Islas de Gigantes, the Second Time Around – Part 1

A few months ago, my friend Katrina informed me that she was coming home in February 2015 and she was bringing her husband Mike. She then invited me and another close friend, Jersie, to join them in Palawan. Then she changed her mind when she saw my posts about Islas de Gigantes the first time that I was there.

Her homecoming, by the way, was supposed to be a secret because she and Mike were planning a surprise of some sort. I tried my best to keep this to myself. I’m not a good keeper of secrets (there you go ladies and gentlemen) so this took a lot of effort from me. But then I found out that people already knew. Dang!

Early this year, some bad news came. Our friend Jersie was no longer available on the dates that we were going. We didn’t want to be just the three of us so we had to look for another friend to come with us. Fortunately, my friends Globert and Carlos were able to file a leave on time. It would have been awkward if I was the third wheel, but I didn’t mind being the fifth wheel.

When it was finalized which people were coming, I contacted Mr. Joel Decano, Carles’ Tourism Officer and owner of the Hideaway Tourist Inn, at 09184685006. He quoted us a rate of P2,025 per person for a 3-day, 2-night stay and just like before this included the passenger boat fare, the guide, the motorbikes, an island hopping, a trip to the lighthouse, caving and the ever so sumptuous meals.

I wanted for us to catch the first ferry trip from Bacolod to Iloilo just like last time so we agreed that Globert, Carlos and I would sleep at Katrina’s house in Silay so we could be early the next day.

So I arrived in Silay around 6pm on Tuesday, February 10. Katrina’s family were preparing a boodle fight dinner at home. A boodle fight is not an everyday thing in Negros – I bet my parents haven’t heard of it. Katrina said she just got the idea from something showing on television. Sure!

Before dinner, Katrina’s other friends, Loudalee and her fiance, came. Katrina wanted to show Mike the plaza of Silay so we went there first while dinner was being prepared. They ate some street food (I didn’t because of, you know, my diet) and strolled around the plaza.

Mike and Katrina enjoying their time at the Silay City Plaza
Mike and Katrina enjoying their time at the Silay City Plaza

Then we had dinner and around 8pm, Globert and Carlos arrived and they too had dinner. I wanted to drink but everyone had to be early the next day so that would have to wait.

I woke up around 3:15am of the next day to shower and prepare. We left Silay a few minutes after 5am and we just bought our breakfast along the way. We arrived at Bacolod BREDCO Port around 5:45am just in time for the 6am trip of Supercat. In case you are curious about Supercat’s schedule from Bacolod to Iloilo and vice versa, here it is:

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We arrived at the Lapuz Port in Iloilo a little after 7am. Because no one knew what jeepney to take going to the Tagbak Terminal, we just took the taxi instead. We paid around P150 for the taxi.

We decided early on that we would take a passenger van going to Estancia. I warned them that the legroom on the van would not be to Mike’s liking. It was tough for me and I’m sure it was tougher for Mike who is taller than me. I knew from experience that it would take too long if we took the bus. So we took the lesser evil which was the van.

The fare was P150. The van left around 8:45pm in its full capacity and we arrived in Estancia around 11:30am. We then rode a tricycle going to the port and paid P10 each.

While on the way, one of Mr. Decano’s staff, Ningning, was contacting me as she was taking care of our ride from the Estancia port. She was also the one who was contacting me from the port last time. She suggested that we eat lunch first at a nearby carenderia where she would just meet us.

Right from the get go, we were already given a few quirks. The resort’s service boat had to take a group of guests from Gigantes to Estancia earlier in the day but they didn’t have any guests going back to Gigantes, so they let us take the boat instead. Woohoo!

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We left the port around 12:30pm. The boat ride was way different than what I had before. The waves were huge but we had a good driver (or boatman, or ferryman, or boater, or maybe he was the captain). He would slow the boat down each time he saw that a big wave was about to hit us. By the time we arrived in front of the resort around 2:30pm, we were soaked.

We saw this small island with a white sand beach in the middle of the sea on the way to Gigantes. My friends were fantasizing about holding their wedding there. All four of them were already married. Geez!

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