Most tourist spots are overly crowded during summer. So to avoid that, we scheduled our trip early March so we could somehow enjoy the place more. We booked a promo flight to Roxas city and stayed for a night. Since we arrived at around 5 in the afternoon, we didn’t really have time to go around so we just ate dinner and stayed in our hotel – Roxas President’s Inn – to just rest for the night.
We woke up early the next day to continue our trip to Gigantes island. For breakfast, we ate at the restaurant just across the inn – Pizza junction. Prices are cheap but service was really bad. We waited for almost an hour before they served our food after following up a dozen times. Staff weren’t really that accommodating. Nothing’s special about the food but not all of us were happy with what we ordered. Well we lost our appetite because of the long waiting time.
To get to Gigantes island from Roxas, one must ride to the Roxas city terminal which takes only about 30 minutes from where we stayed. You can either take a bus or a van going to Estancia terminal in Iloilo. We took a van since we were quite in a hurry. Travel took 2 hours to Estancia. From Estancia, we rode a tricycle going to the airport. At the port, we only paid an environmental fee of PHP 5.00 then boarded the boat. The boat ride was already part of the package we purchases from Gigantes Hideaway resort so there wasn’t really much hassle. Just that the places are far from each other so the trip was really tiring. And it was very hot. The boat ride actually took 2 hours as well. We got so bored along the way. Waves were splashing through our faces. Out butts hurt because of the wooden seats. Every time we see an island, we ask each other, “are we there yet?” :D
Our designated tour guide from the resort welcomed us as soon as we landed. Then immediately got into motorcycles to take us the resort. Motorcycle is the primary mode of transportation in the island. So we got ourselves check in, rested a bit and walked a little outside the resort and got back again soon.The resort was actually far from the beach that when you want swim or just walk around, you must hire someone with a motorcycle to take you there. The shore was actually mostly seashells instead of just sand. But the water’s really beautiful.
What I love about Gigantes hideaway resort is their package. It comes with the accommodation, boat transfers, tour and foood! For the dinner that night, they served us sweet and sour fish, squid, baked cheese scallops and scallops. I’m not really sure how they were all cooked. But they were all mouthwatering. For someone who loves seafood, I really love the food they gave. Oh, and rice was unlimited by the way.
We had our tour the next day right after breakfast. First stop – Spanish lighthouse. It was a 10 to 15 minute motorcycle ride from the resort. Beside it were ruins of a very old building. It was closed to the public now so we were unable to roam inside. We just walked around and took photographs around,, near the lighthouse. It was located at a cliff so the sea view was really something. We were actually supposed to watch the sun rise from here. However, the weather that day wasn’t really good. The skies were cloudy and it was actually raining on our way here. we didn’t stay here long for we still have other places to visit. So once we were all satisfied with the photos we took, we set off to our next stop – Bakwitan cave.
The cave was around 30 to 40 minutes away from the lighthouse. To be honest, nobody knew we’ll be spelunking so all of us were surprised and not prepared for this. We were still up for it though. Stalactites and stalagmites inside were astonishing. We also saw ‘fresh’ stalagmites that were only starting to form. Way out was a challenge. We had to crawl and climb rocks with no equipments used. So we only rely on our own strength and grip on the rocks to push ourselves up. Struggle was real. We managed to get out anyway. Way down was another challenge since it was a rocky path. There were sharp, slippery rocks. Some were far from each other so a short-legged person like me had such a hard time. Nevertheless, it was all worth it. I even realized how fun spelunking is and is looking forward to have another soon. :P
After a really tiring activity, we all deserved a break. We started our island hopping activity with the first stop at the resort’s extension where we had our lunch. We were served with various seafood again – scallops, oysters, crabs and fish. I forgot to mention, Gigantes island is abundant with scallops. I think they were also known as the “scallop capital” in the country. Hence, scallops are always part of the menu. Since it’s a remote island, phone reception was really poor. But luckily, there was a signal in this island. Not that good but one can at least send an SMS. We didn’t stay long. We just ate (a lot) and rested before setting out to the sea again.
First island – Antonia’s island. From afar, you can notice the big tents set up along the shore and the rocky area at one end of the island. The water’s clear and the waves on the other side were refreshing to watch. Overall, it was such a relaxing place. Only the scorching heat of the sun will make you want to stay covered but the sea will call out on you in such a way that you can’t resist.
Second island – a very rocky island. I forgot the name, sorry. Not much to do nor place to go because of the rocky mountain. Well, you can opt for a swim. There was a big boulder that we just climbed. We were in the zone for such adventures since the spelunking activity anyway. We didn’t stay for long. After some picture taking, we went back immediately to the boat and off we went onto the next stop.
Third island – Bantigui island. It is known for its sandbar. I wasn’t able to get a good shot of the island, but trust me, it’s awesome. Waves were so strong on both sides of the sandbar. The slope of the sand gets steeper in a every step. There were some grannies that almost got drowned because of the slope and the waves. Fortunately their tour guide was fast enough to rescue them.
Fourth island – Cabugao Gamay. Majestic view though not justified with the photo I took. Island was so peaceful, attributed to the fact that there weren’t many tourists at the time so it was mostly just us in the island. There was a rocky side the we climbed – thru stairs. and part of the view was that from above. If only we could stay there, we would. No words to describe it, just wow.
Last island was the Tangke lagoon. Unfortunately my phone died before arriving so I was not able to take pictures of it. I swear it was beautiful. Again, we were the only group left n there we we had it all to ourselves. We swam a while. The water was really clear you can see few fishes swimming. So quiet and peaceful you can really bond with nature.
That concluded our island hopping and we went back to the resort after. After taking a shower and resting we ate our seafood dinner, played cards afterwards then head to bed. We went back to Roxas city then to Manila the next day. It was quite a short trip but truly a memorable one.