And just off Iloilo's coast is the island province of Guimaras, once part of Iloilo but now an independent province. Also a Philippine gem, waiting to be discovered.
Detailed itinerary at the end of this post.
|Estancia Port, our gateway to Gigantes Islands|
|Shoreline of Islas de Gigantes in Carles, Iloilo|
|Enjoying the bumpy boat ride to Gigantes Islands|
A lot of beautiful beaches and serene islands can be found scattered across the province of Iloilo.
One of the most popular islands is Islas de Gigantes (Gigantes Islands) in Carles which is home to the picturesque Cabugao Gamay Island and Sandbar.
TIP: Seafood prices here are much more affordable than in the city proper, so while you are here, just pig-out and feast on as if there's no tomorrow! :D
|See those rocks we're stepping on? They're not rocks actually, but scallop shells|
While you're in the island, the best way to go around and explore the community is through a habal habal (motorbike). For a cheap amount (P20 - 30), you can have a personal motorbike driver who can take you anywhere you want in the island.
|Riding the habal-habal like a pro! :D|
|Entrance to the lighthouse|
|A scenic view of the beach and the coastline|
From Iloilo City, all it takes is a 15-20 minute boat ride to get you to Guimaras Island - known for producing the sweetest mangoes in the Philippines. Guimaras has a lot of worth-seeing spots and activities such as crowdless & serene white sand beaches, trekking sites, and marine life santuaries.
Iloilo City is one of Philippines' tourist-favorite destinations because of its sumptuous signature cuisine, festive traditions & nightlife, shopping districts and historical sites. It is known to many because of its yearly Dinagyang Festival, a religious and cultural festival held every 4th weekend of January where people in unique and colorful costumes perform street dances.
Food is absolutely one of Iloilo City’s famous facet. Be sure not to miss out on fresh seafood and Iloilo’s signature dishes, especially La Paz Batchoy.
Gigantes Tour/Boat/Hideaway Resort - Kuya Tawi: 0939-258-3756
Guimaras Boat (Ortiz Port to Jordan Wharf and vice versa) - Kuya Hercules: 0948-601-4240
Raymen Beach Resort, Guimaras - 0918-520-7271 or 0927-560-5107
Highway 21 Hotel, Iloilo City - 0917-722-4321
DAY 1 (GIGANTES)
0400 Iloilo airport arrival
- COMMUTE OPTION 1: Shuttle outside airport to Jaro Plaza, look for Andoks at the opposite side of the cathedral, then ride Leganes jeep going to Tagbak)
- COMMUTE OPTION 2: Taxi to Tagbak terminal (approx. P400 –P500)
0800 ETA Estancia Port
0900 Start Island tour going to Isla de Gigantes (approx 2.5 hours boat ride to island) + lunch + hotel check-in (Hideaway Resort)
Gigantes all in expenses (island hopping, lunch, breakfast, boat transfers) – P1,900/head (10pax)
Day 1 expenses: P1900/pax (all-in tour, accom, lunch) + MT*
*MT = Meal and transportation
DAY 2 (GIGANTES to ILOILO CITY)
0700 Breakfast at Hideaway Resort
0800 Island hopping continuation
1200 ETD Hideaway Resort
1400 ETA Estancia port
1700 ETA Iloilo. Check-in at Highway 21 or Sarabia Charter Pension house.
1800 Dinner at Asian Spoon (Atria Park) or Tatoy's Manokan (Villa Beach)
2000 Back to hotel
Day 2 expenses: P280/pax (accomm) + MT
Highway 21 rates:
Sarabia Charter Pension rates:
DAY 3 (GUIMARAS)
0800 Ortiz Port (Hotel to Ortiz: Ride jeep Villa Sta Cruz/Baybay route – P7 fare)
0830 ETA Guimaras Island + Check-in at Raymen Hotel
0900 onwards: Island hopping, wind mills etc.
Overnight at Raymen
Day 3 expenses: P340 (accomm) + P95 + P20 (950 island hopping + 200 tip) = P455/pax + MT
Raymen room rates:
Room for 8pax without breakfast = P2,800 (300 additional per extra pax / 200 extra bed)
DAY 4 (GUIMARAS TO ILOILO CITY)
0900 Back in Iloilo City
1000 ETA Ortiz Port
1000 onwards - FREE to roam around Iloilo with the following suggested destinations:
- Ride tricycle going to Iloilo City Hall
- Visit Plaza Libertad and Calle Real (walking distance)
- Ride Jaro CPU jeepney going to Lapaz Market. Coffee at Madge and Batchoy at Netong's. From Calle Real going to Lapaz Market you will pass by Capitol and Iloilo Museum.
- From Lapaz Market ride Jaro CPU jeep going to Jaro Plaza. Visit Jaro Cathedral and Biscocho House for the pasalubong.
- From Jaro Plaza ride Leganes Jeep going to Sm City so you can leave your bags at the dept. store baggage counter.
- Lunch at Jo's Inato (chicken inasal) or Ponsyon (seafood) at Plazuela de Iloilo. It's right beside SM City.
- Dessert at Maridel's also at Plazuela de Iloilo. Or Desserts In The Sky (approx. 500m away).
- From Plazuela you can walk going to Atria Park then Smallville until you reach River Esplanade. If you don't want to walk, you can ride Leganes or Mandurriao jeep to River Esplanade (just tell the driver). Travel time is less than 5 mins. via jeep from Plazuela going to Esplanade.
- You can walk from Esplanade going to Molo Church. The park is 2.5km long.
- Last stop is Molo Church. Also try Joanns Fishball near Andoks.
- From Molo Church you can ride a taxi going to SM City. It's around 80 to 100 pesos.
- Get bags at SM. Proceed to terminal at SM as there are van services there going to the airport. Fare is 75 pesos.
1600 ETA Iloilo airport
1855 ETD for Manila
2000 ETA NAIA