Isla Gigantes for solo travelers- via Iloilo

Traveling to Gigantes Island  is definitely a bit pain in the arse especially if you’re coming from Iloilo. So best if you get a flight from Manila to Roxas. If your  flight is via Iloilo make sure to get a morning flight.

Day 01 – Manila- Iloilo- Carles

I took a flight leaving Manila at 1:55 PM apparently due to the never ending air traffic in NAIA our flight was delayed and landed past 4 PM.

From the airport  you can take the van to the city.  Fare is only 50php and it takes around 30 minutes. One thing that I noticed when we arrived is how clean and organize the airport is and the highway.. the van will take you to SM then from there you can take a jeep (12php) to Ceres bus terminal  or to the  Van terminal in Tagbak.  Ceres last trip to Carles leaves at 6 while the  van leaves at 4:30 PM.

In my case since it’s  a bit late already I took the last bus to Carles which is unfortunately non aircon and had millions of stops and not to mention, this is my first time traveling SOLO!  So I’m a bit nervous being in the city and taking a bus trip for 4 hrs late at night! Honestly at first it was nervbracking. I kept on telling manong konduktor to make sure to drop me off at my resort or else I am screwed big time lol!. One thing I realized when you’re travelling solo is time seems soooooooo mabagal (slow) it felt like forever and I couldn’t even listen to my Jam! It bothers the hell outta me that the trip is too long and it’s freezing cold.. daig pa pala industrial fan if you’re taking an ordinary bus and I feel like I’m so gassy already hahahha.. you know what I mean. And what’s a bit  creepy with my bus trip  is that I was the last passenger getting off!! “Stuffs” are starting to play in my silly little  head,  lots of “what if’s” hahaha . I was trying to remember what my Muay Thai coach was  teaching me and the one that sticks in my head is poke your attacker’s eye and give him a nice nice hook, straight and upper cut .. also, how to kick the balls hahaha.. oooh I was so ready to kick someone’s butt that time 😂😂. The guys are nice tho, infact I’ve learned from manong konduktor  that he used to work in Manila and lived near my place so yeah I was just overthinking apparently 😁.

I finally arrived in Red Mandarin Resort around 9 PMish (can’t remember exactly😬) and found out that Ilongos are very fond of Karaoke lol.. there are bunch of guys singing some pinoy songs like “beer” i’m not sure of the tittle lol.  And I was starving, the resort only serves food until 9 but luckily they are kind enough to still serve me fried chicken and rice with some very well sliced carrots I think yung Kerots talaga nagdala dun sa food lol.

Day 02 – Carles to Isla Gigangtes

For solo or budget travelers I recommend that you pre-book a  group tour. It’s way cheaper and convenient than DIY since going to Gigantes is not easy. There’s very limited boat schedule and if you will rent a boat it will be expensive.

I found my tour operator Paul of Gigantes island tours and Services thru the DIY group I joined in facebook then I later realized that the same Paul is my friend’s highschool  classmate and the same Paul who helped my roomie with their Gigantes trip last year.. so this must be fate.. Hahaha I was destined to experience Gigantes with them. I paid 1799php for an all inclusive tour( boat ride, accommodation, food and  island hopping). This is the cheapest package I found online and it’s very worth it.

From Red Mandarin I took a  tricycle to Carles port. Fare is 15php then met our guide Joshua at the tourism office. Since our package already includes the tourism fee we just had to write our names and off we gooooo!

Weather was a bit shitty that morning, drizzling and cold and the waves are unfriendly hahaha.

First stop – I was really expecting lots of coconut trees, not just one lonely coconut who’s  been tested by time and probably feels so lonely and have tried killing itself already haha..

Second stop is the famous Cabugao Gamay Island. Taking pictures at the top is impossible w/o photo bomber/s 🙄

Next is Tanke which is only visible during low tide

Bantigue sandbar – thanks to our tour guide/ photographer and in all fairness he was even coaching me what to do😂

Next….Antonia beach

This beach is also suitable for snorkeling activity, jetski and banana boat but all I did was eat maruya ( banana que) 😂😂 and it’s 15php haha Manila rate pa din…

We ended the day at this nice little beach they call ” little Boracay” due to it’s fine fine sand. Shame I did not take a picture, I was too lazy lol.

