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😂
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 😁