Saturday, February 27, 2016

Forget Boracay: Islas de Gigantes White Sand Beaches are Unspoilt

To most tourists, Boracay is still the “epitome” of the best white sand beach in the Philippines. But if you’re unlike them who prefers low-key, uncrowded white sand beach, head on to Isla de Gigantes instead, located in Carles, Iloilo.

My research convinced me that we will only go to Cabugao Gamay, Tangke Water Lagoon, Bantique Sandbar and Antonia Beach. It’s impossible to explore the remaining islets/islands in one day. Gigantes is named as such because it’s giant, where “malalaking tao” or giant people according to locals, used to live.

It’s easy to fall in love with Bantique Sandbar. The waters are crystal-clear green and the sand on the beach is flat. If you don’t know how to swim, or for some reason afraid to go farther away from the shore, Bantique Sandbar invites you to go farther without worrying of the sudden slide of the sand. It’s that flat! Even up to chest deep. Bantique Sandbar feels like a huge swimming pool. But always be careful.

The best time to go to this beach is during low tide (early morning or afternoon depending on the months). During high tide you won’t see the sandbar.

Cabugao Gamay

Cabugao Gamay needs no further introduction as this is the most searched beach in Iloilo and Gigantes. No matter what camera you have with you, your eyes are still the best set of lenses as this beach looks more amazing in person! Of course, you should also take a lot of photos.

We were told that during low tide, you won’t be able to see the “lagoon” because boats cannot dock and what you’ll see inside are just rocks — no waters. We went there during high tide. It can be too crowded.

We had our lunch at Antonia Beach. It’s a privately-owned resort but visiting the island is possible. It’s the more popular beach in Gigantes.

You can also snorkel in Antonia Beach for only PHP 50, no time limit. We snorkelled for about 2 hours.

On a side note, Antonia Beach is also perfect to take away your inhibitions and go naked! No kidding. Foreigners in Antonia Beach are throwing their clothes away upon setting on the island. They said they found their “freedom” in Antonia Beach. And I couldn’t agree more.

“Baybay” in Ilonggo means “sand”. During high tide, huge rocks taller than humans are no longer visible. Travellers do not frequent this place because of this. You need to have a tour guide with you to visit this beach since they know best, based on the Chinese calendar the time when it’s going to be high tide or low tide.
Tinagong Baybay has the finest, powdery white sand of all beaches we’ve toured in Gigantes.

Its isolation and unpredictability also add to its appeal.
Tinagong Baybay is not part of the usual tour package but since we did not avail of the spelunking we asked our tour guide to give us a another beach to visit instead of the caves. When we went there, it’s just B and I plus our tour guides. We owned the beach.
The vastness of the sea seemed to engulf us — two little kids out in the open nowhere to hide but to float in its immensity.

It’s a great feeling to end the day.



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