Have you ever tried booking a flight just because of the temptation of SEAT SALE? No plans on where to go or how much money to bring? Admit it!
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In this post, we will share with you our experiences and TIPS when we booked a flight to ILOILO CITY just a month before our anniversary without any plans.
Iloilo City is located at the center of the Philippines specifically on Panay Island. This province is rich in natural wonders like Falls, Beaches and Mountains. It is also known for having lots of FRESH SEAFOODS perfect to pair with the island bumming.
There are lots of places near Iloilo City that you can visit. In our case, since we already explored BACOLOD (which most bloggers include when they visit Iloilo), check it here, why not do a GIG
(Gigantes Island-Iloilo City-Guimaras) DIY Travel instead.
With some research and tight budget, we were able to accomplish this 5-day itinerary which will incredibly give you the taste of great experiences in this 3 beautiful places in the Philippines.
Ready for some GIG adventures? LET’S GO!
HOW TO GO TO ILOILO:
- Via Air
There are more than 22 flights per day from Manila to Iloilo and takes about 1 hour. What’s more great is that Iloilo is almost always included in SEAT SALES!
Airlines that offer flights from Manila to Iloilo:
We were able to book our flight when AIR ASIA launched for the first time their flights to Iloilo. Snatched a flight which costs 999 pesos one-way each person.
For other ways to get to Iloilo. Check this detailed guide.
ILOILO to GIGANTES ISLAND
Before you proceed, here’s 10 Amazing discoveries at Gigantes Island that will make you want to visit it immediately.
To get to Gigantes Island from Iloilo Airport:
- Ride a taxi to Ceres Bus Terminal (or you can ride a shuttle leading you to the city)
- Ride a Bus going to Carles Port (sign board: ESTANCIA) and drop off at Bancal Port
- Travel time is 3 to 4 hours
Once you’ve arrived at Bancal Port, pay for the environmental fee and boat charge going to Gigantes Island. From here, you can already pick where you want to stay or places you want to go. We picked this Inn to be our home for the next 3 days:
Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn
- Contact Number: 09184685006
- Contact Person: Joel Decano
- Facebook Page : Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn
You can message them directly for reservations.
Package we availed for 3665 pesos each includes:
- 3 days and 2 nights accommodation (Fan room with CR)
- 6 Meals each ( 2 Dinner, 2 Lunch, 2 Breakfast)
- Visit at the Lighthouse
- Boat for Island Hopping
- Tour at the Bakwitan Cave
- Free transpo via motorbike including pick up from Carles Port
- Boat back to Estancia Port
NOTE: If you’re in a group, you will be able to avail their packages for a much lower price. The more you are in a group, the lower the prices of the packages.
For more information and detailed review about this Inn, check out: www.taraletsanywhere.com
Tour starts at Day 1 in the afternoon and the First Stop is:
Isn’t it relaxing to have a Coffee in this place?
3 in 1 Coffee and Milo cost 15 pesos each
Once you get back from the lighthouse and still have some spare time before dinner, you can roam around the island and visit their mangroves.
Located just in front of Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn.
Call time for the start of island hopping is at 9:00 AM. Make sure to have your breakfast early to avoid delay and have more time to swim and explore.
Island Hopping (tour at the 5 islands):
- Pulupandan Island – Beautiful rock formations
- Tanke Lagoon – Cliff diving
- Cabugao Gamay – Overview of the island
- Bantigue Sandbar – skipped this since it was high tide when we came
- Antonia Beach – Snorkeling and Swimming, offers the famous PISO per SCALLOP.
Island hopping ends at around 1:00 PM and you will be given a choice on where to have lunch. Either:
- At the floating cottage of the 2nd branch of Gigantes hideaway tourist inn located at a separate island or
- Head back to main to be able to wash up and prepare for your next destination
We chose to head back and eat at the main branch but at the same time visit the 2nd branch of Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn just to see how it is. We used the spare time to rest before proceeding on our next tour.
The Bakwitan Cave
Not advisable to Children as well as Seniors, it can be very slippery especially when it rained making it harder for them to balance and pull themselves up.
