So the group is back again and this time we invaded Iloilo! The squad have been planning this for some time already.
The squad’s president has an informative info about our trip. Visit her blog and read her entry for our Iloilo trip at https://thewanderingitinerant.com/2017/07/13/islas-de-gigantes-kicking-off-our-summer-2017/. Itineraries included!
How to get there?
ESTIMATED TRIP DURATION PER STOP:
Mactan Airport → (1 hour flight) → Roxas Airport → (more 30-45min tricycle ride) → Van Terminal → 3 hours van ride → Palm Garden Resort (Carles) → 10 minutes tricycle ride → Bancal Iloilo Port → 1 hour banka ride → Islas de Gigantes → (ISLAND HOPPING FOR 1 night; 2 days) → 1 hour banka ride → Carles Port → 3.5.-4 hours → Iloilo City → 10-20 minutes (from Biscotcho House, Jaro) → Iloilo Airport → (1 hour flight) → Mactan Airport
We’ve chosen Roxas Airport as it is nearer the Carles Port (about 3 hours compared to the 4 hours if from Iloilo).
ESTIMATED BUDGET: for a group of 9
- Fee for the Package Tour – 1699 (initial deposit of 300 each was collected prior to the tour date as reservation)
- Palm Garden Resort Accommodation – 278 (2500/9)
- Ong Bun Pension Accommodation – 238 (2140/9)
- Van for Iloilo City Tour – 222 (2000/9)
- Roxas Airport to Palm Garden Resort (150 for 1 tricycle; 4-5 riders; more or less 30 pesos each)
- Palm Garden Resort to Bancal Port (25 pesos)
- Van from Roxas to Palm Garden Resort (1500; more or less 167 for a group of 9)
Total: 2, 659 pesos (except personal expenses, pasalubong and meals during the city tour)
Islas De Gigantes (Gigantes Islands)
Upon arrival, we were welcomed with unlimited sea foods – wasay-wasay, chicken tinola, and scallop. The experience was more of a fiesta. At dinner, calamares and crabs were served, which was the best meal I had during our stay in the island. At breakfast, we had sunny side up eggs and scallops. Came lunch and then we had scallops and nilagang baboy. Unlimited rice. Eat all you want. Palingin dri besh!
THE ISLETS/ISLANDS & THE CAVE
Here are the islands and the spots we’ve hopped from Day 1 to 2:
- Pulupandan Island – inhabited by a lone coconut tree lol; there are rocky parts, which was kind of great for your BLAGIR pose.
- Balbagon Island – where we had our first swim; a long stretch of white sand and mangroves. No tall trees but a good enough spot for swimming; not crowded when we get there. According to Wiki, it’s a tear shaped island (src).
- Bantigue – a long stretch of sandbar, but not as long as Kalanggaman Island. This is the spot where you can see two islands facing each other. If you stand in between, they look like wings.
- Antonia Beach – where we had our Banana Boat ride. It’s a good stopover for our afternoon coffee and milo session with chitchats of course. There’s a small store selling chips, biscuits, and sodas. It’s a bit pricey though. So bring some food with you to save money.
- Cabugao Gamay – the most photographed among all the islands; the icon island as they say. more of the Hawaii vibes; lots of coconut trees and several piles of stones (I don’t understand why lots of people keep on piling flat stones LOL).
- Putting Baybay Daku (Little Boracay) – where we had most of our sunset shots. I think this is my most favorite island since the sand is very powdery. It also has some resemblance to El Nido for the huge rock formations visible in the area. It feels like Boracay meets El Nido.
- Pawikan Cave or Bakwitan Cave – caution: rocky and steep trail ahead. Yep, you need to be extra careful with this one. You need to bring water with you. Physical strength needed.
- Tanke or the Enchanted Lagoon – crowded; the water is not clear but the rock formations are astonishing. This is also where you can cliff jump.
ILOILO CITY TOUR
Saint Anne Molo Church
- Tigbauan Church
- Church of St Nicholas of Tolentino, Guimbal
- Santo Tomas Miag-ao Church
- Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral
Entrance Fee: 150 pesos
Separate fees applied for the ride (zipline, horse riding, etc.)
The 150 pesos entrance is way too pricey for what they offer inside. I think this is great for the elderly and for those who are interested in farming and agriculture. They also have their pilgrimage site. The good time to get there will be afternoon and climb up to the steep stairs to the pilgrimage when the sun is about to set. As the staff say, it’s an overlooking view to the area. Other activities they offer include zip line, horse riding, kayaking, paddle boat, and more!
We had lunch at Doming’s Seafood Restaurant. Very affordable seafood and staff were very friendly and accommodating too. Very sumptuous!
A great way to have an afternoon stroll. We didn’t have much time though. Had a short stop for photo ops.
Bought pasalubong (Iloilo’s delicacy) at this store. A bit pricey but the butterscotch is a must try.
ILOILO CITY ACCOMMODATION:
Ong Bun Pension House. Located near the Chinatown. There are nearby convenience stores; pharmacy and food shops. Wifi connection is good. Caution: elevator not in sight, you need to take the stairs! Might not be good if you have elderly people with you.
Deco’s Original La Paz Batchoy
We had our breakfast at La Paz Batchoy. Not a big Batchoy fan but a friend said that it was delicious, however, she can’t say that it is the best batchoy she ever tasted.
We tried their version of puto.
We’ve heard that Roberto’s siopao is a must try if you’re in Iloilo. We then check if this statement is true. It leaved up to our expectation. Huge siopao by the way. It comes in different sizes too. Tastes great when it is still hot.
We also tried their fried chicken (which according to some locals is good). Unfortunately, it hasn’t been the best chicken for me.
It’s a suman with coconut toppings. Tastes good. It will complement with your coffee.
What I call the dancing food. HAHA! More like Cebu’s masi but slim and elongated and dancy (if there’s even such term LOL).
Probably the well known Ilonggo dish. I call this one sinabawang siomai. haha!
Need more info about Iloilo’s delicacies? Read this post https://www.vigattintourism.com/tourism/articles/Iloilos-Well-known-Delicacies.Watch a short clip during our trip!
Watch the video below for our Iloilo travel!