Due to its remote location, the Gigantes Group of Islands in Iloilo is harder to get to than most mainstream tourist destinations in the Philippines. Still, thousands of travelers still flock to Gigantes every year to experience its exotic seascapes. The towns of Carles and Estancia are the main jump-off points, which can be reached by land from all major transport hubs in Panay Island including Iloilo, Roxas City, and Boracay.

The Gigantes Islands are situated approximately 19 kilometers off the coast of mainland Carles on the northeastern tip of Iloilo in Panay Island, Philippines. Aboard land and ferry connections, travel time to Gigantes (via Carles) takes around 5-6 hours from Iloilo City, 3-4 hours from Roxas City, and 6-7 hours from Boracay/Caticlan. The nearest airport to Gigantes is Roxas Airport but the Iloilo International Airport, Kalibo International Airport, and Caticlan-Boracay Airport are also popular transport gateways.

Further readings: Gigantes Travel Guide, Iloilo Travel Guide.

Jump-off Seaports

Bancal Port in the town of Carles is the most convenient jump off point and fastest way to get to Gigantes Islands. It takes around 1.5 hours by pumpboat (local outrigger) ferry from Bancal Port to Gigantes Norte. With daily commuter ferry trips and a Municipal Tourism Office to assist visitors, transiting through Bancal Port is highly recommended instead of the more popular route via Estancia Port. Alternatively, tourists can also charter a boat to get to and around Gigantes from either seaport.

Carles to Gigantes

Bancal Port in Carles is the preferred jump off point to Gigantes after the municipal government had set up a tourism office to assist travelers visiting the islands. Travel time from Bancal Port to Gigantes Norte takes around 1.5 hours. Carles is approximately 1.5 hours from Roxas City, 3-4 hours from Iloilo City, and 3 hours from Kalibo.

There is a regularly scheduled local passenger ferry that runs once daily from Bancal Port to Gigantes Norte Island. The commuter pumpboat departs from Bancal Port at 10AM and arrives in Langob Beach, Gigantes Norte at 11:30AM. The same boat departs from Langob Beach the next day at 2PM and arrives at Bancal Port at 3:30PM.

Estancia to Gigantes

Estancia Port is the main sea transportation hub and fishing port in Northern Iloilo. Traveling by pumpboat from Estancia Port to Gigantes takes approximately two hours. Estancia is approximately 3 hours from Iloilo City and 2 hours from Roxas City.

There are multiple commuter pumpboat routes that ferry passengers to various barangays in the islands. All commuter pumpboats are regularly scheduled once daily only. They arrive and depart at Estancia Port at around the same time too. The pumpboats usually arrive at Estancia around noontime and depart at 2PM. The same boat departs from Gigantes (to Estancia) at 7-9AM. Gigantes Norte Island is the main arrival destination for most tourists since it is where most of the resorts are clustered. The ferry fare from Estancia Port to Brgy. Asluman, Gigantes Norte Island costs P80 per person. Meanwhile, if you are traveling to Brgy. Lantangan, Gigantes Sur, the route is operated by “M/V Three Sisters” or “M/V Romel.”

Travel time from Estancia Bus Terminal to Estancia Port takes around 5 minutes. Tricycle fare from the terminal to the port should cost P10 per passenger.

Getting Around Gigantes

To travel between islands in Gigantes, you need to charter a boat since there are no options for commuting. The bigger islands, Gigantes Norte and Gigantes Sur, have narrow inland roads connecting different villages on the island. The fare for motorcycle taxis, locally known as “single,” costs P10 per person. Roundtrip transfers to the lighthouse in Gigantes Norte costs P60 per person including waiting time.

Transport Gateways

Iloilo City to Gigantes

Most tourists travel to Gigantes via Iloilo since the Iloilo International Airport serves more frequent flights and destinations. Buses and vans from Iloilo City to Carles and Estancia are stationed at Tagbak Terminal in Jaro District. Travel time by bus takes 3-4 hours and the fare costs around P170-P180 per passenger. The bus route is operated by Ceres Liner. Commuter shuttle vans does the trip in only 2 and a half hours and the fare costs P150 per passenger.

From the Iloilo Airport, a taxi ride takes around 20-30 minutes to Tagbak Terminal. Direct daily flights from Manila, Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Puerto Princesa-Palawan, Hong Kong, and Singapore are operated by Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific.

Further readings: Getting to & around Iloilo, Iloilo bus & land transport, Iloilo ferries & seaports.

Roxas to Gigantes

If coming from Manila, Roxas Airport in Roxas City, Capiz may be more convenient since it is nearest to Gigantes, which cut down travel time to around 2-3 hours. Ceres buses and shuttle vans ply the Roxas to Estancia route. Roxas Airport only serves direct daily flights from Manila. They are operated by Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific.

Kalibo, Boracay, Caticlan to Gigantes

There are no direct passenger bus or van routes from Kalibo Caticlan, or Boracay in Aklan to Estancia or Gigantes. You would need to transit through Roxas City. From Kalibo, there are commuter vans that go directly to Roxas. The land travel takes one hour. From Boracay or Caticlan, you can take a bus or van to Kalibo first. Travel time takes 1 hour.

Kalibo Airport serves regularly scheduled direct domestic flights from Manila and Cebu, and international flights from Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing-Capital, Busan, Seoul-Incheon, Shanghai-Pudong, and Taipei. Flights are operated by AirAsia, Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific.

Bacolod to Gigantes

There are no direct commuter routes between Bacolod and Estancia or Gigantes. From Bacolod, you can ride a fastcraft ferry to Iloilo City and then travel by land to Estancia. You may also take the RORO (slow ferry) to Dumangas Port, and then travel to Barotac Nuevo, where you can catch a bus to Estancia.

Manila to Gigantes

From Manila, the fastest way to get to Gigantes is arriving at Roxas Airport. It is also worth to consider transiting through Iloilo Airport, Kalibo Airport, or Boracay-Caticlan Airport since they serve more frequent direct flights to these destinations. Travel time to all mentioned airports takes around 1 hours from Manila-NAIA Airport. Traveling by ferry and RORO to Panay Island is also possible via Caticlan Port.

Cebu to Gigantes

From Cebu, the fastest option is to take a direct flight to Iloilo Airport. Cebu Airport also serves direct flights to Kalibo and Caticlan if ever they are more suited for your itinerary.