Masadya Diri sa Iloilo

4 DAYS AND 3 NIGHTS  GIGANTES-GUIMARAS-ILOILO CITY  (D.I.Y)

This year we decided on Iloilo as our group destination. I must say it was a very last minute decision since we only have about a month time to plan and settle everything for our trip.
I just want mention that I got these cheap deals from Cebu Pacific.The tickets cost about 900 php. To get their promotion, we check their site regularly and be alert as always 🙂

Day1: MANILA TO ILOILO CITY TO GIGANTES.

The Gigantes Islands consist of about ten islands; the two largest are Gigantes Norte and Gigantes Sur.It is part of the municipality of Carles, Iloilo in the Philippines.

Hate Scallops? Then you should start loving it if you gonna go here. You’ll see a thousands of scallops here from the coastline and even up to the home of the locals. This is place will not be called “Scallops Capital of the Philippines” for nothing.

Scallops are everywhere!

MANILA TO ILOILO

Our squad see each other @ NAIA Terminal 3 around 4 am.
Flight Rescheduled @ 7am by yours truly, Cebu Pacific.
8:20am Arrival @ Iloilo International Airport.

ILOILO AIRPORT TO GIGANTES ISLAND

Rent a Van.

From Iloilo Airport: Mang Raul will head you straight in your destination, and not only that, He will fetch you as well (Iloilo Airport-Estancia Port-Iloilo Airport)
Contact Number: 09478527772 

*Note: Just Add 1000php to Mang Raul for side tour in Iloilo City. (See Iloilo City tour at the later part)

Pros: The van is all yours. You can do whatever you like. I found this beneficial especially we are traveling as a group.
Travel time is much faster, it will only take 3-4 hours.

Cons: Will cost you a little bit.

The Long Ride.

If you love the road trip then this journey suits you well.

From Iloilo Airport:

  • Ride a taxi going to Tagbak Terminal.
  • Take a bus bound for Estancia.
  • Once you arrive in Estancia, ride a Tricycle going to Estancia port.
  • Then lastly Ride a Boat going to Gigantes.

Note:

In Estancia Port, pay 10 pesos for the terminal fee. Inform the tourism officer that you are going to Islas de Gigantes. Fare is 60 Pesos and the total travel time is 2 hours.
**There is only 1 trip a day from Estancia Port to Islas de Gigantes. The Public boat promptly leaves at 1:00 PM. In the Occasion that you miss the 1:00 PM ride, The only option is to lease a private boat going to Islas de Gigantes that will damage you 2000-4000 Php or wait for the next boat the following day.

Pros:
Cheaper.

Cons:
Travel time is 4-6 Hours.

WHERE WE STAY:

GIGANTES HIDEAWAY RESORT

  • Most of the resorts in Islas de Gigantes offer an all-in package already.
  • In our case its 2500 Php each for 10 persons which include the following:
  • Round trip Passenger boat ride (Estancia Port-Gigantes Island-Estancia Port)
  • Accomodation (Fan Room – Up-gradable to Air-con room but with additional fee)
  • 3 Days 2 Nights full board, all in expenses including:
  • Day 1 lunch and dinner.
  • Day 2 Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Day 3 Breakfast.
  • (family-service seafood buffet meals and unlimited rice; (Note: Scallops will be serve to you 3x a day!)
  • Private Boat for Island hopping plus tour guide and Island entrance fees.
    (Bantigue Island-Antonia beach-Cabugao Gamay-Tangke Saltwater Lagoon- Bulobadiang Island and Habal-habal fare)
  • Contact person: Mr. Joel Decano – Owner.
    Contact Number: 09184685006

WHY THERE?

Pros:
Mouth watering and Jam Packed Food Servings.
Staffs are Hospitable and Kind.

Cons:
Accommodations need some repairs.
No Signal for mobile networks

BOLUBADIANG ISLAND
We Arrive late afternoon in Bolubadiang Island, A Gigantes Hideaway Resort Exclusive, The island is a good place to feel paradise like vacation in Islas de Gigantes.

Day2: GIGANTES ISLAND EXTREME

Our guide told us to brace ourselves because our day will gonna be one hell of a ride, That sounds pretty cool but made you think and wonder at the same time.

We started our feat to the ultimate setting for your next instagram post –THE OLD LIGHT HOUSE

Then we drop to the following places:

BANTIGUE SANDBAR  –

  • A stretch of Golden sand in the middle of the ocean, providing a picture-perfect scene

ANTONIA BEACH

  • Known for its beach sprawling with coconut trees on fine white sand.

CABUGAO GAMAY

  • Best known as the face of Isla de Gigantes. Arguably the most photographed islet in Gigantes Sur.

TANGKE SALTWATER LAGOON

  • Reminds me of El Nido due to its amazing rock formations.

