Exploring Iloilo: How to go to Isla de Gigantes

I have been a frequent visitor of the province of Iloilo ever since I was a kid. My mom, though she was born in Manila, was raised in Iloilo where her family and relatives are originally from. Regardless of our frequent trips, I never knew much of this province. Not until I was already in my late 20’s and was making my traveling dreams come to life.

We were lucky enough to book one of the cheapest flights we’ve ever had on March 2015, when Cebu Pacific’s famous piso fare promo was out. Our round trip tickets to and from Iloilo cost Php 700.00 per person which was scheduled to depart on December of 2015.

From Iloilo airport, we hired a UV express for ourselves and headed for the bus and van terminal that caters trips to Estancia. We agreed to pay the UV Php 500.00 for a 30-minute ride to our destination.

Mishap #1: The UV driver dropped us at the new bus terminal where trips to Estancia are also available. However, the vans are located on the next one which made up take a short 7-peso jeepney ride to reach our destination.

Landmarks of the correct bus and van terminal are: Ted’s La Paz Batchoy, Andok’s and Mercury Drug Store (across the street).

We took a passenger van going to Estancia for around Php 150.00/pax. The idea that made us choose this method is to save traveling time. The downside, however, was the failure of the air conditioning to beat the outside heat and the sardine-ish space we had to endure for about an hour and a half. An alternative would be taking a bus headed to Estancia. This method is cheaper but longer in travel time as the bus takes another route and makes several stops.

From the van drop off, we took a tricycle going to Estancia port. I forgot how much exactly we paid for the trike, but I remember it didn’t exceed a hundred pesos.

Our guide, Lexter, and his crew were already waiting for us at the port when we arrived. Since we were exhausted during the land travel from the city to Estancia, he told us to rest first before we leave. The good thing about renting a whole boat to ourselves is that we have 100% control of our time. Heehee.

Tip: Try the lugaw in one of the stores at Estancia port. It’s soooooooo good! And cheap!

After catching our breaths and indulging in delicious porridge, we boarded our boat and sailed to Isla Gigantes. The travel time was approximately 2 hours with a stopover at a small island for sight-seeing and photo op purposes.

If you opt to take a passenger boat, you will have to take the trip schedules in consideration. You may coordinate with your accommodation host for details when taking passenger boats.

Mishap #2: We were too lax that day and since the waters were calm, we didn’t wear our life vests upon boarding the boat. While sailing, coast guards who were roaming the seas saw us and caught our attention. Our bad! Really sorry for that. Lexter and Porky (the other guide) laughed it off after the coast guards left but they told us that coast guards issue tickets as well for violations.

I was told that you can also opt to take a flight to Roxas City and go to Isla de Gigantes via Carles port. I’m not familiar with this one, but I’m looking forward to trying this route when I go back. 🙂

Read more for an ultimate getaway:

Follow my misadventures on Instagram for daily updates: @lahainaandtheflipflops


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