This is my home for one night in Gigantes

I was expecting a shared room since I am a solo traveler but I ended up having this nice kubo  just for myself 😁. It was comfortable enough and as you can see I’m wearing a jacket since it’s a bit cold.  One piece of advise tho, do not put any food in your bag or mini mouse might pay you a visit and decide to eat your food and bag! Yes! My little friend took a piece of my converse sling bag and ate my chocolate😞.
View from the outside

At the resort where we stayed, we can use the cotages for free and they even gave us woods for the bonfire. Unfortunately, due to aging 9pm pa lang tulog na ko hahaha.

Day 02-  Not much to do really… just went  hiking for an hour to Pawikan Cave

Meet our youngest hiker Sam,  she’s 3 😁

Around noon time all we did was swim  at the resort and chat  with the local kids.

By 2 pm we’re back in Carles port. Just right outside the port you can take a van to Iloilo or Roxas. Fare to to Iloilo is 200php.

We arrived at Iloilo around 6pm at Tagbak terminal where I will be staying for the night. I did not book my accommodation in advance but have listed a few hotel selections. First on my list is Ong bun since they have the cheapest rates ( 350 php for a single room) . From Tagbak, you can cross the highway and take a jeep to Iloilo city for 12php. To my dismay when I arrived at Ong bun they were fully booked ( wasn’t really expecting that since it’s weekday so lesson learned). I decided to go to the nearest  hotel which is Circle Inn hotel and suites. Paid 1300php for a double room with AC and they have hot/cold shower and a pool! . It was over my budget but It’s not my main  concern since I’m dead tired and just want to rest so suck it up! Lol.

My hotel offers an airport for 500php same as the taxi rate and I’m so not willing to pay that haha. Instead you can take a jeep to SM for 7php and then take the van to the airport for only 70php!Imagine how much you can save😉.

At the van terminal you can chill at the Passenger’s lounge or even take shower there if you’re not in hurry OR just inside SM do some shopping or eat at Mang Inasal haha .  Well in case you don’t know.. Mang Inasal started in Iloilo, so how’s that for a triva huh? Lol

And not to miss is buying some Biscocho for pasalubog!. One thing that I do not fully understand about us Filipinos is our need to buy ” Pasalubong” everything we go somewhere, it’s like an urge!! ! Not that I am complaining lol.. i love buying pasalubong😁.

For this trip I spent 4,529 php excluding airfare, pasalubongs and the room service I ordered 😂😂

  • 50 php – van from Iloilo – SM city
  • 12 php – jeep from sm city – tagbak terminal or Ceres
  • 170 php – bus from Jaro – Ceres
  • 700 php –  Accommodation in Carles ( Red Mandarin resort)
  • 1799 php – tour package in Gigantes
  • 200 php – van from Carles to Tagbak
  • 12 php – jeep from Jaro to iloilo city
  • 1300 php – hotel in Iloilo ( Circle Inn)
  • 7 php – jeep to SM city
  • 70 php – van to iloilo airport
  • 200 php – airport terminal fee

You can contact Paul for Gigantes packages at (0998) 981 6812  or thru Facebook

P.S I wrote this while I was waiting for my flight to Manila 😁


How to travel cheap in the Philippines.

Some  of the many questions that people ask  you when you’re a  frequent traveler is  how  do you get funds for your travels  or how the heck did  you book those incredibly  cheap flights.  Well, first of all  I have a full time job so that’s mainly the reason why  I can afford to travel  I have this blogging thing  BUT this is  just because I feel like writing  hahaha,  I don’t make a living out of this.   Second, like I always brag, I book  and I only book cheap  flights, hotels and package deals.

Generally,  traveling around the country is cheap but it’s not for everybody especially if you spend and earn peso.

