Rain or shine: 5 Days Iloilo-Guimaras itinerary and Antique day trip

Antique-Iloilo-Guimaras itinerary and travel guide

Normally, Hali and I just tag along with friends or other groups. This getaway was basically our first together. We planned a 5 days Iloilo-Guimaras itinerary, with a quick day trip in Antique.

The weather in the Philippines is a funny thing. It’s either sweltering hot or shivering cold. After several weeks of good weather, on the exact day of our out-of-town trip, it had started to rain. Still, we’re grateful because the weather, in its own playful way, cooperated with us. We were able to push through with our original Iloilo-Guimaras itinerary, with just small adjustments in schedule.

5 Days Iloilo-Guimaras itinerary, plus day trip to Antique

Exploring Iloilo and Guimaras can be done in 4 days; some even venture to nearby Bacolod for food tripping in that span of time. Anyway, here the Iloilo-Guimaras itinerary that we followed:

Day 1:
7:00AM – Arrive in Iloilo airport
8:00 – 9:00AM – Taxi ride to Molo terminal
9:00AM – 1:00PM – Van ride to Tibiao, Antique
1:00PM – Arrival in Kayak Inn, lunch
1:30PM – Start trek to Bugtong Bato Falls
5:00PM – Back in inn, enjoy kawa hot bath
7:00PM – Dinner

Day 2:
4:00 – 7:00AM – Van ride back to Iloilo City
7:00 – 8:00AM- Arrival in Molo terminal, transfer to Tagbac terminal
8:00 – 11:00 AM – Ceres bus ride to Estancia Port
11:00AM – 1:00PM – Lunch
1:00 – 3:00PM – Passenger boat ride to Gigantes island
3:00PM – Arrival at Hideaway inn
4:30PM – Sunset at Gigantes lighthouse
7:00PM – Dinner

Day 3:
Island hopping in Islas de Gigantes
Explore Bakwitan Cave

Day 4:
7:00AM – Breakfast
8:00 – 10:00AM – Check out, boat ride back to Estancia port
11:00AM – 2:00PM – Ceres bus ride back to Iloilo City
2:00 – 3:00PM – Motor banca ride to Guimaras, tricycle ride to Alobijod Cove
3:00PM onward – Check in at resort, explore beach

Day 5:
6AM – Breakfast
7:30 – 10:30AM – Start of island hopping in Guimaras
10:30 – 11:30AM – Wash up, check out
12:00NN – 3:00PM – Land tour in Guimaras
3:00PM – Travel back to Iloilo City

Update as of 2nd quarter of 2016

The passenger boat in Estancia port leaves at 2PM daily, while that in Bancal port leaves at 10AM daily. In Bancal port, you can also charter a private boat for island hopping for P4000, good for 6-8 people. You can wait for other joiners in the port if you’re traveling solo.

Since this write-up, there are now more affordable tours to Gigantes Islands such as Gigantes Island Tours, from day trips to the usual 3D/2N stay. We spent P2800 each for a 3D/2N package, but now there are joiner tours for P1000 for a day trip or P1200-1500 for 2D/1N stay. Aside from travel agencies, resorts in Gigantes Norte also offer their own island hopping packages for as low as P1500 for 5-10 people.

Here’s a little more of our Antique-Iloilo-Guimaras trip.

Day 1 – Visiting Tibiao, Antique

From outside the gates of Iloilo airport, we hailed a taxi to Molo terminal and then rode a passenger van to Tibiao. We arrived past lunch time in Kayak Inn, our accommodation in Tibiao.

We spent the rest of the afternoon trekking to the nearby Bugtong Bato falls, a seven-tiered falls with deep-green basins and then relaxing in a traditional kawa hot bath back in the inn. The kawa hot bath was the main reason we made a quick nip here in Tibiao, and it did not disappoint.

Our bath was filled with herbal leaves for soothing the muscles. Hali and I shared a big kawa and dozed off, capping our day in Antique.

Even though this is just a side trip, this day trip in Tibiao, Antique is actually my favorite part in this Iloilo-Guimaras itinerary.

Day 2 and 3 – Island hopping in Islas de Gigantes

Gigantes Islands is quite far from Antique, even from Iloilo City itself. We arrived in Gigantes Hideaway Inn, a backpacker’s favorite. It’s famous for serving liberal meals of seafood, including scallops — a common seafood in the area. The inn also offers its own Gigantes island hopping tours.

It was rainy when we island hopped to Gigantes Islands. We explored Bantigue Sandbar, Cabugao Gamay and its twin Antonia Island and the famous Tangke Lagoon. Cabugao Gamay is indeed beautiful, especially at the view deck atop the cliff, although in person it looks small.

