As much as I wanted to DIY my Gigantes Island Hopping experience, I can’t find anything online that can assure me that we can successfully do it given our time and budget. Most of the travel blogs I had read regarding Gigantes Island are done with an accredited travel agency, even the known backpackers. So I let go of the possibility of chartering a pump boat and contacted Gigantes Island Tours and Services in Facebook to join a tour. (I’m not a girl for tours! 🙁 )
If you have a jam packed itinerary and can only allot one day in Gigantes Island, welcome aboard to our fast paced day tour!
Contacting Gigantes Island Tours and Services
A week before out trip, I contacted Gigantes Tours in Facebook (which I saw from fellow blogger friends) to reserve a slot for April 9, 2018 Gigantes Island Joiner Day Tour for 999 PHP. They sent me a draft itinerary and the inclusions of the day tour rate. Also, a 30% down payment to be deposited on a bank account is needed to ensure your reservation.
Inclusions: charter boat, overloaded servings of food for lunch, tour guide fee, environmental fee, islands entrance fees, waterproof cellphone pouch
Itinerary: Bancal Port -> Palupandan Island -> Cabugao Gamay -> Lunch at Gigantes Tours guesthouse -> Antonia Beach -> Bantigue Sandbar -> Tangke Lagoon -> Bancal Port
And in case of bad weather in the date of your reservation, they will refund 100% of your money. Thumbs up on this!
A night before the island hopping
We were ready on how to go to Carles. I researched about it a multiple times before – ride a jeepney or taxi to Tagbak Terminal as early as 4 AM and look for shuttle vans (200 PHP) there because they are an hour faster than the bus.
But while on the middle of munching our after-dinner snacks and adulting issues conversations, an unknown number called me. I won’t usually answer but I thought that it will be Gigantes Island Tours. It was not. A stranger man on the phone told me that they offer van shuttle services to Bancal Port and was referred by the Gigantes Island Tour. They’ll pick us up on our hotel at 4 AM and we only have to pay 250 PHP. It’s a good offer so we agreed.
The Island Hopping
Our shuttle was on time at 4 AM. We bought some breakfast first at the 7-11 outside of our inn in preparation for the 5 hours travel to Carles, IloIlo. A few minutes after breakfast, we dozed off. We arrived at Bancal port around 9:20 AM already and the driver ushered us to Gigantes Island Tours and Services waiting area. A guy from the tours asked for our names to double check our reservations and asked us to wait for the other joiners.