Dec 30, 2016
Visiting the Lighthouse of Gigantes Island
GPS waypoint: 11°38'17.0"N 123°21'28.5"E
Location: Gigantes Island North (barangay), Carles (municipality), Iloilo (province), Philippines
I was still on the back of a single motorcycle after seeing Bakwitan Cave when we proceeded to the northern-most tip of the island to view the lighthouse. Getting there was through a 5-ft wide concrete road that more or less hugs the island perimeter. At some point, we walked about 50 meters to the lighthouse.
The original lighthouse built by the Spanish has long been replaced by a new and modern one with the help of the Japanese. There used to be access for people to climb up the lighthouse and get a more scenic view. But some tourists who went up there played around risking damage to the solar panels, and posted their selfies on Facebook. Since then, the lighthouse was fenced-in - no one could go up anymore.
new lighthouse in the background and old original building on the foreground
The real magic of this place isn't the lighthouse but the view of the waters and the surrounding islands. The sea-breeze was strong and refreshing which only complemented the scenery.
The old Spanish building still remains but no longer in use. Its partial ruins, the peeling paint, the old architecture, the encroachment of the wild vines draping themselves on the edifice were all artistic, dramatic and nostalgic of a bygone era.
The panoramic view of the ocean including the nearby islands, the strong wind sweeping through your hair and the charm of the original building make the trip to this place compelling.
- hire a single motorcycle, P100/pax, round trip. Usually, a fee of P200 is paid to the motorcycle driver to include 2 visits - the lighthouse and the Bakwitan Cave. You can make an arrange with Wilson, a motorcycle driver, mobile 0929.552.3185
Admission is FREE. They used to charge an admission fee, but that has since been waived. The only expense is the motorcycle hire.
Gigantes Island, Carles, Iloilo, Philippines
- boat for Gigantes Island (North) leaves at 10am but be there at 8am to buy a ticket at the tourism office to ensure your slot. The boat only takes a max of 35 people
- the cheapest place to sleep in Bancal Port is Beverly Hills at P500 for a fan room |
- there is an oyster place selling a huge platter for only P40/kilo |
(US$1 = Php 49.62 as of Jan 2, 2017)
- from the city proper, take a tricycle to the bus terminal P10/pax, 10 mins
- at the bus terminal, take a Ceres bus bound for Estancia but get off at the Balasan Crossing P69/pax, 2.5 hours. Ask the bus conductor to let you off at the junction bound for Carles. Better, at the bus terminal, if there is a bus heading straight for Carles, take it - but there are more buses leaving for Estancia
- at the Balasan Crossing, take a tricycle to the market P10/pax, 10 mins
- at the market, take a jeep for Carles town proper P15/pax, 30 mins
- at the Carles town proper, take a single motorcycle to the Bancal Port P15/pax, 10 mins
- at Bancal Port, you can board the boat for Gigantes Island (departs 10am)
- tricycle ride from Carles town center to Bancal port to board the boat for Gigantes Island
- environmental fee payable at the tourism office
- one-way boat fare to Gigantes Island
- small bottle of Beer na Beer
- big platter of oyster
- most travellers bring their own water from the mainland. Bottled water is available ini Gigantes Island, but quite expensive.
- electricity runs only from 3pm to 11pm
- there are no restaurants, cafe or wifi - you usually eat at your resort
- there is nowhere else to go within town so you usually stay in your resort
- there are only 2 tours offered - land tour (Bakwitan Cave + Lighthouse) and boat tour (Antonia Beach + Cabugao Gamay + Bantique Sandbar + Tangke Lagoon)
- Gigantes Island is actually a cluster of islands - Gigantes North, Gigantes South, Cabugao Gamay, Bantique Island, etc.
- as of this writing, the stakeholders are still struggling towards a business model that can accommodate the overnight popularity of Gigantes Island. Infrastructure need to keep pace. Their aggressive pricing policy and crude guest relations need to be improved.
- Gigantes Island is known for its scallops. Make sure to try a dish!
- places to stay in Gigantes Island would be at
Beach Front Resort,
Jesa Beach Resort,
Se Sun Resort and
Arjan Beach Resort.
If you only want a day tour to Gigantes Island and stay the night in Estancia where there are more offerings - restos, cafes, night life, etc., you can check-in at Paon Beach Club and book a tour package with them. One payment takes care of everything - boat ride, guide, lunch, water, island fees. It's a lot easier to get to Estancia from Roxas City or Iloilo City than it is to travel all the way to Gigantes Island to book the tour there.
- 3 Days in Estancia, Iloilo Jan 2-4, 2017
- Gigantes Island Boat Tour Dec 31, 2016
- Visiting the Lighthouse of Gigantes Island Dec 30, 2016
- Exploring Bakwitan Cave of Gigantes Island Dec 30, 2016
- Overnight in Carles, Iloilo Dec 29-30, 2016
Dec 30, 2016
»» next Traveling story: Gigantes Island Boat Tour
»» back to Traveling
»» back to Homepage