Cabugao Gamay in Gigantes islands
Cabugao Gamay, the icon of Islas de Gigantes. (Photo credit to Hali)

During our 2 days stay in Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn, we also managed to visit the lighthouse in Gigantes Norte, a favorite of sunrise lovers, and Bakwitan Cave, a historical cave with huge stalactites and even natural crystals that unfortunately fell into neglect.

Crystal formation in Bakwitan Cave
Look at that! And look how happy I am. Natural crystal formation inside the cave. (Photo credit to Hali)
Bakwitan cave in Gigantes islands
Outside Bakwitan Cave, one of the many caves in Islas de Gigantes. (Photo credit to Hali)

Day 4 and 5 – Island hopping and land tour in Guimaras

On our fourth day, we were supposed to start the land tour in Guimaras but got delayed due to the typhoon. We stayed overnight at Raymen’s Beach Resort, a budget accommodation. I wouldn’t recommend this resort because our room wasn’t clean. If you can, search for other reasonably priced accommodations in Guimaras.

The morning was better; the sun finally showed itself and the sea was calm. The weather was just perfect for a tour in Guimaras. We island hopped for a few hours. Hali enjoyed our tour in SEAFDEC, which is a marine sanctuary. Meanwhile, I loved snorkeling to see various corals near Ave Maria island.

Natago beach in Guimaras
Natago beach in Guimaras. (Photo credit to Hali)

In the afternoon, we squeezed in a short land tour. I enjoyed the ride itself to Guimaras’ tourist attractions. The road were wide and quiet, surrounded with lush trees. We selected only a few destinations from the long list of Guimaras’ landmarks.

Mango plantation in Guimaras
This is where Guimaras produces their world-famous sweet mangoes. (Photo credit to Hali)

Of these, my favorite is the picturesque Guisi lighthouse, with its crumbling ruins decorated with tree roots.

Guisi lighthouse in Guiimaras
At the top of the Guisi lighthouse. (Photo credit to Hali)

After the land tour, we went back to the airport in Iloilo for our flight back home.

A few notes:

Planning your own Iloilo-Guimaras itinerary

Iloilo is a gateway to various attractions in Panay Island, and there are really various ways to enjoy 5 days in the area. A friend suggests staying in Gigantes islands for at least 2 days, staying overnight in a beach tent in Antonia Island.

If your main target is visiting Gigantes islands, Roxas airport is nearer compared to Iloilo City. It will save you 1-2 hours in travel time.

Antique is a long detour, and it’s more practical to visit alternatives such as Bacolod or the lesser-known Bucari, Iloilo’s summer capital. If you love city tours, you can allot the extra day in Iloilo and taste its delicacy — bulalo.

Budget

Our budget for this 5-day Antique-Iloilo-Guimaras itinerary was about P8000 each (without airfare), including pasalubong. We’d overspent due to unavoidable circumstances (e.g., there was no passenger boat back to Estancia port due to the storm and we had rented a private boat, etc.).

Today, I estimate that a normal budget for 2 people would be P6000-6500 each (considering the competitive cheap tours in Islas de Gigantes, update as of 2nd quarter 2016).

Contacts

  • Kuya Edwin, Kayak Inn: 0921-570-1947 (P500 for a native hut accommodation, overnight)
  • Kuya Cherald, Guimaras tour guide: 0908-474-8122 (P1200 land tour via tricycle)
  • Joel Decano, Gigantes tourism officer, 0918-468-5006 (P2800 rate for 3D/2N for 2 pax)

Personal notes

As I’ve mentioned above, this is Hali and I’s first couple trip. It was, of course, fun and admittedly a little bit challenging. When Hali said we’d help together in planning, what he really meant was that I’d do the itinerary and book for reservations, and then and again he’d ask questions or make small suggestions. Still, there is something about traveling with your significant someone that is incomparably different from the usual out-of-town trips.

Here’s our travel video featuring Antique, Guimaras and Iloilo, c/o Hali:

Have any questions about this trip to Antique, Iloilo and Guimaras? Post them in the comments section below. 😉

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Iloilo-Guimaras itinerary for 5 days, with day trip to Antique (Philippines). Includes itinerary, costing and accommodation.

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28 Comment

  1. Ana Maria De Young says: Reply

    HI. I am doing a 6 day trip to Iloilo at the end of April and pretty much have the same itinerary as yours except I will have an extra day in Iloilo to go to Garin Farm and see some local sites in the city itself.

    My question is where did you catch a van from Tibiao to Iloilo? I was planning to use Ceres but I think the van would be faster.

    Thank you!

