The islands of Gigantes Sur and Gigantes Norte, collectively known as Islas de Gigantes, are located at the northeastern part of Iloilo (approximately 18 kilometers off the coast of mainland Panay). Although part of Carles town, the main jump-off point to Islas de Gigantes is Estancia Port, which is the primary seaport in Northern Iloilo. Known for having one of the richest fishing grounds in the Philippines, Northern Iloilo (including Islas de Gigantes) also has a lot of white sands beaches and places of interest, which hold much potential for leisure travel. Unfortunately, tourism is largely undeveloped in these areas and is very inconvenient for tourists to get to. Only travelers willing to go the extra mile can experience the beautiful sights of Islas de Gigantes.
How to Get to Estancia
There’s a daily passenger ferry (pumpboat) service from Estancia fishing port to Brgy. Lantangan in Gigantes Sur Island. From Iloilo City, you can catch a 3 to 4 hour bus (Ceres Liner) to Estancia at the Tagbak Bus Terminal in Jaro District (P171 bus fare). Estancia can also be accessed by a 1 to 2 hour bus ride from Roxas City, Capiz. Dropping off at the integrated bus terminal, it is a 10 minute tricycle ride to the fishing port (P8 tricycle fare).
Isla de Gigantes Sur Ferry from Estancia Port
Estancia Fishing Port
The passenger ferry, which is basically a pumpboat (motorized outrigger), departs once daily from Estancia fishing port enroute to Brgy. Lantangan in Isla de Gigantes Sur (P150 fare). Facing the Visayan Sea, the ferry is stationed at the left side (northern end) of the fishing port. Just ask the locals that you’re looking for the pumpboat (“M/V Three Sisters” or “M/V Romel” ) going to Gigantes. The boat usually arrives at Estancia port around noontime and departs at around 2PM (better be at the port much earlier) . It takes approximately 2 hours sea travel to get Brgy. Lantangan in Isla de Gigantes Sur.
Closing in on Isla de Gigantes
Getting around Gigantes Islands
Brgy. Lantangan in Gigantes Sur Island
Brgy. Lantangan is the most populated area in Gigantes Sur and has its own 1Km+ white sand beachfront. The ferry docks at the southern end of Lantangan. There are single motorcycles available for hire to get to the other parts of Lantangan or to Brgy. Gabi at the other side of the island facing Gigantes Norte Island (P10 fare).
To travel back to Estancia, the boat leaves Brgy. Lantangan early morning at around 7-8am.
There are many local fishing boats for hire at Lantangan if you wish to go on an island hopping tour in Gigantes Sur and surrounding islands. Whole day rental could cost P2,000 per boat (depending on your negotiation or haggling skills).
Tips on traveling to Isla de Gigantes
The main concern when traveling to Gigantes is the lack of available accommodations in the islands. Visitors usually spend the night with the locals since there are no resorts or hotels in the area. If you’ve got no relatives living in Gigantes, ask your friends if they know one, or head directly to the barangay hall for assistance. It is also suggested to buy food (for the first day), water, and other necessities in Estancia since the stores in the island are only limited to sari-sari type establishments. On your second day, you could buy fresh seafood at the barangay but be sure to go to the selling area early morning since the locals usually send most of their catch to the mainland. Better bring enough drinking water for the whole duration of your stay. There’s potable spring water in the island if your stomach is up for it. Electricity is powered by a generator and runs only at night (7PM to early morning).
Suggested Itinerary for Islas de Gigantes
Since the ferry leaves Estancia port at around 2pm, this leaves visitors with enough time to take the early morning bus to Estancia from Iloilo City. The first trip leaves Iloilo City at around 5:30AM. Arrival at Estancia would be 9 to 10am. Head directly to the fishing port and ask about the boat bound for Gigantes. Have early lunch and buy all the stuff you need at the Estancia market area.
If taking the passenger ferry, spend at least 3 days / 2 nights in the island.
Islas de Gigantes 3 days / 2 night itinerary
- Day 1
- Ride jeep / taxi to Tagbak Terminal in Jaro District, Iloilo City
- 5:30AM – Ride Ceres liner bus to Estancia (P171 fare); Drop off at Estancia Bus Terminal
- 9:00AM – Arrival in Estancia Bus Terminal
- Ride tricycle to Estancia Fishing Port (P8 fare)
- 9:10AM to 12:00NN – Buy food, water, and other necessities at the market; Early Lunch
- 12:00NN – Board Gigantes ferry at the fishing port (P150 fare)
- 2:00PM – Departure from Estancia
- 4:00PM – Arrival in Brgy. Lantangan, Gigantes Sur
- Day 2
- Island Hopping Tour. Places of interest:
- Tangke Salt Water Lagoon, Gigantes Sur
- Pawikan Cave, Gigantes Sur
- Cabugaw Gamay Island, Gigantes Sur
- Puting Baybay (Lumpatan Rock)
- Antonia Beach, Gigantes Sur
- Uaydahon Island
- Bantigue Sandbar (Best during sunset)
- Balbagon Island
- Balay ni Mayor
- Langub Beach and Cave, Gigantes Norte
- Spanish-colonial lighthouse (parola), Gigantes Norte
One full day may not be enough time to explore all of the sights in Isla de Gigantes. For more places of interest in Isla de Gigantes visit our Carles Guide.
- Day 3
- 7:00AM – Board ferry going back to Estancia
- 9:00AM – Arrival in Estancia fishing port
- Travel back to Iloilo City
Budget: This is a do-it-yourself itinerary so expenses will vary. For reference it should cost at least P1,500 to P2,000 for a group of 5 persons.
Alternative Travel Plan – Overnight at the Carles or Estancia Mainland
If you prefer to spend the night at the mainland where there are a handful beach resorts and hotels, it is possible to travel to Gigantes Islands as a day trip. Just go to the fishing port and ask around for available pumpboats for hire. Pumpboat rental for the day could cost up to P5,000 (or more).
Taking this alternative, it’s actually better to stay at mainland Carles since Gigantes Sur is just one hour away from Carles town proper / poblacion. Resorts such as Carles Shangri-la Family Resort have their own pumpboat service for guests wishing to go on an island hopping tour of Isla de Gigantes.
If you’ve been to Isla de Gigantes, please do share your travel tips / contact in the comments section. Your inputs will be very helpful to those who are interested to visit the Enchanting Gigantes Islands.