Gigantes Islands – Travel Guide to the islands of the Giants
Islas de Gigantes – Ever wondered why these group of islands were named as such? This famed tourist destination in Carles, Iloilo is one of its kind – ranging from sand-cladded shores to eating your favorite scallops! Let’s put color to your travel drawing and see where it goes!
Read also: Things to do in Cebu (during a layover)
Islas de Gigantes – Islands of the Giants
Found in the northernmost municipality of Carles, Iloilo in Panay, Gigantes is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the island. When we visited Iloilo a few months ago, we really made sure to include these islands on our itinerary. I made sure we will not miss visit these islands!
With all of its islands featuring clear waters and fine sand, it can be compared to Boracay or even Palawan. This destination is composed of:
- Gigantes Norte – where you can locate the famous lighthouse of the island
- Gigantes Sur
And other islets such as:
- Pulupandan Islet (a.k.a. Spongebob Island) where you can see a good sunset (usually the first island to visit when on an arranged tour)
- Antonia Island (a.k.a. Sandwich Island) where you can snorkel around the area + Tinagong Dagat (a.k.a. The Little Boracay) for its fine white sand!
- Bantigue Sandbar – also the perfect spot to snorkel and eat your favorite scallops and other sea shells (unfortunately when we went there, it was high tide and we have not seen the sandbar itself), and;
- Cabugao Gamay Island – the most photographed island in the tour where you can have a bird’s eye view in its viewdeck
- Tangke Saltwater Lagoon – where you can see interesting rock formations and swim in its shallow turquoise pool.
And caves such as:
- Bakwitan Cave, and;
- Pawikan Cave
When touring the islands, you can do shore strolling, snorkeling, and spelunking, too. You can also tour the old lighthouse at Gigantes Norte Island and enjoy a 360° view of the surrounding waters!
How to get there
From Malay or Kalibo, Aklan (4-5 hours)
- When coming from Boracay / Cagban Port, ride a van or bus bound for Kalibo
- From Kalibo, ride a bus or van bound for Roxas, Capiz
From Roxas, Capiz (1.5–2 hours)
- Ride a bus (Ceres) or Van at the Roxas City Integrated Transport Terminal bound for:
(1) Estancia (drop off at Gaisano Capital Mall Intersection in Balasan and ride a tricycle), or;
(2) Carles (drop of near Bancal Port already)
From Iloilo City, Iloilo (2-3 hours)
- Ride a bus or van bound to Carles (Ceres Bus Terminal, Tagbak), then:
(1) Ride a tricycle at the drop-off to Bancal Port, or;
(2) Ask the driver to bring you to Bancal Port (if dropping off elsewhere)
From Bancal Fish Port
This is the famous starting point when touring Islas de Gigantes. For DIY travelers, before looking for a ride, make sure to pay the Environmental Fee at the Tourism Office first. For those booked at some travel agencies, the environmental fee is included in the tour fee.
There are several boats servicing Gigantes Islands and tours at specific times, for those who availed of tour packages, there are dedicated boats for you at your agreed meeting time. The tour to Gigantes Island and other surrounding islets usually takes one day (usually 0800 – 1600 H).
When we experienced Gigantes, we availed the tour package from Las Islas Travel and Tours!
If you rode a bus or van from Pueblo de Panay Transport Terminal, you can ride a tricycle in the van / bus terminal upon arriving and ask the driver to bring you to Estancia Port. Just like in Bancal Port, the boats in Estancia also serves one trip per day. Common boat fares may vary according to the islands where you want to go (do not be afraid to ask!) If you have missed the public / common boat for tourists, you may opt to hire a private boat for PhP 5000.00 (price subject to change without prior notice!)
Turista Boy Tip: If you opt to ride via Estancia Port, you might as well tag along you friends to divide the expenses among yourselves!
Sample Itinerary and expenses (depends on your chosen tour provider)
*Itinerary based on Las Islas Travel and Tours
|0800 – 0830 H||Meeting Time and Orientation
Las Islas Travel and Tours Office (Bancal Port)
|Tour fee: PhP 999.00
(all fees covered)
|0830 – 0930 H||Bancal Port to Pulupandan Islet|
|0930 – 1030 H||Pulupandan Islet|
|1030 – 1100 H||Pulupandan Islet to Antonia Beach|
|1100 – 1200 H||Antonia Beach to Bantigue Sandbar|
|1200 – 1300 H||Bantigue Sandbar (Lunch)||Unlimited Scallops!|
|1300 – 1330 H||Bantigue Sandbar to Cabugao Gamay Island||Can also go to Tangke Saltwater Lagoon
(depending on water current)
|1330 – 1500 H||Cabugao Gamay Island|
|1500 – 1600 H||Cabugao Gamay Island to Bancal Port|
|0600 – 0730 H
0500 – 0800 H
|Roxas City Integrated Terminal to Gaisano Capital Mall Intersection, Balasan (Van), if Bus, it goes directly to Bancal Port
Ceres Tagbak Terminal (Iloilo) to Carles
|PhP 65 – 70
PhP 200 (Bus) / 250 (Van)
|0730 – 0800 H||Gaisano Capital Mall Intersection to Bancal Port (Tricycle)||PhP 50 – 60|
|0800 – 0900 / 0930 H||Bancal Port to Gigantes Norte + Environmental Fee||(Public Boat)
PhP 60 – 75
Small (1-10 pax) – PhP 3,500
Medium (11-15 pax) – PhP 5,000
Large (16-30) – PhP 6,000
Guide Fee – PhP 500
Entrance Fee (Cabugao Gamay) – PhP 50
|Food (Lunch / Snacks)||PhP 100 – 200 (depends if you are in a group)|
**All prices are subject to change without prior notice. Bring extra cash with you as there are no accessible ATMs in Bancal Port.
On our visit to Gigantes Islands last 20 September 2019, we opted to have our tour with Las Islas Travel and Tours (click here for the link) as they offer hassle-free tour of the islands! Their package includes an all-in tour, with all expenses covered, lunch and water, and a DOT-accredited tour guide.
Turista Boy Tip: Just be sure to select and check legitimate travel and tours companies to avoid being scammed!
We’re born to travel!