Last November 2016, I traveled to a province located in the region of Western Visayas in the Philippines. It is a place known for Dinagyang festival where you can see spectacular tribal dancing performances, rhythmical drum beats, impressive decorations and colorful costumes. Aside from that, Iloilo is a tourist hub where the best restaurants, museums, colonial churches, grand vintage houses and nightlife in the province await.
Today, I’m going to give you a city tour plus i’m going to share with you a must visit place in Iloilo. If you’re looking for a break from stress, maybe this place is what you need.
Those willing to travel for 5 hours can look forward to enjoying beautiful seascapes and a laid-back island lifestyle that Gigantes has to offer. The islands are blessed with fine white sand beaches, bountiful fresh seafood and magnificent rock formations.
How to get there?
From Manila, book a flight going to Iloilo City. Again, I booked mine for $10 – yes, it’s a round trip ticket. I also got a promo fare when I traveled to Singapore.
From Iloilo International Airport, take a van going to SM City Iloilo. Fare is 70 pesos ($1.4 USD) per person.
On our first day, we decided to stay in the city. So, my 2 friends and I decided to have a quick lunch at SM City Iloilo. This place is also known for their tasty Batchoy, so that’s what we ordered.
Ted’s Lapaz Batchoy for $3. Not bad! 🙂
We booked a room at Ong Bun Pension House.
I’m with my friend, Shanet.
We booked an executive room for only 750php ($15 USD). We were not expecting so much because the price is cheap and I also read some comments that rooms here are not well-maintained. But when we entered our room, I was surprised and realized that not all the rooms are like that. Well, it depends on your luck, I guess. If you are looking for a budget-friendly hotel you can go for this. It is just a few blocks away from Robinson’s Place, SM, cafes and restaurants. Easy access to your needs and has a good free WiFi.
And oh, btw, I forgot to mention that Iloilo is my mom’s hometown and so, I also took the chance to visit my grandparents.
At night, we visited the mansion located in Molo, Iloilo City.
Look how supportive my friend is. “Bes, awra pa!”
We also tried the street foods beside Molo church.
We went to Atria for dinner..
So, at 5PM we took the taxi to Joroshely, Tagbak terminal. The fare is 150 pesos ($3 USD).
Luckily, we were able to catch the van going to Carles. Fare is only 200 pesos ($4 USD), I repeat, 200 pesos! because the dispatchers at that terminal over charge the commuters especially if they know that it’s your first time. I hate getting ripped off!
Finally, we arrived at around 9AM. We arrived an hour early from our call time which is 10AM. We were honored to meet these locals who are very accommodating.
Friendly locals of Carles
This guy even gave us free ice candies. But we didn’t wanna take advantage of his kindness so we paid for the ice candies we ate.
If you guys are looking for an affordable and quality tour package to Gigantes Island, you may contact Isla Gigantes on Facebook. The hosts were very accommodating. Thumbs up to Ms. Max, Ms. Downy, Nonoy and the rest.
We were lucky to get a promo for only 1,199 pesos/pax ($24 USD) inclusive of accommodation,3 meals with eat-all-you can seafood lunch, boat transfers, private boat for island hopping, caving experience, all entrance fees, tourism/environmental fees and exceptional tour guides.
Our first stop:
Cabugao Gamay — The famous “selfie island”.
Perfect site for snorkeling on the other side, and calm swimming on the other side.
We visited other islands, too but I forgot to take photos coz I was just in awe of the beauty of the place.
Socials, bonfire under the stars by the beach
We woke up at 5am then started trekking for half an hour. Difficulty level is 2/9.
Note: Don’t forget to bring bottled water, a towel and a camera 🙂
My caving experience
Among the places we visited this is my favorite! The Tangke Saltwater Lagoon. Some say this place is better than Coron, Palawan… we’ll see, i’ll go to Coron this February 22.
Follow my blog, i’ll keep you posted! Life Is a Song
Tangke is a natural saltwater pool located in a hidden spot behind the steep cliffs of Isla de Gigantes
We arrived in Carles at around 1 PM. There was no van going back to Iloilo City, we were just lucky to have met kind-hearted people who sent us to Iloilo City even though it was out of their way. Thanks to Tita Ellen Divinagracia and her hubby tito Leo and also to Alonsagay couple for helping us catch our flight. We are truly indebted to you for your help and kindness. May the Lord bless you more!
END OF TOUR