Iloilo: Gigantes Island, Concepcion, Guimaras and Iloilo City for Php8K+

October 23, 2018

The province that occupies a large portion of Panay Island in Western Visayas Region. I bet if someone would mention Iloilo, the first thing that’s gonna come up on everyone’s mind will be Gigantes Islands (Islas de Gigantes or Land of the Giants). You read it right, GIANTS. It’s because of a local legend about those coffins found in Bakwitan Cave with gigantic set of human bones. Maybe legends were true but we’ll never know.

Gigantes Islands became a tourist destination because of its most photographed site, which is the Cabugao Gamay island. One of the five islands included on the island hopping.

 

 

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Aside from Gigantes Islands, the next destination would be Guimaras Island. While recently the islands in Concepcion has been gaining popularity which has been included on our itinerary and in this travel guide.

Read: Mindoro: Puerto Galera, Beaches and Waterfalls | Travel Guide

How to get there

  • Fly to Iloilo or Roxas (Travel Time: 1hr 30 mins | Fare: Php1,000+)

There are a lot of entry points to visit the province of Iloilo and I’m recommending flying to Iloilo International Airport, if Iloilo City and Guimaras Island are at the top of your list. But if you want to head straight to Isla de Gigantes then the nearest airport would be Roxas City Airport. Because it would take you 3-4 hours of bus ride if you’ll land in Iloilo City than the 1.5 hours travel coming from Roxas City.

I have written separate guides/directions for each destination, check them out below.

Places to Visit

  • Gigantes Islands are green.
  • Concepcion’s Islands are pink.
  • Guimaras Island are yellow.
  • Hotel and accommodations are purple.
  • City Tour are orange.

 Islas de Gigantes

How to get there:
  • From Roxas City Airport, hire a tricycle going to Ceres Terminal then take the bus going to Bancal Port. (Travel Time: 1hr | Fare: Php110+)
  • Take a boat at Bancal Port going to Gigantes Norte. (Travel Time: 1hr | Fare: Php110+ Environmental Fee: Php50+)

For backpackers, there’s a public boat going to Gigantes Norte, where resorts are usually located. If you’re in a group, you may charter a boat starting at Php2,000 for 4 pax which includes the island hopping. You may contact Willie A Bacas – 0948 677 6946.

Isla de Gigantes’ famous site
Cabugao Gamay. Fee – Php50
Bantigue Island (Sandbar)
Tangke Lagoon
Little Boracay
Antonia’s Island. Fee – Php40
Bakwitan Cave
Ruins at Lighthouse

Read: Davao City, Samal Island and Talicud Island | Travel Guide

Sea Shells to try:

Gigantes Island is abundant with scallops and you could see empty shells almost everywhere around the island. It can be purchase Php1 per piece or Php100+ per basket. You may request the kind of dish you want the scallops to be cooked, we had ours steamed, baked, sweet and sour and grilled.

Scallops
Oyster (Wasay-wasay)
Group photo with the couple whom we shared our tours and meals while in Gigantes islands.

Concepcion

How to get there:
  • From Gigantes Norte, we took the public boat going to Estancia Port. (Travel time: 1hour | Fare: Php100)
  • Upon arrival, take a tricycle going to the bus terminal. (Travel Time: 15mins | Fare: Php10)
  • Take a van or bus going to Iloilo City and tell the driver to drop you off at Sara bus terminal. (Travel time: 40 mins | Fare: Php100)
  • Then take a jeep going to Concepcion’s Tourism Office (near the basketball court or public market). (Travel time: 20 mins | Fare: Php15)
  • The tourism officer will assist you for the boat rental and accommodation, if you don’t have a contact. The boat will take you to your preferred island to spend the night and would return the next morning for the island hopping. Rate is at Php 4,000 (four islands, depending on which are available). 
With the tourism officer of the day.

For your accommodation, you may choose between Sand Bar Island Resort, Villa Manuela both in Bulubadiangan Island or Badiango Island Resort. Luckily for us, we met two (2) travelers at the Tourism Office whom we shared the boat rent and accommodation at Villa Manuela for Php 1,600. In addition, there are no restaurants in the island, you may buy ingredients at the public market near the tourism office. You may cook your own food or have the resort cook them for you with a fee. 

Bulubadiangan Island (Sand Bar Island Beach Resort). Fee – Php25/person

 

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Bago Sipol Island
Agho Island in the background

Lumpatan Foot Walk & Rock Formation

 

 

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It was Saint John’s feast day and people are on the beach celebrating. These kids are better swimmers than me.

