Planning a backpacking trip to Eastern Visayas? Here’s a 5 days itinerary guide to Iloilo and Guimaras, with a quick side trip to Tibiao in Antique.
Hali and I took this trip sometime ago and I have updated this guide to reflect current routes and rates.
- 5 Days Itinerary to Iloilo and Guimaras
- Day 1-2: Day activities in Tibiao
- Days 3-4: Island Hopping in Gigantes Islands
- Day 5 – Day Tour in Guimaras
- Where to Stay
- Budget and expenses
- What to read next:
5 Days Itinerary to Iloilo and Guimaras
Here’s the 5 days itinerary to Iloilo and Guimaras. Please take this as a rough guide only!
|Day 1||Arrival in Iloilo Airport|
Travel to Tibiao (Antique)
Check in at accommodation
|Day 2||Day trip activities in Tibiao|
Travel back to Iloilo City
Check in at accommodation
|Day 3||From Carles, boat ride to Gigantes Islands|
Island hopping tour
Check in at accommodation in the islands
|Day 4||Explore Bakwitan Cave|
Boat ride back to Carles
Check in at accommodation in Iloilo City
|Day 5||Check out|
Head to Guimaras Port / boat ride to Guimaras
Day trip in Guimaras
Flight back home
Here are some notes about this trip:
- This itinerary is slightly different from that in our actual trip. There are further developments particularly in visiting Gigantes Islands, which makes the journey there easier compared to earlier times.
- The ideal entry point is Kalibo Airport (which is close to Tibiao) and exit point is Iloilo Airport. If you’re heading directly to Gigantes Islands, you might consider booking a flight to Roxas Airport instead which is closer.
- The side trip to Tibiao in Antique is a bit of a detour. We came from Iloilo City and it was 4-5 hours away. We went there because I badly wanted to experience a kawa hot bath. If you do not want to make the long commute, you can easily stay in Iloilo City for a city day tour or head to other nearby places such as Bacolod.
Day 1-2: Day activities in Tibiao
How to get here
Via Kalibo or Caticlan
Kalibo Airport is the closest airport to Tibiao. It’s about 2 hours away.
- From Kalibo or Caticlan jetty port, ride a bus bound for Iloilo or Culasi and get off at Tibiao (around P100-200, 1.5-2 hours).
- From the drop-off point, ride a habal-habal (P70 per person) to take you to your selected accommodation.
Iloilo is a bit far from Tibiao. Travel time is around 4-5 hours.
- From Iloilo City, head to Molo Terminal.
- Ride a van (P180 per person, 4 hours) or bus (5 hours) to Tibiao, Antique.
- From the drop-off point, follow same instruction as above.
We stayed in Kayak Inn, which is one of the loveliest accommodations in Tibiao. It’s located beside the river, with homey cottages where you can rest fitfully.
There are several activities you can do in Tibiao including enjoying a fish spa, trekking to Bugtong Bato Falls, and relaxing in a kawa hot bath. If you’re an adventurous.
We spent a few hours trekking to the nearby Bugtong Bato Falls. It’s a seven-tiered waterfalls with deep-green basins. Currently, only the first 3 levels are accessible to day trippers. There were no one else besides us at that time and we had a good time swimming in the cool mountain water.
Another activity that I love — and that ticked an item in my bucket list — is taking a warm bath in a traditional kawa. It was the main reason we went here and it did not disappoint.
Our bath was filled with herbal leaves meant to soothe muscles. Hali and I shared a big kawa and dozed off.
Even though this is just a side trip, this is actually my favorite part in our Iloilo-Guimaras trip. I won’t mind going back here again!
Read about our Guide to Tibiao (Antique).
Days 3-4: Island Hopping in Gigantes Islands
How to get here
Gigantes Islands is located in the municipality of Carles. There are 2 ports going here: Bancal Port and Estancia Port.
Bancal Port is the official jump-off point and it’s the easiest way to get there. Travel time is 1-1.5 hour.
We booked a private tour to Gigantes Islands.