After exploring the cave, it seems like its still too early for us to settle and rest. We still have a little more energy for an extra tour.
We are a sucker for sunsets by the beach and really wanted to experience it here in Gigantes Island.
Our guide suggested the best view of their sunset (not included in the tour), and it is at:
Crushed shells and corals are mixed with its sand.
Clouds are meeting the sea. Sky is reflecting on waters.
Too bad Mr. Sun was shy when we came. But still, this view is OUTSTANDING.
Highly recommended to end your day in this area.
GIGANTES ISLAND TO GUIMARAS
Departure from Gigantes Island to Estancia Port is as early as 8:00 AM. We opted to leave at this time to be able to arrive earlier and still have time to relax and swim in Guimaras.
To get to Guimaras from Gigantes Island:
- Boat ride to Estancia Port
- Tricycle to Van Terminal going back to Iloilo
- Taxi to Ortiz Wharf (Jeepney not advisable due to its frequency)
Once you’ve been dropped off, register and pay for the boat fare going to Guimaras Island.
As soon as you arrive, make sure to register at the tourism office. From there, you can ask the staff for a ride going to your chosen accommodation.
- Tricycle drivers are usually waiting for the travelers’ to arrive at the tourism office that is why it wont be hard for you to find a ride.
The driver will immediately offer you packages for your tour around the island.
Always check the price before agreeing
During our ride to the hotel, our driver was kind enough to offer a stopover to Jordan Municipal Hall and Small Plaza for FREE even though we haven’t confirmed yet our tour.
Jordan Municipal Hall
The Smallest Plaza
His contact number is:
We availed his offer of 1200 pesos which includes:
- Tricycle ride to all your desired destination in the island
- UNLIMITED PLACES to VISIT
- 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
- Good for 4 pax
- Ride back to Jordan Wharf
Make sure to make the most out of the offer of Unlimited Places to Visit. We were able to have a spare time to plan the list of places to visit on the following day. Finalize everything before proceeding.
Raymen Beach Resort
- Contact Number: 09185207271 or 09275605107
- Contact Person: Ms. Ma. Fe or Ms. Jesil
- Website : http://www.raymenresort.com/
Reservations are available at their website.
For a detailed review about this resort, check out : www.budgetbiyahera.com
GUIMARAS to ILOILO CITY
Start your tour early to be able to visit all your desired destinations around the island without the rush. Give the driver some time to rest as well. Not all roads in this area are straight, most of it is very bumpy.
- Places we chose to visit in Guimaras: (Use the free flyer from tourism office as your guide)
- Guisi Lighthouse
- Trappist Monastery
- National Mango Research Center
- Guimaras Plaza
- Museo De Guimaras
- Mango Market
- San Lorenzo Wind Farm
- Navalas Church
- Roca Encantada
- Holy Family Hills
- No entrance fee only donations
- Offers souvenirs to take home
National Mango Research Center
- No entrance fee
- Take a look and explore hundreds of mango trees
- Take a picture in this giant mango located at the plaza
Museo De Guimaras
- Under Renovation when we came
- Shop for the best mangoes in the Philippines!
San Lorenzo Wind Farm
- No entrance fee
- Entrance Fee – 50 pesos each
- Get a taste of the famous MANGO PIZZA
- 245 pesos – double
- 385 pesos – family
- 459 pesos – 12″ square
- 480 pesos – 14″
Holy Family Hills
- No entrance fee – donation only
After the tour, you will be taken either back to your hotel or at Jordan Wharf. We planned to head back to Iloilo City to prepare for our last day tour.
Make sure you have a hotel/airbnb reservation ready as soon as you arrived in Iloilo. We stayed at:
- Contact Number: 09177224321
- Facebook Page: Highway 21 Hotel
Once you’ve settled in your hotel and have enough energy for a side trip like us.
Go and visit the Museo De Iloilo, eat the famous La Paz Batchoy at Lapaz Public Market and try the coffee and cakes of Madge Cafe. It is very easy to access and just near the hotel.
