We availed of the island hopping package from Kuya Paul Bolivar at₱1,799/head, including our accommodation and food for 2D1N stay at MJ Beach, Isla de Gigantes. Supposedly, it was just₱1,599 but we insisted on staying in rooms made of concrete instead of a nipa huts. We occupied two rooms, each having a queen-size bed and a bathroom.
October 6, 2016
We hailed a taxi to Tagbak Terminal (₱26.00) and rode a Ceres bus going to Estancia (₱153) since there was no available bus to Carles yet. Surprisingly, there’s a Ceres Diner at the terminal, very neat-looking, not your ordinary convenience store. We bought breakfast to eat while in the bus. We arrived at Estancia at 8:30am and then rode a tricycle (₱70) that dropped us off to Carles Port.
The weather wasn’t favorable that time so we had to wait until 10am until we got a go signal from the coastguards. It was a 2-hour, heart-wrenching boat ride to Gigantes Island. Big waves hit our boat so we had to stop every now and then. The boatmen said they’re used to it. hahaha.
We arrived at MJ Beach just in time for lunch–sinigang na manok, fried fish, and scallops! Our first meal already had a generous serving of scallops! It’s dirt cheap in the island, costs only 1 peso apiece.
Our island hopping started in the afternoon. First stop: the Lighthouse.
I imagined there would be fine sand to walk on but instead, we saw lots of shells! The shore was full of it, different sizes and colors. The locals collectively exert effort to dive and collect them from the sea, and then clean them to dump here.
Our second and last stop for this day was at Bantigue Island Sandbar, stretching its way to the sea. The current was strong on one side which filtered the rocks and made it impossible for swimming while the other side had loose sand that made anything sink. So, we just took a lot of photos. hahaha.
Each destination took time to visit and it was already getting dark. We headed back to MJ Beach and continued the tour the next day.
For dinner, we had crabs and of course, scallops.
We rented the karaoke and sang with other guests while drinking.
October 7, 2016
We woke up at 7am and had our breakfast: milo or coffee, dried fish, and eggs. No scallops huhu.
Continuing the tour, we headed for Mini Cabugao. This is the most famous spot in Gigantes Island. To get to the top, we had to crawl under some boulders, like a mini cave, and then climb make-shift stairs.
Next was at the lagoon. We had to go against the current as we moved closer the the entrance. Boatmen secured the boat with strong ropes as the waves were getting bigger and stronger. We had to carefully climb the sharp limestones to enter the lagoon. A bit underwhelming though coz the water was only knee-deep. We wanted to swim pa naman. Checkout Coron’s lagoon here.
Our last destination was at Antonia Beach. There’s a small portion here for snorkeling where a small coral garden is located. However, the water was too shallow, I was very careful not to hit the corals. Also, I found a weird-looking fish that looked like a stone fish. I panicked and quickly swam back to the shore. hahaha
We returned to MJ Beach for lunch and had monggo with pork and fried scallops, our last batch of fresh scallops. huhu.
Before returning to Carles port, we stopped by Pulo Pandan which looked like a child’s drawing of a remote island.
We reached Carles port at 3:30pm. There was a passenger van already waiting to bring us back to Iloilo City.
Gigantes Island should be in everyone’s itinerary because surely the long trip was worth it. Although I was expecting to swim ( like snorkel, which we never had a chance to), we still enjoyed our stay at Gigantes Island. Sir Paul’s team was very kind and accommodating to our needs. For inquiry, you may contact him through his FB account.