Gigantes Islands is one of the most popular attractions in Iloilo. It’s composed of 2 large islands (Gigantes Sur and Gigantes Norte) and several islets.
We stayed at Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn, which is a recommended accommodation for backpackers. We also arranged our tour here.
It was rainy when we got to Gigantes Islands, but we were still able to go on island hopping. I finally saw Cabugao Gamay Island up close — the face of Gigantes Islands. We also stroll along Bantigue Sand Bar, swam and snorkel in Antonia Island, and explored Tangke Lagoon.
Day 5 – Day Tour in Guimaras
How to get here
From Iloilo City, ride a bus to Guimaras Port. From there, ride a motorized banca to Guimaras.
Charter a private tricycle to your resort.
We stayed at Raymen’s Beach Resort, since it’s the one mostly recommended by budget blogs.
Our day tour itinerary in Guimaras includes island hopping and island tour.
We spent the morning island hopping in Guimaras for around 3 hours. Hali enjoyed our tour in SEAFDEC, a marine sanctuary where various species of fishes and turtles are taken cared of. Meanwhile, I had a good time snorkeling in Ave Maria Island. It was still early when we set off for the island hopping tour so the water was still clear.
We checked out of the resort and proceeded for a land tour. We didn’t go to every possible land attractions in Guimaras because I think not all is worth visiting (such as the Smallest Plaza). We visited Guisi Lighthouse, a mango plantation, Trappist Monastery, etc. Then we had a merienda at the Pitstop to taste the province’s famous mango pizza. It was good!
To be honest, I enjoyed our time in Guimaras better than our island hopping experience in Gigantes Islands. The reason is that Gigantes Islands for me is so hyped, while I did not expect the quiet charm of Guimaras. It seems a good place to spend a few days in for a relaxing vacation. Hali and I actually talked about going back here to book in a resort for longer time!
From Guimaras, we went back to Iloilo City for our flight back home.
Although it is a small province, Guimaras has a quiet charm. It seems a good place to spend a few days in, particular
Here’s our Day Trip to Guimaras.
You can check the video of our full trip here:
Where to Stay
Here are the places we stayed at:
- TIBIAO: Kayak Inn: Facebook | (Kuya Edwin) 09215701947
- GIGANTES ISLANDS: Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn | Read about it here
- GUIMARAS: Raymen Beach Resort
We both liked our accommodation in Tibiao and Gigantes Islands.
I had issues regarding the cleanliness of our room in Raymen Beach Resort, but it’s a convenient place to stay at because they offer island hopping tours. I’m not sure if they have better rooms now but I suggest that you also check out other resorts in the area.
Budget and expenses
We took this trip sometime in 2015 and at that time it was much expensive to book an island hopping tour in Gigantes Islands. Today, rates are more competitive so it’s less burden on the budget.
Here are some major expenses you should take note:
|Tibiao||Accommodation at Kayak Inn – P300 per person|
Tibiao Fish Spa: Starts at P119 for 30-minute fish spa + 5-minute foot massage
Bugtong Bato Falls: entrance fee – P100 per person / guide fee P150 (whole group)
Kawa hot bath – Starts at P250 (good for 2 people)
|Iloilo||Accommodation in Carles – around P1000 (good for 2 people)|
Gigantes Islands packaged tours:
Day tour – P999 per person
2-day stay – P1599 per person
First hour is P600 + P150 every succeeding hour
Snorkel rent – P50
Tricycle – P1200, multicab – P2000, jeepney – P2500, van – P3500
Here are some useful contacts:
- Gigantes Island Tours – Facebook
- Kuya Cherald (tour guide for land tour in Guimaras) – 09084748122
Have any comments or questions about this trip to Antique, Iloilo and Guimaras? Post them in the comments section below.
What to read next:
Read about our backpacking trip to Iloilo and Guimaras. Here are other articles about this trip:
- Guide to Tibiao (Antique)
- Island Hopping in Gigantes Islands (Iloiilo)
- Day Trip in Guimaras
- Guisi Lighthouse in Guimaras
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Katherine Cortes is a 30-something freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).