Tucked within the steep cliffs of Isla de Gigantes Sur in Iloilo is Tangke Saltwater Lagoon. Hailed as Iloilo’s hidden paradise, Tangke Lagoon’s refreshing shallow waters and scenic rock formations makes this isolated spot one of the rising tourist attractions in the province.
Tangke means “tank” in Filipino and the locals named the lagoon as such because there is a “gap” among the boulders that serves as the opening to the water. Water from the sea goes inside the “tank” to fill up the lagoon. There are times that the waters can get shallow and can even dry up. This makes the natural pool perfect for those who are scared to swim in deeper waters.
Tangke Lagoon is situated in Isla Gigantes Sur, specifically in Carles, which is the northernmost town of Iloilo. The jump-off point is at the seaport of the municipality of Estancia. An hour-long pumpboat ride will then take tourists to Tangke. Visitors will have to make short climb on the rocks to get to the lagoon.
Myth has it that water levels inside Tangke would rise dramatically, as if by magic, during the feast of Saint John the Baptist every June 24th. Locals would advise tourists not to make too much noise and commotion at the lagoon in order not to disturb the engkantos, or enchanted beings. Those who fail to heed this warning will suffer nasty curses that will be bestowed by these engkantos.
Just like other island destinations, summer months is the best time to visit Tangke – if you can stand to have lots of people swimming around you. The lagoon itself is small and can get quite crowded during the peak season. Locals will advise the best time to go to the lagoon is during high tide because you will get to see the beauty of Tangke in all its glory.