Guimaras Island

How to get there:
  • From Iloilo City, take a jeep that would pass to Ortiz wharf. Buy a ticket for Php14 for the boat ride going to Jordan Wharf which will only take 15 minutes.
  • Upon arrival, proceed to Tourism office for registration, They would also help you arrange a land tour around Guimaras via tricycle, we had ours at Php1,500. It’s better to start your land tour as early as 7AM so you would be finished by 3PM and still have time to relax at Alubijod Beach where most resorts are in. You may contact Kuya Bugoy – 0920 261 7015.
Guimaras Land Tour
Smallest Plaza

 

 

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The Pitstop Restaurant’s famous Mango Pizza
San Lorenzo Wind Mills
Trappist Giftshop
Mango Research Center
Guisi Lighthouse
Alubijod Beach

There are lots of hotels and resorts around Guimaras Island but it’s better to stay in Nueva Valencia, if you’re planning to do the island hopping for the next day. We booked ours at Raymen Beach Resort for Php1,650/night. The rate for their island hopping starts at Php500 for one (1) hour and additional Php150 for the next succeeding hour. Ours only took two (2) hours to see the islands near Alubijod Beach. Some of the sites has entrance fees so bring extra money while on tour.

Guimaras Island Hopping
Natago Beach. Fee – Php50/person

Baras Cave
Ave Maria Island
Samarah Floating Cottage. Fee – Php200/boat

Lamurawan
My friend and I enjoying the sun in Guimaras Island.

Read: Bohol: Island Hopping, Chasing Waterfalls + Cave Pools | Travel Guide

City Tour

My friend and I didn’t do much of the city tour, since we were already tired from all the travelling for the past four days. Aside from the Molo Church and The Mansion, the farthest we’ve been to was Garin Farm in San Joaquin which is an-hour-bus-ride from Iloilo City. I recommend visiting Garin Farm in the afternoon around 3 or 4pm, since it could be exhausting to take the 200+ steps if you go there in the morning under the scorching sun.

Garim Farm
A piece of heaven at Garim Farm
Molo Church

The Molo Mansion
The Molo Mansion Cafe

Where to Stay

Se San Beach Resort
Isla Gigantes, Carles, Iloilo
0927 435 4378

Raymen Beach Resort
Sitio Alubihod, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras Island

Villa Manuela Resort
Sand Bar Island Beach, Bolobadiangan Concepcion, Iloilo
0910 578 8323 / 0995 667 1872

Urban Inn
Luna Street cor. Arroyo Magdalo St. (In Front of St Clements Parish), Lapaz, La Paz, Iloilo
(033) 323 4277

SunSea Resort
Guimaras Circumferential Road Nueva Valencia, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras Island
0919 950 4174

Badiango Island Resort
Sitio Danao-danao, Brgy. Polopiña, Concepcion, Iloilo
0920 901 3452

Where to Eat

  • The Pitstop Restaurant’s famous Mango Pizza
Mango Pizza, Carbonara with bits of bacon and mango, toasted bread and fries.

Sample Itinerary

This was our itinerary for our 6D/5N trip in Iloilo, we only went to places I want to see and there might be sites that are not in your list. If you haven’t got any plans your incoming Iloilo trip, you may use this as guide and tweak to what suit your budget and time.

Time

Activity

Arrival in Iloilo City
20:00 Check in
20:40 ETD from Manila
22:00 ETA in Iloilo
22:30 Sleep
Day 1 Carles (Gigantes Island)
4:00 Wake Up
5:00 ETD from Tagbak Terminal to Bancal Port
8:30 ETA in Bancal Port / Tourism Office
10:00 ETD to Gigantes Island
11:00 ETA in Gigantes Norte / Check in at Se San Resort
12:00 Lunch
13:00 – 16:00 Island Hopping

Cabugao Gamay
Bantigue Island
Tangke Lagoon
Little Boracay
Antonia Island

16:30 Back to Sesan Resort / Freshen Up
17:00 Land Tour thru Habla-habal

Bakwitan Cave
Lighthouse

19:30 Dinner
21:00 Sleep
Day 2 Concepcion
6:30 Wake Up / Breakfast
8:00 ETD to Estancia Port
10:00 ETA in Estancia Port then hire a trike to Bus Terminal
10:45 At the terminal, take a van or bus going to Sara
11:30 Ride a jeep going to Concepcion Tourism Office
12:00 Log at the Concepcion Tourism and pay environmental fee – Php 60
12:15 Buy food at the market / Lunch
13:00 ETA and Check in Bulubadiangan Island (Sand Bar Island Beach Resort) – Php 25 – entrance
13:30 – 17:30 Beach Bumming / Swimming / Siesta
19:30 Dinner / Socials
21:00 Sleep
Day 3 Island Hopping in Concepcion & Back to Iloilo City
6:00 Wake Up / Photo Ops / Swimming
7:00 Breakfast / Prep
8:00 Check Out / Start of Island Hopping
8:00 – 12:00 Island Hopping

