands Hotel as our flight back to Manila was quite early. There is nothing to do in Roxas City but eat and well, go to the mall. So that was exactly what we did. We went to the bay and ordered loads of seafood. The seafood in Ilo-Ilo and Roxas are very cheap and they’re all fresh. So make sure you take advantage of this. In this trip, we had grilled fish, grilled squid, crabs, scallops, oysters and some seaweed. For probably less than P 300 per head.

Our Islas de Gigantes trip was a fun experience. I’d say 3 days 2 nights was enough for us to see Carles Ilo-Ilo and Roxas City. Another beautiful Philippine island off my list ✔️😊

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