Here’s how I do it:

  1.  Subscribe to Airline’s  promo fare alerts/ mailing list.   Here in the Philippines,  there are only 3 major  flight carriers  ( CebuPacific, Air Aisa and Philippine Airlines. I have an airline app  for CebuPacific in my phone  since  I use them frequently.  One thing that you have to know about these airlines is that, they always provide  promotional fares when   there’s a national holiday or there is something to celebrate like Valentines and all that.  Once I  get that e-mail notification  from them or see  the promotion on the website, that is ” When”  I start hunting for  promo  fares 🙂 .  I was able to book a  round trip flight recently   for 900  PHP  ( 18 USD) Manila – Boracay ( Caticlan)- Manila .  The funny thing is I even hesitated in booking it since I still  feel like it’s expensive lol..  the this leads to   my number 02…


2.  Learn how to earn air miles/points. – Really? How????

First… You can convert your credit card points to air miles.

Almost most major credit card points, especially Visa and Master can be converted to  Cebu Pacific , PAL or Air Asia  points. In my case  I have   a Citibank Cebu Pacific credit cards,  every 25K points I earn can  be converted to 500 CebGo points, same thing with my BDO credit cards.  If you’re not too sure as to how you can use it  just call your  bank to have your  points transferred.  But before you do that, make sure that you first sign up with  CebuPacific’s  GetGo , AirAsiaBig for Air Asia and Mabuhay Miles for  PAL.

FYI: Cebu Pacific  is actually giving free Cebgo cards at major airports.

I recently just book a flight for  365  PHP ( Around 7 USD ) using my  miles.

Second,  If you do not have a credit card, you can use your Cellphone’s   post paid plans. With Globe, you can  convert your  rewards to Air AsiaBig points.  It’s not that much but if you get points regularly  it’s like  having a piggy bank, the next thing you know is..  you had enough  points. Ain’t bad right?


3. Get points from your previous flights .

Ir order to take advantage of this, you have to make sure that you already sign up for the rewards program.  As stated above.

4.  Plan ahead 

I know how exciting it sounds when you  don’t really have a specific  itinerary  and just do whatever you want when you’re at the destination  , like  que sera  sera, whatever will be, will be… Yep, that’s a song lol.  But trust me it has its downside! you might end up spending more. What I usually do is  I list down the  possible accommodations and activities I will be doing  and of course  the cheapest deals, do some research and decide. One thing that  you have to   prioritize is your safety, never ever compromise that.

5 . Consider  a group tour/ Joiner 

Honestly it’s fun!  If you check  facebook there are lots of local tours  offered.  Basically you will be  joining a  group of travelers  obviously ” Strangers” . This is pretty popular  in Manila   since it is easier to arrange a land tour  to various local spots in Luzon like  Baguio, Sagada, Zambales, Ilocos , Baler and many more. This btw is the cheapest  means of traveling by land since everything is shared.  The only disadvantage is that you can’t really pick a  tour date  so you have to adjust your schedules.

6. Try Backpacking   

This is also a good way to meet  new people, make friends or even more…who knows right!

I have met some good people while doing this and we keep in touch. Such as nice feeling!

If you are on  tight budget,  you can stay in some back packer’s hostel or shared rooms.  But if  having your own ” ME” time is  very very important  then  Dorm accommodations is not for you.

For me as long as I can have a place to stay and shower I don’t even mind even living in a shack lol. What’s more important is I get to  explore the place and make the most out  of it. It might be the only  chance  to see the  place  so I  want it as fun as possible.  And I would rather use my money in paying tours or excursions and for  FOOD!!

7. Save!!!! 

Do I really have to explain this??

If you want something, work hard for it and be willing to sacrifice even just a little. For example, instead of  buying Starbucks coffee which seems to be a luxury in this country settle for 3in1  it’s still coffee   after all and  it’s only  6 php, that’s more than  a hundred  pesos  savings. What I’m really trying to say is, cut the unnecessary expenses and just focus on what’s really needed.

Travel is more rewarding than getting or  buying material things guys!