“The Philippines still has a lot of treasures waiting to be discovered.“
I couldn’t agree more.
Just when I thought that my toes won’t feel the sand and the sea this summer, I was surprised by a news that I’ll be heading to the Visayas and will take part of an advocacy — that is the “Clean Beach Campaign” spearheaded by Las Islas Travel and Tours. They aim to invite every traveler in becoming a responsible one — keeping our beaches plastic-free, litter-free, and barefoot-friendly.
This advocacy took me to a place called GIGANTES Group of Islands in Northern Iloilo.
About Gigantes Group of Islands
Gigantes Group of Islands is also known as Islas de Gigantes or Islands of Giants. Gigantes Group of Islands is part of the Municipality of Carles, Northern Iloilo, Panay Island, Western Visayas, and is divided into two: Gigantes Norte and Gigantes Sur. It has about ten islands namely Balbagon, Cabugao Daku, Cabugao Gamay, Waydahon, Bantigue, Bulubadiang, Gigantillo, Gigantona, Ojatras and Gakitgakit.
Las Islas Travel and Tours is based in Roxas City and they specialize in offering tour packages around Panay Island in Western Visayas, including Islas de Gigantes. Aside from offering tours, they also aim to promote the Philippines’ underrated and less explored islands in the Philippines, and be actively involved in practicing responsible tourism.
The island hopping tour includes the four most accessible islands in Gigantes — Antonia Beach, Bantigue Island Sandbar, Cabugao Gamay and Tangke Saltwater Lagoon. We had such a wonderful weekend in Gigantes that I’ll let the photos do more of the talking.
Quite a number of tour groups were staying in Antonia Beach when we arrived so we decided to just stay awhile, explore and then proceed to have our lunch in Cabugao Gamay instead.
Las Islas offers a Day Tour and Overnight options for Gigantes for a very affordable rate. I highly recommend them when you plan your visit to Gigantes!
After our filling lunch, it was time to visit the Bantigue Sandbar. Due to the high tide, we didn’t get to enjoy the full length of it but of course, we came back the second day to explore its whole stretch.
What I really loved about Bantigue is that it’s surrounded by crystal clear waters and the locals are selling steamed scallops for Php1 (YES! ONE PESO!) only a piece.
Our last stop before we head back to Cabugao Gamay is the Tangke Salt Water Lagoon. It is part of Gigantes Sur and the lagoon is tucked in the middle of towering rock formations lined with impressive limestone. It was quite a challenge to get to the lagoon due to its limited docking area but hey, something beautiful worth seeing requires a bit of a challenge from time to time, right? This challenge involves traversing through other docked boats to get to the entrance way of the lagoon and that was part of the fun!
Awesome people I spent the weekend with!
Go up on one of the rock cliffs and take a selfie – check!
We visited the lagoon during a low tide so the water is quite murky but it was beautiful nonetheless. The water level wasn’t so high as well so I get to enjoy the entirety of it. Get to the center of the lagoon and look up — and you will see that the surrounding cliffs encases the lagoon in a “star” shape. Stay a bit longer and you might get to experience it minus the crowd, just peaceful and serene.
It was time to go back to Cabugao Gamay where we’ll spend the night and we arrived just in time to chase the sunset. The race to reach the top of the view deck required the extra effort and speed but it was all worth it.
You can catch the famous panoramic view of Cabugao Gamay from the view deck. Nothing short of breathtaking.
Since most visitors only do a day trip, we were one of the first view visitors to catch the sunset at the view deck.
We spent the night at Maruja Flora’s Island Paradise resort which is the sole resort operating in Cabugao Gamay. Basic accommodations are offered and you can opt to pitch your own tent as well.
One of Las Islas’ goals is to make the island self-sustaining and provide jobs to the locals.
Wake up early and you can catch the sunrise which is equally lovely as the sunset.
Be a responsible tourist!
I would like to extend my utmost thanks to Las Islas Travel and Tours for inviting WhenInManila as part of their Roxas-Islas Gigantes Familiarization Tour. Check out more about Las Islas’ tours on Facebook: LasIslasTravelAndTours
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