- Entrance Fee – 50 pesos each
La Paz Batchoy at Netong’s
- Located inside La Paz Public Market
- Mega Bowl costs 120 pesos each
- Offers cakes from the famous Calea in Bacolod
Iloilo River Esplanade
Photo from: www.traveltothephilippines.info
- Was not able to take some pictures but here’s a great shot from traveltothephilippines
Perfect way to end your exhausting day, a relaxing walk around this area will truly take your tiredness away.
Last day of this itinerary includes a tour around Iloilo. For having limited time before our flight back to Manila, we were able to come up with this easy, do it yourself trip that will surely fit in half of your day.
The Molo Plaza and Molo Church
- From highway 21: Ride a jeepney going to Molo – Signboard: VILLA
- Ask the driver to drop you off at MOLO CHURCH
- Molo Plaza is just beside the church
The Molo Mansion
- Just across Molo Plaza
- Has a cafe that offers different Iloilo dishes and delicacies
Kap Ising’s Molo
Photo from: flavoursofiloilo.blogspot.com
- Was not able to take pictures due to our excitement to taste this dis
- This restaurant serves the best home made molo soup in town
Camina Balay nga Bato
- From Kap Ising’s : walk to the main road and ride a jeepney going to Santo Domingo -Signboard: JARO CPU – ask the driver to drop you off at Balay nga bato
- Entrance fee inclusive of tour and TSOKOLATE – 150 pesos each
- Also offers Buffet meals but with minimum pax
- Souvenirs can also be bought here
Jaro Cathedral and Jaro Belfry
- From Camina Balay nga Bato – Ride a jeepney going to Jaro Plaza – Signboard: JARO CPU – Other side of the road
Other places you can visit in Iloilo:
- San Joaquin Church and Cemetery
- Miagao Church
- San Jose Church
- Calle Real
- Arroyo Fountain and Provincial Capitol
- Lizares Mansion
- Casa Mariquit
- Nelly’s Garden
- Sanson-Montinola Antillian House
- Garin Farm
Ended our DIY Travel to GIG by eating our lunch at Jo’s Chicken Inato – one of the best chicken inasal restaurant in Iloilo City.
A few minute taxi ride to the Airport and we bid goodbye to this beautiful town.
There are so many places you can visit in the province of Iloilo that are definitely worth coming back for! Looking forward to your own GIG Travel Adventures soon! Make sure to share it with us too!
FULL ITINERARY AND EXPENSES
DAY 1: ILOILO to GIGANTES ISLAND
- 4. 25am- Arrival at ILOILO
- 4.50am – Taxi ride to Ceres Bus Terminal – 270
- 5.40am – First trip aircon bus to Carles Port – 205 each
- 9.30am – Arrival at Bancal Port
- Meet up with Darius – Contact Person for Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn
- Paid environmental fee – 75 each
- Boat charge 80 each
- 9.45am – Boat going to Carles Port
- 11.05am – Arrival at Carles Port
- 11.17am – Habal habal ride to the resort Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn
- 11.30am – Checkin package all in – 3665 each
- 12.30nn – 3.30pm – Rest and prepare for depart to Lighthouse
- 3.30pm – 4.30pm – Tour and have coffe at The Lighthouse
- Coffee and milo cost – 30 pesos each
- 4.45pm – Back at hotel
- 4.45pm – 5.45pm- Roam around the island – Visit the Mangoves
- 7: 30pm – Dinner
- 9pm – Rest
DAY 2: GIGANTES ISLAND
- 6.00am – Wake up and prepare for breakfast
- 7.00am – Breakfast
- 9.00am – Start of Island Hopping 5 islands
- 1.30pm – Back at the resort to eat lunch
- 2.30pm – Depart to Bakwitan Cave
- 2.35pm – Trek/Hike to Cave and explore