Badiango Island Resort / Lover’s Lane – Php 50 – entrance
Bago Sipol Island
Lumpatan Foot Walk & Rock Formation

12:30 ETA in Concepcion Tourist Lounge
14:00 Take a bus bound for Iloilo City
16:00 ETA in Iloilo City
17:00 – 19:00 Free Time
19:30 Dinner
21:00 Sleep
Day 4 Guimaras Island & Land Tour
6:00 Wake Up / Prep / Breakfast
7:30 ETD from Ortiz Wharf
8:45 ETA in Jordan Wharf
9:00 – 15:00 Land Tour

Smallest Plaza
Navalas Church
San Lorenzo Wind Mills
The Pitstop Restaurant’s famous Mango Pizza
Mango Research Center
Trappist Monastery
Guisi Lighthouse and Beach
Alibuhod Beach

11:45 Lunch at the Pitstop Restaurant’s famous Mango Pizza
15:30 Check in at Raymen Beach Resort
16:00 Swimming / Beach Bumming
19:00 Dinner / Socials
21:00 Sleep
Day 5 Guimaras Island & Island Hopping
6:00 Wake Up / Prep
7:00 Breakfast
8:00 – 10:00 Island Hopping

Nagtago Beach – Php 100 – entrance
Lamurawan
Baras Cave
Ave Maria Island
Isla Naburot
Samarah Floating Cottage – Php 200 / boat

10:00 ETA in Raymen’s Beach Resort
11:00 Swimmig & Prep
12:00 Check Out
13:30 ETD to Pasalubong Center
13:45 ETA in Jordan Wharf to Ortiz Wharf
15:30 Try a La Paz Batchoy
16:00-20:00 Free Time
21:00 Sleep
Day 6 City Tour and Off to Manila
7:00 Wake Up / Breakfast
8:00 Ride a jeep bound for San Joaquin
9:40 ETA in San Joaquin, hire trike to Garin Farm
9:45 ETA in Garin Farm
10:00 – 10:45 Explore Garin Farm – Php 150 – entrance
11:00 Brunch
11:30 ETD to Iloilo City
13:30 ETA in Iloilo City
13:30 – 14:30 Molo Church
The Molo Mansion
14:45 Snack at the Molo Mansion Cafe
15:00 – 16:30 Rest / Freshen Up / Pack Up
17:30 ETA at Iloilo Airport
18:00 Check in / Dinner
19:35 ETD to Manila
20:45 ETA in Manila

Sample Budget

Below is the summary of our expenses for our Iloilo trip, souvenirs and other personal expenses are not includedWe saved a lot on food and accommodation when we were in Iloilo City since my friend’s cousins live there. Thank you Ate Day and Kuya Mike! 

Summary of Expenses  Amount   Total 
Airfare        1,824.56
Vien’s 641.24
Chai’s 1,183.32
Accommodation        3,400.00
Fan room at Se San Resort       1,000.00
Kubo at Manuela’s in Bulubadiangan          750.00
Standard Room at Raymen Beach Resort       1,650.00
Transportation       2,060.00
Van to Carles Port          440.00
Passenger Boat to Isla Gigantes          320.00
Boat to Estancia Port          200.00
Tricycle to Estancia Terminal            20.00
Van to Sara          200.00
Jeep to Concepcion            30.00
Side Car to Concepcion Tourist Lounge            20.00
Bus to Iloilo City          234.00
Taxi to Ortiz Wharf          100.00
Boat to Jordan Wharf            28.00
Tricycle to Jordan Wharf          150.00
Boat to Ortiz Wharf            28.00
Jeep to Garin Farm          100.00
Tricycle to Garin Farm            50.00
Tricycle to Main Road            20.00
Bus to Molo          120.00
Food       3,595.00
Isla Gigantes          950.00
Concepcion          695.00
Iloilo City          730.00
Guimaras       1,220.00
Island Hopping / Tour       5,750.00
Island Hopping in Isla Gigantes          800.00
Land Tour in Isla Gigantes          400.00
Habal-habal in Isla Gigantes          400.00
Island Hopping in Concepcion       2,000.00
Land Tour in Guimaras       1,500.00
Island Hopping in Guimaras          650.00
Entrance Fee & Guide Fee       1,110.00
Garin Farm          300.00
Nagtago Beach          100.00
Samarah’s Floating Cottage          200.00
Badiago and Tour Guide          100.00
Bulubadiangan Island            50.00
Environmental in Isla Gigantes            60.00
Environmental in Concepcion          120.00
Other Entrance Fees          180.00
Total (excluding airfare)                         Php15,915

 

I hope this travel guide helps you plan your Iloilo trip and excites the travel bug in you. Safe travels always!