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3 Days in Estancia, Iloilo Jan 2-4, 2017

3 Days in Estancia, Iloilo

GPS waypoint: 11°27'40.89"N 123°09'26.88"E
Location: Estancia (municipality), Iloilo (province), Philippines

No Boat for Bantayan
From the map, I noticed that Gigantes Island wasn't too far from Bantayan, Cebu. I lost my interest circumnavigating the rest of Panay Island with that realization. I have always wanted to go to Bantayan, but it never happened despite my long stays in Cebu City. I talked to a merchant in Gigantes if I could ride on his private boat to Bantayan, but was told I just missed it. That meant I had to go to Estancia to catch another boat for Bantayan. But upon arrival in Estancia, I had to wait 2 more days for the Bantayan boat. I had to find a place to stay.

Paon Beach ClubPaon Beach Club
I ventured into town and luckily, talked to the owner of Paon Beach Club who liked my online marketing program. This would be my sanctuary for the 2 nights I would stay in Estancia. Paon was right smack on the beach. With its multi-level resort, I could enjoy the beach scenery from atop a balcony while enjoying my meal. My room was spartan but comfortable, offering basic amenities - tv, ensuite and a/c. I particularly liked the tangy homemade nachos. The Hototay Soup was good, but it didn't taste like Hototay - more like Nido Soup. The sizzling seafood tastes great, but they should have used bigger shrimps. Altogether, I got too comfortable at Paon that I stayed there for the most part instead of venturing into town.

It was a bit unusual, but I spent a great deal of time with the owner. We just talked about many things, but I also conducted a pranayama class (breath regulation exercise) and nauli asanas (yogic stomach churning) to boost his strength and promote regularity. I discussed how he could effectively promote his resort by way of optimizing guest feedback.

3 Days in Estancia, Iloilo
Paon Beach Club offered insulation from the city noise

DeRamos Talabahan
When I heard there was a popular oyster place (talabahan) in town, I took the trike and had dinner at DeRamos Talabahan. It's an unpretentious roadside eatery popular with the locals who enjoy their oyster while belting out a karaoke tune. At P25 for a helfty serving, I paid a total of P130 for 2 orders, rice, 2 sticks of isaw and a Red Horse Beer. Whoa! I could live here!

Ending Thoughts
Two nights went by fast. Before I knew it, I was already on the dock waiting for my 9am boat to Bantayan to depart. Entancia was short but sweet, with all that pampering I got from Paon Beach Club.

--- TheLoneRider

Next stop: Bantayan Island, Cebu

arriving at Estancia from Gigantes Island starting the day right at Paon Beach Club beach life wide outdoor space at Paon Beach Club
crunchy boneless fried dilis...try it! just hanging....watching the waves go by dusk is always poetic beach view from the elevated level
chill out time on a hammock roughing it at DeRamos Talabahan locals enjoy their oyster with karaoke 2 orders of oyster, 2 sticks of barbeque, one rice and one Red Horse Beer for P130 ($2.75)!

Estancia FYI / Tips

  • boat for Gigantes Island (Sur) leaves at 1:00pm. There are other boats leaving for Gigantes North as well.
  • you can also stay at Estancia and take a day-tour of Gigantes Island through Paon Beach Club

How to Get to Estancia

  • from Roxas City, Iloilo - from the city proper of Roxas, take a tricycle to the bus terminal P10/pax, 10 mins. At the bus terminal, take a Ceres bus bound for Estancia ~P80/pax, less than 3 hours
  • from Tabuelan, Cebu - effective Oct. 2, 2016 | take the Tabuelan Ocean Jet, departs 6:00am daily | 2 hours, 30 mins | P600 | proceed to North Bus Terminal for Ceres Bus transfers beginning at 2:00am
  • from Bantayan Island, Cebu - a boat (Balt Bep, 0949.883.3551) leaves Bantayan for Estancia, Sun-Tue-Thur at 9am, P300, 4 hours

Trips from Estancia

  • to Bantayan Island, Cebu - a boat (Balt Bep, 0949.883.3551) leaves Estancia for Bantayan, MWF at 9am, P300, 4 hours
  • to Tabuelan, Cebu - effective Oct. 2, 2016 | P600 | departs 9:30am daily | 2 hours, 30 mins | Ceres Buses available at Tabuelan Port

Things to do, Places to go in Estancia

  1. DeRamos Talabahan - local favorite with karaoke bar. P25/hefty serving. 11°27'29.93"N 123°08'26.77"E

Estancia Cost Index

(US$1 = Php 49.77 as of Jan 5, 2017)
  • PHP 15 usual tricycle fare
  • PHP 25 one order of talaba at DeRamos

Google Map Gigantes Island, Carles, Iloilo, Philippines

tourist attractions in Gigantes Island tourist attractions
  • Bakwitan Cave in Gigantes Island Bakwitan Cave - deep cave with high chambers and connection stalactites and stalagmites
  • lighthouse in Gigantes Island Lighthouse - scenic view, abandoned Spanish-era building with patina and nostalgic architecture
  • Antonia Beach in Gigantes Island Antonia Beach - white sand beach, limestone rock face you can climb on | 11°35'07.88"N 123°21'18.58"E
  • Bantigue Sandbar in Gigantes Island Bantigue Sandbar - long, extended and winding sandbar
  • Cabugao Gamay Island in Gigantes Island Cabugao Gamay Island - small island with white sand beach and viewpoint
  • Tangke Lagoon in Gigantes Island Tangke Lagoon - inland lagoon that goes with the tide
hotels in Carles hotel

Bancal Port, Carles FYI / Tips

  • 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 | 11°33'26.82"N 123°09'22.83"E
  • there is an oyster place selling a huge platter for only P40/kilo | 11°33'26.83"N 123°09'28.37"E

How to Get to Gigantes Island, Carles from Roxas City

  1. from the city proper, take a tricycle to the bus terminal P10/pax, 10 mins
  2. 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
  3. at the Balasan Crossing, take a tricycle to the market P10/pax, 10 mins
  4. at the market, take a jeep for Carles town proper P15/pax, 30 mins
  5. at the Carles town proper, take a single motorcycle to the Bancal Port P15/pax, 10 mins
  6. at Bancal Port, you can board the boat for Gigantes Island (departs 10am)

Bancal Port, Carles Cost Index

(US$1 = Php 49.62 as of Jan 2, 2017)
  • PHP 15 tricycle ride from Carles town center to Bancal port to board the boat for Gigantes Island
  • PHP 75 environmental fee payable at the tourism office
  • PHP 80 one-way boat fare to Gigantes Island
  • PHP 35 small bottle of Beer na Beer
  • PHP 40 big platter of oyster

Gigantes Island FYI / Tips

  • 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, Gigantes Hideaway, Se Sun Resort and Arjan Beach Resort.

Alternative way to tour Gigantes Island from Estancia

Paon Beach ClubIf 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.

Carles/Estancia, Iloilo Blogs by TheLoneRider

  1. 3 Days in Estancia, Iloilo Jan 2-4, 2017
  2. Gigantes Island Boat Tour Dec 31, 2016
  3. Visiting the Lighthouse of Gigantes Island Dec 30, 2016
  4. Exploring Bakwitan Cave of Gigantes Island Dec 30, 2016
  5. Overnight in Carles, Iloilo Dec 29-30, 2016
Facebook Users
Jan 2-4, 2017

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