- 3.05pm – Back at the hotel to prepare for sunset watching -40 tip for Bakwitan guide
- 4.00pm – Depart to Granada Port
- Stopover for merienda at Talanasa Eatery 145 w/guide
- 4.45pm – Granada Port – 200 pesos (2 pax to and from hotel)
- Explore the sandbar and watch the sunset
- 6.00pm – Back at the hotel to wash up and rest before dinner
- 6.50pm – Dinner
- 9:00pm – Rest
DAY 3: GIGANTES ISLAND to GUIMARAS
- 6.00am – Wake up and prepare for depart
- 7.00am – Breakfast and check out
- 8.00am – Depart to Port going to Estancia
- 8.10am – Arrived at the Port- 40 tip for guide
- 9.00am – Travel to Estancia Port
- 10.40am – Tricycle to Terminal – 15 pesos each
- 11.20am – Travel to Iloilo Tagbak Terminal – 150 pesos each
- 2.15pm – Lunch and snacks for baon – 300 pesos for 2 pax
- 3.00 pm- Taxi to Ortiz Wharf – 180 pesos for 2 pax
- 3.40pm – Register and boat ride to Guimaras – 14 pesos each
- 4.00pm – Arrival at Guimaras
- Register at tourism office
- 4.05pm – Travel to Raymen Beach Resort – 250 pesos good for 4pax
- Stopover at Jordan municipal and Small plaza
- 5.00pm – Checked in – 1423 pesos good for 2 pax
- 5.30pm – Swim and picture taking
- 8.00pm – Dinner – 465 pesos good for 2pax
- 9:00pm – Rest
DAY 4: GUIMARAS to ILOILO
- 6.00am – Wake up and prepare for depart
- 6.45am- Breakfast – 85 pesos each
- Check out from hotel
- 7.45am – Depart to Guisi Lighthouse
- 9.00am – Trappist Monastery
- Buy pasalubong
- 9.30am – National Mango Research Center
- 10.00am – Museo de Guimaras – give more time if open
- 10.10am – Mango Market
- 10.40am – San Lorenzo Wind Farm
- 11.20am – Navalas Church
- 11.40am – Roca Encantada – 50 pesos each
- 12.00nn – Lunch at Pitstop – 747 pesos good for 3pax (with guide)
- 1.20pm – Holy Family Hills
- 2.00pm – Back at Jordan wharf – 1200 pesos for whole tour w/ guide tip
- 2.30pm – Arrival at Ortiz Wharf
- Boat Ride – 14 pesos each
- Taxi to highway 21 – 86 pesos for 2 pax
- 2.50pm – Check in – 1331 pesos good for 2 pax
- 4.00pm – Depart and Immerse in Museo de Iloilo
- Jeepney – 8 pesos each
- Entrance fee-50pesos each
- 5.00pm – Foodtrip at Lapaz public market
- Netong’s Lapaz batchoy – 120 pesos each
- Madge Cafe – 100 pesos each
- 6:00pm – Depart and Relax at Iloilo Esplanade
- Jeepney – 8 pesos each
- Walk until you reach Iloilo Esplanade
- 9:00pm – Rest
DAY 5: ILOILO
- 8:00AM – Jeepney ride to Molo -8 pesos each
- 8:30AM – Visit Molo Church and Molo plaza
- 9:00AM – The Molo Mansion
- Opens at 10:00AM
- 9:30AM – Walk and eat breakfast at Kap Ising’s Molo – Use Google Maps
- 10:00 AM – Jeepney to Camina Balay nga Bato – 8 pesos each
- Entrance Fee-150 pesos each with tour and free tsokolate
- 11:00 AM – Tour and get a taste of their tsokolate
- 11:30 NN – Arrival at Jaro Cathedral and Jaro Belfry
- Taxi (in a rush) – 120 pesos for 2 pax
- 12:00 NN -check out from hotel
- 12:30nn- Taxu to Jo’s Chicken Inato – 130 pesos for 2 pax
- 1:00pm- Lunch – 400 pesos for 2pax
- 2:00pm – Head to airport
- 4:10pm – Flight back to manila
- 5:20pm – Arrival in Manila
Total Expenses : 8498.5 pesos each – when traveling in couple
Includes : all fees, food and accommodations
Excludes : Airfare
Hope this helps!
Feel free to comment down your inquiries!
Go and have your own adventures at GIG now!
BE A RESPONSIBLE TRAVELER
Take a risk, go to an adventure
Till our next,
Doc and Cah
For more DIY travel guide, check out: