The Waves of Carles

February 10, 2016 Travel

I believe that the most difficult paths (or waters) lead to the most surprising places. 

The waves that shielded Islas de Gigantes (or Islas Gigantes, Higantes group, or Gigantes group) when we visited were nothing short of that. Well, it was Amihan season.  

We were already waiting for almost an hour in the boat when I decided to request permission to just wait at the port. I was already a bit seasick. Our boatmen, speaking in their dialect, mentioned coast guards and permits when I asked about the time we would sail.  It was supposed to leave at 2:00 PM and it was already a little bit past 2. I thought we had to forego the islands and just proceed to our next destination, which was Roxas City.  It was a 7-day Panay adventure, which started in Boracay.  

After 15 minutes, we all boarded and I got into my comfortable sleeping position. I was awakened by splashes on my face.  Some of the passengers were already throwing up at that time. Needless to say, it was a tumultuous ride. I praised the heavens when we reached the shore.  The only problem was getting to the beach.  I decided to just get myself wet instead of getting to the smaller boat, which looked really unsafe. The helpful locals carried my bags. 

That was a short narration of our trip to Gigantes Norte, one of the two largest islands in the group of islands. According to stories, the islands got its name from the gigantic sets of human bones found in coffins inside one of its caves.

Elmart (09173729301), our guide, met us at the beach and he led us to several habal habals waiting for us.  We initially wanted to stay in this resort where there are instagram perfect cabanas, but we were recommended a friendlier resort. 

By the time we got to the resort, it was already late.  Our boat trip, which was just supposed to be two hours, became more than 3 hours because of the waves.  We ordered dinner from the resort then stayed inside the room. It was too windy outside.  We only went out to get cell phone signals.

The following day, we woke up early but instead of proceeding early with our planned island hopping, we just visited a Gigantes Norte attraction, the lighthouse.  We were already making alternative plans just in case it was not feasible for us to go island hopping and leave Gigantes that day.

The Gigantes Norte Lighthouse is listed as one of the 27 Spanish major lighthouses in the Philippines. The ruins of the keeper’s house, which is the only thing standing after a typhoon in 2008, is really charming.   

The wind was crazy when we went up and I felt a bit of fear but it was worth it.  We had an amazing view.

After the visit to the lighthouse, we dropped by a spring then went back to the resort.  We were told we could visit a few attractions then the boat could take us to the Estancia Port. 

Our first stop was Tangke, a saltwater lagoon, which has its own legend.  They say this lagoon, located within Gigantes Sur rises every year on June 24 during the feast of Saint John the Baptist.

There were a few boats when we got there and some tourists were cliff jumping.  It looked fun. We got ourselves contented exploring the lagoon and taking a few pictures.

After that, we went to its most photographed island, which catapulted Islas de Gigantes to fame. 

Cabugao (or Cabugao Gamay) is a small island that features two white sand beaches that form like a sandbar connecting two islets. 

It was still drizzling, windy and cold when we got there.  It was actually perfect beach weather for me.  We enjoyed the view and our sumptuous seafood lunch.  

We packed crabs and scallops from Gigantes Norte and bought a big fish in Cabugao.  Sounds perfect? It was, definitely! 

After a few photographs, we went back to the sea.  From then on, it was turbulent. I kept looking at the faces of our boatmen to see if they were worried.  I stopped myself eventually.  It only got calm when we were near Estancia.

That boatride is now one of my scariest, removing Fuga Island on my top 3 list.  The other two on my list are Bucas Grande to Siargao and Batan to Itbayat.

We thanked our boatmen profusely and wished them well. They were apologizing we didn’t complete our island hopping list but we told them it was a reason for us to go back.  Carles wanted us back.  

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