SPELUNKING @ BAKWITAN CAVE

Nothing unleashes your inner Batman faster than spelunking – a global sport also known as caving. This increasingly popular recreational activity has you explore caves or grottos, as you walk, climb, squeeze and crawl your way through tight passages.

Bakwitan Cave located in Isla de Gigantes Norte. Its name was derived from the term “evacuate” as it used to be the evacuation area of the locals.
From the entrance, the cave doesn’t look huge or challenging, but it turned out to be the latter.

HOW WE GET THERE: A 10 mins Habal-Habal ride from our accommodation.
NOTE: Upon reaching the Bakwitan cave, You will receive a flashlights from the the guides. Safety gear? of course none! as in zero, period.

THERE ARE THREE (3) FREAKING STAGES TO COMPLETE:

1st stage – We had to crawl through a tiny hole to reach the other side then ascend using a rope.
2nd stage – the activity started to become more challenging, We need to go up again, but this time you’re going upwards by yourself. Yes, local guides will still assist you but you need to manage to go up on your own.
NOTE: if you continue and enter stage 2, there is no turning back, which means that the only way to go out is to finish the entire course.
3rd stage – your whole body need to do the dirty work. The guides give you step-by-step instructions, detailed ones such as where to put your feet, hands and other parts while ascending.

2-3 hour roller coaster ride!Yey! after a long fought battle we successfully survived Bakwitan!!

REMINDERS

  • first thing first -eat heavy meal for you to have a enough strength and energy
  • No safety harness -Make sure to listen and follow the local guides, They know the place pretty well than us. They know “Whats not and Whats hot”
  • Blackout Bring extra flashlight if you can coz the cave is way too dark.
  • Not for the faint hearted – if you think that height is not of part of your forte then I’m afraid this is not for you.
  • Be Generous – Local guides will not ask a specific amount for their service, but come on! their task is not easy just to make sure we are safe and we will enjoy our stay so please give them what they deserve 🙂

DAY 3: GUIMARAS

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First thing that pops out in my mind when you said Guimaras is Mango. Mango fruit, Mango Juice, Mango Jam, Mango Wine, Mango Pie, and Even Joe De Mango haha! I’m not sure what Guimaras to offer but at the end of the day, It made me happy stepping to its soil.
Guimaras is an island province in the Philippines located in the region of Western Visayas and the capital is Jordan. The island is famous for producing the sweetest mangoes in the world; its mangoes reportedly earned its reputation after being served at the White House and Buckingham Palace.

HOW WE GET THERE:

From Iloilo City, take a jeepney or taxi going to Iloilo City harbor (Ortiz Wharf), and then take a 15-minute pump boat ride going to Jordan Wharf. Fare 14 php per person.

Upon arriving in Jordan port, proceed to the Tourism. From there, There are several mini-van and tricycle drivers who offer tour rides. Our tour cost 1200 for 10 persons – back and forth (Jordan Wharf-Our Hotel-Jordan Wharf) with a LAND TOUR to the following:

TRAPPIST MONASTERY

  • Founded in 1972, The Roman Catholic religious order of cloistered contemplative monastics who follow the Rule of St. Benedict.

MANGO PLANTATIONS

  • The farm displayed  42,000 Mango trees.

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SMALL PLAZA

  • This is the smallest plaza. It is called such because the plaza is literally small.

WHERE WE STAY:

RAYMEN BEACH RESORT

Located in Alubihod Beach in Nueva Valencia, Raymen Beach Resort is a perfect starting point from which to explore Guimaras Island. The property features a wide range of facilities to make your stay a pleasant experience. To be found at the hotel are Wi-Fi in public areas, room service, family room, BBQ facilities and restaurant.

Raymen Beach Resort also offer Water Exploit. The island hopping tour is another activity for visitors who seek a combination of relaxation and adventure experience. Our tour includes a visit to SEAFDEC, Ave Maria Island and Baras Cave. Actually you can visit few more island, if you want to, it all depends on your time and budget. The standard rate is 1000 Php (good for 10 persons) for the 1st hour and additional Php 150 for every succeeding hour.

DAY 4: GUIMARAS WATER TOUR AND ILOILO CITY

We continue our ventures the day after we arrived in Guimaras. We planned to do the island hopping on day number one, however due to four drive going to Guimaras is no joke, made us kind of exhausted so we just decided to take the delight of the sunset in the Resort’s beach.

GUIMARAS WATER ACTIVITIES

ALUBIHOD BEACH

  • We don’t have any intention to swim that afternoon but the beach pristine water is too good to resist.

SEAFDEC (The Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center)

  • Facility that develop and manage the fisheries potential of the region, also educates the public on different species of fishes and other marine life. There is Entrance fee- 20 Php per person.

