I have always wanted to try backpacking however just thinking about it makes me tired already. But, last year, I finally found the courage to try it. I tagged along with a friend and his officemates and finally made my “Backpacking dream” happen!
Day 1 – Hello, Gigantes Islands!
We arrived at Roxas Airport at around 6am. We then took a tricycle to the Ceres Bus Station, and rode a bus bound for Estancia.
We booked a package for 5 at Gigantes Hideaway for P2355 inclusive of the following:
- Private boat for 2 days
- Roundtrip transfer at Estancia Port
- Island hopping
- Island entrance fees
- Environmental fee
- 1 night accommodation
- Local island/Cave guide
- 4 meals (Family service seafood buffet meals/Unli-rice)
- Motorbike fare for 2 days
- Island hopping, swimming, snorkeling
- Natural cliff jumping
- Trekking spelunking
- Visit century old lighthouse
- Watch sunrise and sunset
It takes around 1.5 to 2 hours from Estancia Port to Gigantes Hideaway so it was a good chance to catch-up on some sleep.
Upon arriving at Gigantes, first order of business – Lamon! Lunch was amazing. Crabs, scallops and a delicious shell fish they call “Wasay wasay”.
After a little rest and some much needed charging of gadgets, we rode on the motorbikes to the starting point of our trek at Bakwitan Cave.
Bakwitan, which came from the word “Evacuate-an” or a place to evacuate, was one of the refuge areas during the war for many of the locals. Up to today, this place is where they go to during strong typhoons.
The first part was fairly easy. A little rocky, but after 15 minutes, we arrived at the entrance to the cave. It was a little dark and we did not bring flashlights, so we had to use our phones.
I have tried spelunking before in Sagada and I must say this was a little harder than I expected. It regret not bringing water, thinking that it was just a “walk in the park” kind of trek.
Upon getting out of the cave, we saw a big Balete tree. I let out a big sigh because finally, we were almost done. Almost. The way down was harder. The rocks were sharp so we had to really be extra careful.
We were greeted by a sign that said “Congratulations, you did it!” which made me feel really good upon realizing how difficult the trek was. Then we hopped on the motorbikes and went to the nearby beach to watch the sunset.
All the travelling, trekking and lack of sleep made me feel exhausted so I just laid on the sand like a starfish, feeling the water on my feet and some sand on my hair. But it was a great way to end the first day of a week-long trip with a beautiful sunset on the beach. (Even if the sun hid behind the clouds.)
Day 2 – Gigantes Lighthouse + Island Hopping + Travel to Iloilo City
On our second day, we decided to visit the Gigantes Lighthouse at around 7am. It is one of the 27 major Spanish lighthouses built by Spaniards. The old lighthouse was destroyed during a typhoon a few years back. The new medium-sized, solar powered lighthouse was donated by Japan.
The view was amazing!
We went back to the resort to have breakfast, then we started the island hopping!
First stop, Tangke Saltwater Lagoon!
A dip in the clear waters of the Tangke was a great way to start the day. Tangke Saltwater Lagoon is walled by beautiful limestone cliffs. Too bad we weren’t able to cliff jump as the waters were a little shallow that day.
Next stop, (probably) the most photographed island in Gigantes Sur, Cabugao Gamay!
Cabugao Gamay Island is simply gorgeous. It’s small, but the clear waters and white sand made me realize and understand why it is the most popular destination in Isla de Gigantes.
The last two destinations that we visited were Bantigue Sandbar and Antonia beach. Unfortunately I was not able to take more photos as my camera ran out of battery.
We went back to the island, had lunch and then prepared to go back to Estancia Port. It was a little hard saying goodbye to the beautiful islands of Gigantes, but I shall return!
From Estancia Bus Terminal, it takes around 4-5 hours to Iloilo City.