Thursday, June 15, 2017

Gigantes Island DIY Travel and Budget Guide with Kids in Tow

Before our trip to Gigantes Island or Isla de Gigantes as some call it, I noticed that most of the blogs and articles are coming from a backpacker. Most of them traveled alone or with friends so it made me really nervous if I can manage to make it a memorable trip with a 3 year old son in tow. Although knowing my sister and Nanay will be there with us, I still had a separation anxiety that Daryl couldn't come with us. It's a first, you know.

So then, I would like to help other Mommies who wishes to travel in Gigantes Island when you are carrying your kids with you. I would like to reiterate that I am no expert and not a pro in traveling. These are only a tip or two to make your travel easier.

How to get to Gigantes Island

1. Take a flight going to Roxas Airport. This is the closest airport to Estancia or Carles which are your entry point to Gigantes Island. From airport, transportation are available to take you to Bancal port in Carles, or Estancia Port.From Bancal, you may take a passenger boat to take you to the island.

2. You could also book a flight to Ilo-ilo International Airport by which will require you 2-3 hours land travel to get to the port. Get the earliest flight since you would need to allot a total of 5 hours to get to Isla de Gigantes. If you are traveling as a family, private vans are available on arrival area of the airport. Don't forget to haggle.

From Estancia port, you can arrange a private boat with your hotel especially if you are traveling as a family. For public transportation, it can cost around Php85-Php100/head. Your choice of hotel probably has a number of options for transfers and island hopping included so you may wish to check with them. In our case, we rented a boat from a relative that served as our transfers and island hopping boat.

Things to do as a Family

Most of the hotels in Isla de Gigantes offer a package from transfers, meals, activities etc. You can either take advantage of it for a worry - free travel or you could DIY your trip just like we did. Since we have very limited time here, packages aren't a good deal for us. Depending on your hotel choice, prices of their packages could range from Php2,000 to Php2,500/head. This is based on the hotel where we stayed so pretty much, the prices around could be the same.


1. Island Hopping.

Arrange your activity from your hotel or you could rent a boat separately with a price range of Php2,500-4,500 depending on how many you are in a boat. Tourist guide fee is a standard of Php500.

  • Antonia Beach 

With an entrance fee of Php20/head, you can enjoy the white, fine sand on the other part of the island. Where our boat docked, there were seashells all over so it was kinda hard to walk barefoot.

  • Bantigue Sand Bar

 You can enjoy this sand bar free of charge. With almost fine sand, this place is perfect for beach bumming although be careful with your kids because waves can be pretty strong too.

  • Tangke Saltwater Lagoon

We skipped this due to strong waves. A reason to go back, isn't it? =) Anyway, you can schedule your island hopping in the morning for a chance of a calm water. Best to visit on summer months.
  • Cabugao Gamay


 Entrance fee of Php50/head/adult and Php20/head/kids. This place capped off our trip even though we were so sad to skip the Tangke Saltwater Lagoon. As I have mentioned on my previous post, please be very careful in bringing your kids on the view deck. Rocks are very sharp, there aren't any cemented place above that you can walk to and the way up or down can be very steep for them.

2. Old Spanish Lighthouse.

3. Bakwitan Cave

Due to time restrictions, we skipped the last two activities. We were really looking forward to do things as much as possible in a short period of time but I guess we could always go back. =)

Places to Stay:

1. Maruja Flora's Island Resort - located in Cabugao Gamay Island
2. Rosewood Place Resort
3. Arjan Beach Resort - (close on the time of our visit)
4. Gigantes Hideaway Inn

These resorts offer backpacking. Fan and airconditioned rooms are available to some so if you are with your kids, better to get the airconditioned room. You don't want them to be complaining that it's hard to sleep at night because of not having a fan or AC. Lol! Also, electricity are no longer available from 6am up to around 3 or 4pm. I can't be so sure since we arrived nearly 6pm and electricity are already available.

Fan rooms costs Php200-250 while airconditioned rooms range from Php500-1,100.

Itinerary and Budget Guide


  •  You can get the caves on your Day 1 then Island hopping on your next day morning. The rates of boats can vary. The Php6,000 we paid was cheaper than those the hotels provide which ranges from Php7,000 to Php7,500 for 10 persons on a boat.
  • If you are coming from Iloilo, it is suggested that you have your side trip to Guimaras (which I'll blog about too in the coming days) since it's only 15 minutes away thru passenger boat in Guijalo Port. 
  • It is suggested to book a flight from Roxas on your first day going to Isla de Gigantes then get your flight going back to Manila from Ilo-ilo so you could also have a tour around the province or in Guimaras. 
  • Only seafood are available. There might be some meat (pork, chicken or beef) if you request it from the hotel ahead of time. The island boasts their fresh seafood like scallops so why don't you take advantage of that specially if you're a fan of it. 
  • Always ask if the kids can be free-of-charge.  

Just like many wonderful places here in the Philippines, Gigantes Island offers full packed-experience for the whole family so why left the kids at home? Bring them with you next time you plan your out of town trips so they could also learn from the outside world. Traveling is a great way to learn new things for the whole family. =)

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