AVE MARIA ISLAND

  • With its white sand and grotto like island look, no wonder this island was named after the prayer that gives praise to the miraculous beauty of Mother Mary.

BARAS CAVE

  • The island cave is full of contrast, from the sharp and smooth stones inside, to the shallow and deep parts of the lagoon inside it.

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CLIFF DIVING

  • If your are born fearless, The 30-40 Feet Cliff Diving is the something you might look forward to.

LOILO CITY TOUR

Iloilo City is the capital city of the province of Iloilo. Bordered by the towns of Oton in the west, Pavia in the north, Leganes in the northeast and the Iloilo Strait in its eastern and southern coastline.

WHERE WE WENT:

MOLO PLAZA

  • Facing Molo Church is the district plaza which patterns the typical Spanish-colonial towns in Iloilo. The most popular landmark is the gazebo housing six (6) Greek goddesses.

SAINT ANNE PARISH CHURCH

  • More popularly known as Molo Church and “feminist” church with the presence of 16 statues of female saints inside. Built in 1831 using the most readily available building material around: Corals and Stones.

CAMINA BALAY NGA BATO

  • The 1865 Ancestral House of Avanceña Family is now a tourist attraction at Villa Arevalo, Iloilo City.

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NETONG LAPAZ BATCHOY

  • Visiting Iloilo will not worth it if you wouldn’t try their famous Ilonggo delicacy – “Batchoy.” Netong’s batchoy is hot, historical, original and has rich flavor.

CONCLUSION

Iloilo and Guimaras beaches is picture perfect and a great place to spend the day. Plus, the caving and cliff diving we have done is something different that adds a bit of fun.

Walang Forever. Back to Reality.
Time flies so fast if you’re having fun and with so much to see and things to do, Four days just isn’t enough! However, even with a limited time to explore, I am happy that we felt the beauty of Gigantes and Guimaras.

OUR ITINERARY AND EXPENSES FOR 4 DAYS 3 NIGHTS GIGANTES-ILOILO-GUIMARAS

1

Day 1 – Gigantes Island

4am – Meetup in the airport
7am – Dispatch Manila
830am – Arrival @ Iloilo Airport
9am – Ride a Van going straight to Estancia Port.
12pm – Arrival @ Estancia Port,
1230pm – Registration @ Estancia then boat ride going to
Gigantes
230pm – Arrival @ Gigantes Hideaway Resort Extension
(Bolubadiang Island)
3pm – Late Lunch
430pm – Went to the Gigantes Hideaway Resort Inn (Main)
5pm -Arrival @ Hideaway Resort Inn
6pm – Dinner
7pm – Rest/Free Time

Day 2 – Gigantes Island

6am – Wakeup Call.
7am – Breakfast
8am – Went to The Old Light House
9am – Start of the Island Hopping:
930am – Bantigue SandBar
1030am – Cabugao Gamay
1230am – Antonia Beach
1pm – Lunch @ Antonia Beach
2pm – Tangke Salt Water Lagoon
330pm – Explore Bakwitan Cave
5pm – Done Exploration of the Cave.
530pm – Back to Accomodation
7pm – Dinner
8pm – Rest/Free Time

Day 3 – Guimaras

6am – Wakeup Call.
7am – Breakfast
8am – Leave Gigantes Island
10am – Arrival @ Estancia Port
1030am – Van Ride Going to Ortiz Wharf (Iloilo City Proper)
1230pm – Arrival Ortiz Wharf (Iloilo City Proper)
1245pm – Dispatch Ortiz Wharf then went to Jordan Wharf
1pm – Arrival @ Jordan Wharf (Guimaras)
130pm – Multicab ride going to Raymen Beach Resort.
2pm – Arrival @ Raymen Beach Resort.
3pm – Late Lunch.
4pm – Swim/Chill/Watch Sunset Alubihod Beach (Raymen Beach Resort)
7pm – Dinner
8pm – Rest/Free Time

Day 4 – Guimaras /Iloilo City

6am – Wakeup Call.
7am – Breakfast.
8am – Start of the Island Hopping:
830am- Arrival @ SEAFDEC (The Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center)
930am – Ave Maria Island
10am – Baras Cave
11am – Cliff Diving
12 – Back to Accomodation
1pm – Lunch
2pm -Multicab ride Back to Jordan Wharf (Guimaras)
215pm – Dispatch Jordan Wharf (Guimaras)
230pm – Arrival @ Ortiz Wharf (Iloilo City Proper)
3pm – Molo Plaza
330pm -Molo Church
4pm – Camina Balay
5pm – Netongs Lapaz Batchoy
7pm – Back to Airport
8pm – Dispatch Iloilo
930pm – Hello Manila

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