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.
First of all, I wanted to say how 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.
How to get here
Take a local flight either to Iloilo or Roxas.
Iloilo to Tibiao
Head to Molo Terminal in Iloilo. Take a van (P180 per person, 4 hours) or bus (5 hours) to Tibiao, Antique. From the dropoff point, ride a habal-habal (P70 per person) to take you to your selected accommodation.
Iloilo to Gigantes Islands
From Iloilo, there are 2 ports going to Gigantes Islands.
Bancal Port is the official jump-off point. Here you can find the municipal tourism office to assist you in your island hopping, and it’s also the fastest way to reach the islands.
To get to Bancal Port, from Iloilo take a bus en route to Carles and drop off at the port.
On the other hand, if you prefer to travel via Estancia Port, from Iloilo head on to Tagbac Terminal and then ride a bus to Estancia Port.
Iloilo to Guimaras
From Iloilo, take a bus to Guimaras Port and ride a motorized banca to Guimaras. From there, get a private tricycle to take you to your resort.
5 Days Iloilo-Guimaras itinerary and side trip to Antique
Here the Iloilo-Guimaras itinerary that we followed:
Arrival in Iloilo Airport
Travel for a day trip in Tibiao, Antique
Travel back to Iloilo City
Head to port, boat ride to Gigantes Island
Check in at Hideaway Inn
Sunset at Gigantes Lighthouse
Island hopping in Gigantes Island
Explore Bakwitan Cave
Travel back to mainland
Head to port to Guimaras, ride boat to Guimaras
Check in at resort
Island hopping and land tour in Guimaras
Travel back to Manila
Here’s a little more of our trip!
Day 1 – 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 is actually my favorite part in of our Iloilo-Guimaras trip.
Read our full post in Tibiao, Antique here.
Days 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.
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.
Days 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.
You can search for other resorts in Guimaras here.
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.
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.
Of these, my favorite is the picturesque Guisi lighthouse, with its crumbling ruins decorated with tree roots.
After the land tour, we went back to the airport in Iloilo for our flight back home.
You can read about our trip to Guimaras here.
Budget and expenses
Our budget for 2 people for this Iloilo-Guimaras trip was P8000 each, although today we estimate that a normal budget for 2 people would be P6000-6500 each especially considering the current competitive cheap tours in Islas de Gigantes.
Here we’re going to list the expected expenses for this trip (updated 2nd quarter of 2016):
Day trip to Tibiao, Antique
We stayed in Kayak Inn, which is one of the best places to stay in Tibiao.
- Kayak Inn native hut – P500
You can contact Kayak Inn here: Facebook | (Kuya Edwin) 0921-570-1947
For activities in Tibiao:
- Guide to Bugtong Bato falls – P150
- Kawa hot bath – P200 each
Island hopping in Gigantes Islands
Since our trip (dated 2015), there are now affordable trips in Gigantes Islands.
In Bancal port, you can 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.
Another option is to get a packaged tour. Travels & tours such as Gigantes Island Tours offer P999 per person for a day trip or P1200-1500 per person for 2D/1N stay. Aside from agencies, resorts in Gigantes Norte also offer their own island hopping packages for as low as P1500 for 5-10 people.
Island hopping and land tour in Guimaras
Raymen Beach Resort offers an island hopping tour. Here are the rates:
- P500 for the whole boat for the first hour + P150 every succeeding hour
- P50 snorkel rent
You can contact Raymen Beach Resort here: Facebook page
Here are the quoted rates for a land tour in Guimaras:
- Tricycle – P1200, multicab – P2000, jeepney – P2500, van – P3500
You can contact our tour guide, Kuya Cherald: 09084748122
One thing that we realized during our trip is that Antique is a long detour. 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.
We took this trip in 2015 and since then we’re keeping this Iloilo-Guimaras guide as up-to-date as possible, especially with the current rates for tours. If you’d like to help, please comment updates below and we’ll add it in the guide.
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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