It’s summertime! It’s getting hotter by the day but no complaints here. I just love the warm lazy days, indulging in summer foods (halo-halo, I’m craving for you!) and the overall carefree vibe I feel during this season. Staying indoors while just reading a good book or watching thrillers can already make a good summer day for me. But of course, this season won’t really be complete without hitting the beach!
On the first week of April, my friends and I took advantage of the long weekend by traveling to the Visayas and experiencing the beauty of Islas de Gigantes.
Islas de Gigantes, which means “islands of giants”, is a group of islands located in the western part of Iloilo. It consists of ten islands, the two largest being Gigantes Norte and Gigantes Sur.
To reach Islas de Gigantes from Iloilo airport, we had to travel for 6 hours and hop on one type of transportation to another. As tiring as this may have been, we were willing to go the extra mile to see the unique rock formations, the famous sandbar and the white-sand beaches Islas de Gigantes is known for. And the trip had surely been worthwhile!
Keep Calm and Enjoy the Island
Our stay in Islas is the closest I’ve had to living the “simple island life”. Being a remote group of islands at the northeastern tip of Iloilo province, the electricity supply here is limited so blackouts in the resort were quite often. The reception wasn’t that strong and there’s no internet connection so we had to forget posting on social media real time for a while. But in exchange for these limitations, my friends and I enjoyed the clear view of the stars at night, the long conversations, the fresh air and the overall peaceful ambiance of the place. It was so relaxing. And of course, to complete the island-life experience, we toured some of the natural beauties of Islas de Gigantes.
Here are the four islands that we toured on our second day.
From a distance, we could see the line of coconut trees protruding from Antonia Island’s white-sand beach. As our boat drew close to the island, we noticed the nice and jagged rock formation that resembles a sliced loaf bread. Kuya Rommel, our tour guide, shared to us that because of how this formation looked, it earned the moniker, “Bread Loaf” island. I should’ve taken some pictures right at that moment but I was so absorbed in admiring the bread rocks that I forgot to. Here are other pictures of the island instead.
With the long stretch of beach Antonia Island has, you can find a secluded spot with your companions for those mandatory beach pictures.
Sandbars are not a common sight so I was happy to have set foot on one for the first time here. Bantigue Sandbar is white, long and wide. The sea was calm and enticing, perfect for swimming. We came here at midday though so instead of going for a swim, we just strolled on the sandbar for a while and took cover after. Didn’t want to get toasted. Haha.
Bantigue Island also serves as a stopover for lunch. I love this in island hoppings. We bring the food raw and they are cooked and prepared on the boat or island, then we eat them by the beach. There’s just something about this setup that always makes me savor the meal more. And if you’re served with fresh seafood, you can’t help but eat more than your fill.
Cabugao Island was our third stop. Clear waters and white rocks welcomed us as we got off our boat. By this time, we had established that the beaches in Gigantes were undoubtedly picturesque. The sand is white and the sea is turquoise. On Cabugao Island, white coral rocks are abundant. This place is so pretty even the rocks are worth taking pictures of!
The main attraction here though is the panoramic view you’ll get once you climb on the island’s rock hill. There’s a queue to that iconic spot so we joined the line of tourists and waited for our turn to have our pictures taken at the top. Once there, we had 5 minutes to do some poses and have our pictures taken before the next group was called. Since we were pressed for time, we only did two poses for our group photos. Aren’t they creative?
Tangke SaltWater Lagoon
Ah, Tangke Lagoon. To be honest, this was what attracted me most when I was checking out pictures of Islas de Gigantes online right after we booked our flight to Iloilo. The lagoon reminds me so much of the hidden gems I fell in love with in El Nido, Palawan. And by this, I mean having a magnificent body of water hidden behind towering cliffs. The rock composition here is also similar to that of El Nido’s.
After a mere 15-minute boat ride from Cabugao Island, we reached the lagoon. And indeed, the view was stunning.
My friends and I were able to see a fraction of the beauty that Islas de Gigantes has and had very much appreciated it. We loved each island’s remarkable feature. The bonding moments we had here are also something that we’ll remember and cherish, not to mention the unforgettable experience (and my most embarrassing experience to date it’s so embarrassing I’d rather not write about it here hahaha) that we (or shall I say, my friends) will laugh about for months and years to come. Lastly, I would like to mention the friendliness of the locals that added to the unforgettable charm of the place. Special shout out to Ma’am Sally and her husband, Mang Jerry, of Jesa Beach Resort who had been so nice and accommodating.
And summer continues
Outings done in summer can surely be one of the memorable trips we can have in a year, not unexpectedly so as there’s something in the season that puts anyone in the mood for excursions, especially one that entails going to the beach. I myself, who loves lazing around at home during this time, look forward to an “ultimate beach trip” once the season kicks in. And our trip to Islas de Gigantes has definitely filled this desire.
To more warm and sunny days, everyone!