When was the last time that you went to a place where everything is a complete contrast from what we consider as modern?
I have heard of Islas de Gigantes decades ago and I never really paid interest because probably, my ideal definition of an “island getaway” is Boracay, a 6-hour drive from my hometown where it’s swarming with tourists, tourist-priced accommodation and limitless partying. But as years went by, I kind of missed the seclusion – wanting to go to a place where it’s totally laid-back and elusive. And this is how I re-discovered Islas de Gigantes.
Last 2013, we saw and heard a lot of stories of how the islands were badly affected by typhoon Haiyan. People went to help, posted photos and videos through social media on how it was rehabilitated. Slowly, it has transformed as a tourist magnet – attracting vacationers wanting a sweet escape from the hustle and bustle of the metro. Somehow, it became a good omen I suppose.
After months of planning, we have finally decided to visit the islands. Of course, there was a little “anxiety”: will there be accommodation, food/water, and tour packages (because it’s a small community)? We did some research and asked some friends and good thing all of the comments that we heard were mostly positive. So we packed our stuff, and off we went!
Here are the things that I did and experienced during my 3-day stay in Gigantes. And I must say, it was ALL WORTH IT!
Day 1 – Arrival and Lighthouse Tour
We stayed at Gigantes Hideaway Inn, one of the fine resorts in the Island. The resort is owned by Joel. Although we were not able to personally meet, he was actually kind enough to answer all of my queries regarding our accommodation.
The time we arrived, we were treated with a welcome drink while waiting for our accommodation. We chose to stay at the other island (also owned by Gigantes Hideaway) as we wanted to experience a more rustic “feel” of the island. Only tents were available. Water and power supply were limited but we were totally up for it! And by the way, we chose the other island so we can swim at the beach front and it has a better view of the sunset.
After a few minutes of rest, out tour guide brought us to an old, Japanese-era light house. The edifice was kind of dilapidated, but I must say, it’s still picturesque.
At 5:00pm, we went to our tent (at the other island) to take some rest while waiting for dinner.
Day 2 – Island Hopping and Caving
Our second day was super packed. We woke up at 6:00am (which was quite weird for me as I am not a morning person). The island hopping activity was super fun! We went to 5 islands, and what’s nice is that they all have different attractions. Bantigue Island has a sandbar which is quite good for taking selfies, Cabugao Gamay, where they take the iconic photo of the island. Gigantes Sur, where you can find “tangke”: the famed saltwater lagoon and take the 30 ft. cliff jump. And Antonia Island, where you can snorkel and feed the fishes. Island also host several beach activities like banana boat riding and jet skiing. Our afternoon was a trip at Pawikan Cave, in Gigantes Norte. The cave tells a lot of stories, like how the locals survived in the cave during the Japanese invasion and it also became a sanctuary when typhoon Haiyan struck the island.
Day 3 – Relaxing
There was no activity scheduled on our last day but it was definitely a good thing because it gave us more time to relax and retreat. Just looking at the beach makes me appreciate the beauty of the islands. If I was given the chance, I would want to live in the island to escape.
It was definitely a worth-while experience. The beauty of the islands linger like I wanted to take them with me. For me, Islas de Gigantes is my sanctuary. And I don’t want it to be ruined by modernization.
I will some helpful tips in my next blog post!