    Annie

    1. Just ask the locals for the terminal in Tibiao. Both vans and buses are there. 🙂

      1. Ana Maria De Young says: Reply

        Thanks

  2. Aaaaw…. How I miss Philippines!!! Awesome itinerary guys… Cant wait to visit PH soon:) Have you been to Coron?

    1. Yes. Coron is my favorite place here so far. 🙂

  3. Wow nice video and itinerary. This is my hometown and finally we are going to visit our relatives here!!! And I am eggggcited! Thank you so much for sharing your itinerary, and btw I love the girl’s smile 🙂

    1. Kat says: Reply

      I hope you have a good time! I updated this post a little bit, adding more info about boat schedules and packaged tours to Islas de Gigantes.

      Do you mean me? Thank you. *blush

  4. Georgia says: Reply

    Wow what a lovely trip!! The Bugtong Bato Falls look so beautiful and the kawas bath sounds lovely too, how relaxing for your first day! I’d love to know how cold the Philippines gets because the UK is super cold! Haha

    1. Kat says: Reply

      I’ll probably eat my words when I step in the UK. 🙂

  5. I’ve never been to Iloilo but I’m planning to go there because of Isla de Gigantes. You sure did many things in your short time in the province. Thanks for sharing your itinerary. I’m going to try that kawa hot bath come hell or high water.

  6. Iloilo and Guimaras are underrated. I think there’s so much beauty to see there, I had a great time when I was there three years ago, and I remember having a great and cheap culinary experience. In Guimaras, I didn’t get to see turtles but we cliff-jumped (I think this is now discontinued due to safety concerns)

    1. Kat says: Reply

      That’s true. It’s a good thing Iloilo is on its rise to fame. 🙂

      1. Yes, I hope it won’t get over-touristy though!

  7. I love the photos, specially the pawikan and the kawa. Is it safe to save 15-20k per head to be able to enjoy a similar experience, for 5 days?

    1. Kat says: Reply

      Sure Kuya Sonnie, we had a budget of P8000 each. We’re budget travelers btw. 🙂 P15-20k is more than sufficient even if you’re into more comfortable accommodations.

  8. Love your pictures!!! Especially the waterfall. It looks like you had a great time. 🙂

  9. Do you have a picture of the tree house in a balete tree? I’m curious. You look like a goddess in the first pic, the one where you’re looking at the picture with a waterfall backdrop! Pretty good shot by Hali! Anyways, I want to try that kawa bath, sounds terrifying and probably quite the experience.

    1. Kat says: Reply

      You can see the tree house in the video. 😉 The kawa hot bath isn’t terrifying at all!

  10. Sabine says: Reply

    Shivering cold in Philippines? Hmmm, should I invite you to Sweden haha. Oh my god, those pictures are insane! The first day I thought like, yes nice, but then the second day, more pictures. And you kept going. That waterfall is my favorite spot. You look like a mermaid in a fairytale. Lovely!

    1. Kat says: Reply

      Did I speak too soon? Haha. 🙂 Thank you for the mermaid comment! *blush*

  11. Isla de Gigantes looks amazing! And the Tangke saltwater lagoon looks mystical. Is it shallow? Anyway, your post makes me want to book a flight now to Iloilo. We’ll certainly use your blog post as reference if ever we get to visit Iloilo (hopefully soon).

    1. Kat says: Reply

      It was when we got there because it was still low tide. I’ve seen photos online where the lagoon fills up with so much water, almost level with the boulder in the middle. I think guests rarely chance upon this though.

  12. In only 5 days. I suppose time is really … what I mean to say is, travellers have a choice of going from one place to another. For me, I could go to all the places here but yeah, I would probably take 10 to 12 days. I do prefer to stay in one given area for up to 3 nights. Chill. 🙂

    Very nice trip you did. Glad you’re back safe and sound with wonderful memories and tales to share.

    1. Kat says: Reply

      Ah.. don’t we all want that? 🙂

  13. Hi! I want to know san kayo sumakay from Tibiao going to Iloilo and what time po last trip? Salamat po. 🙂

    1. Kat says: Reply

      Hi Gabriela! From Kayak Inn, we rode habal-habals to the main road (or “crossing”). There, you can wait for a van or bus headed to Molo terminal in Iloilo. I’m just not sure about the time of the last trip.

  14. I think it’s Alobijod Cove sis
    Went to Iloilo/Guimaras back in 2014, but I want to come back and see Gigantes Islands naman

    1. Kat says: Reply

      Thanks for the correction sis. 😉
      Yes, you should go see Gigantes Islands. Cabugao especially looks amazing in good weather kasi highlighted yung color ng water surrounding the island. Summer is the best season to visit kaso it’s also the peak season. From what I’ve learned din dumadami na yung tourists in Gigantes.

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