Islas de Gigantes in Carles, Iloilo is a beautiful group of islands with clear blue waters, long stretches of white sand beaches, a rich marine life, and interesting rock formations. The island chain of Islas de Gigantes is composed of Gigantes Sur and Gigantes Norte as well as a number of islets.
The name Islas de Gigantes translates to islands of giants. According to legend, there was a giant living around the northeastern seas of Iloilo who was about to get married. Guests who were attending the ceremony brought gifts and food offerings to celebrate the event.
However, the wedding did not push through because the giant’s bride had been taken away by pirates. Out of grief and frustration, the giant threw all the gift and food offerings to the sea, which later on formed the islands. The giant’s body that had also fallen into the water became the islands of Gigantes Sur, while the islands in Gigantes Norte are believed to belong to the lady who captured the giant’s heart. Local folk stories also tell of hidden treasure around the islands.
Islas de Gigantes used to be called Sabuluag or Salauag, referring to a species of tree that was endemic to the islands. There are about 10 islands forming Islas de Gigantes, which also goes by the names of Gigantes Islands, Islas Gigantes, Higantes group, and Gigantes group.
Each of the islands is unique in terms of its natural makeup. One of the most popular islands in the chain, Cabugao Gamay has a distinct rock formation that overlooks the island.
Meanwhile, in the middle of the ocean at the nearby Bantigue Island, there’s a line of sandbar that appears in full view during low tide. At the end of the sandbar, the islands of Cabugao Dako and Gigantes Sur form a beautiful backdrop.
The Tangke Saltwater Lagoon, which is part of South Gigantes Island, is surrounded by towering rock formations and high limestone cliffs. Inside the lagoon is a pool of crystal clear natural salt water, which can get either shallow or deep depending on weather conditions.
Islas de Gigantes offers a variety of attractions and activities, starting off with island hopping around the major islands. You can swim at the so-called mini-Boracay of Iloilo, which is Tinagong Dagat. Or go camping at Bantigue Island.
You can also snorkel, jet ski, or go on a banana boat ride on the waters of Antonia Beach, a resort that serves a sumptuous lunch of seafood, including fresh and cheap scallops.
To get an amazing view of the islands and the seas, you can head to the North Gigantes Island Lighthouse. Then go on caving adventures at Bakwitan Cave as well as Pawikan Cave, two caverns that feature captivating rock formations inside high ceilings and walls.