Standing Again on the Shoulders of Gigantes Islands | Iloilo


Sir Isaac Newton once said, "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants". As a metaphor, it implies using the ideas of thinkers who came before us to advance our own intellectual progress. Nevertheless, when I found myself exploring Islas de Gigantes for the second time and had the opportunity to stand on its slopes and take in more of its magnificent scenery, I was reminded of the phrase. This time, to simply immerse in its beauty further. 

Heidi Manabat
It's a nice day for island hopping

Coming back to Carles, Iloilo as part of a media familiarization trip organized by the Tourism Promotions Board of the Philippines (TPB) had me feeling excited to the hilt of once again standing on the shoulders of Gigantes Islands.

Muffet Sta Maria
Approaching Cabugao Gamay

Jagged Not-So-Little Cliffs

Our first stop of the morning was Tangke Lagoon. It is a natural saltwater pool enclosed by the towering jagged cliffs of Gigantes Sur — one of chain's two main islands along with Gigantes Norte. Dropping a visit to Tangke Lagoon is quite tricky. You must dock your boat beside a razor-sharp cliff passageway, so you need a favorable wind direction, a manageable current, and a tidal level allowing you to maneuver through it.

Kat Uyehara Hamoy
The natural pool inside Tangke Lagoon

Due to the high waves at Gigantes on my first trip in 2017, we were not able to go here. This time, the conditions were just right for us to enter the lagoon. Inside, we found ourselves scrambling over thirty feet of craggy uneven walls into a wide natural pool that submerge up to our waist. We spent a little bit more than an hour here just regaling at the sight of the massive rocky walls covered in patches by dense foliage.

Lunch of Champions at Cabugao Gamay

We docked at the white powdery shore of Cabugao Gamay — the most visited island in the Islas de Gigantes chain — just before lunchtime. After our lunch table had been set up, the sun quickly disappeared, calling in heavy storm clouds that dumped heavy rain on us. While running for cover, each of us carrying a casserole and plateful of seafood dish, the sky cleared up as if playing a trick on us, revealing the sun once more.

Joba Botana
Gigantes Island lunch special. Seafood galore

Having devoured the freshest seafood catch of prawns, giant crabs, grilled fish, squid and of course, the 1-peso scallops, I hurriedly climbed the hill in Cabugao Gamay, a known Instagrammable spot in Gigantes Islands, to enjoy the cool breeze and breathtaking scenery.

Marky Ramone Go
Forever saying thank you to the good karma

Afterwards, I plunged into a refreshing dip on the warm waters of the island. The experience of being here a second time never gets old. As our stay drew to a close, I practiced my breath hold in the crystal-clear waters of Cabugao Gamay for the remaining hour.

Marky Ramone Go
Not a Peaky Fookin Blinder member

Quickie Stops at Antonia’s Beach and Bantigue Sandbar

We made two brief stops at Antonia's Beach and Bantigue Sandbar before returning to Bancal Port on Carles mainland. The beach at Antonia is situated on Gigantes Sur's eastern side. It has characteristics almost similar to Cabugao Gamay, highlighted by a beach head encircled by a steep limestone cliff and coated in snow-white sand.

Ruth Dela Cruz
Ruth of Ruthilicious strikes a pose

In the course of a beautiful afternoon, we arrived in Bantigue sandbar just in time to witness it glisten to golden hues at the kiss of the scorching sun. Long and slender, it extends like a frog's tongue about to seize its prey. Only the significantly bigger waves and strong current of the sea prevented us from taking a dip. Notwithstanding, it was the perfect sight of a place to bookend our Islas de Gigantes island hopping exploration.

Milet Miranda
The long and winding Bantigue Sandbar

(Additional Writer’s note) Not to miss: Gigantes Norte

While we skipped Gigantes Norte on this trip, it was here, however, that I spent a night with friends during my first visit in 2017. This small populated island with two barangays and a few small resorts, still bears an 1895 Spanish Lighthouse found on its northern tip.