I woke up at 6:15am on Thursday, February 12, when the electric fan inside my room stopped. Electricity in Islas de Gigantes is limited. Power is only available from 3pm to 11pm but the resort, the Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn, has its own generator so power is available until 6am.
When I got out of my room, Nong Jofer had already served coffee on the table on my porch. Nice touch Nong Jofer! We had breakfast around 7:30 and Nong Jofer informed us that we were leaving at 9am because the crabs that we would be having for lunch was still being prepared.
At exactly 9am, we left the resort and were driven by habal-habals to the beach where our pumpboat for the day was docked.
Nong Jofer took us first to the Sandbar so we could still see it as the tide was still low. He said the Sandbar disappears during high tide and its shape changes depending on the tides.
I don’t have a good picture of the entire island so here is a 360-degree video courtesy of Katrina Jinon-Morris:
I have other nice pictures though taken on the Sandbar:
Nong Jofer suggested that we should just swim on the other side of the beach because it was shallower there. But Mike and Carlos, being the good swimmers that they are, jumped on the side of the Sandbar where our pumpboat was docked. It was deeper there but was just neck-high so it was fine. I still wore my useless life vest though just to feel safe.
The water around the sandbar was almost barren. There was not any fish at all as you can see here in the video taken by my friend Mike:
We spent a few minutes at the Sandbar then we went to Cabugao Island. We immediately went up that hill so we could get a good view of the islands and the surrounding sea. I remember having trouble going up the last time but this time it felt easier. For the most part, I was climbing the hill while holding on to Katrina’s GoPro.
I told my friends that the caving we would have later in the day was much more difficult than this. Katrina got scared.
I remember the first time I was here, my camera’s lens had a few droplets of water so I didn’t get to capture a good picture of Cabugao Island. This time I made sure it was clean and voila:
Except for a couple who were there ahead of us, it was only us in the island so I had a nicer shot this time. But of course we also had a groufie courtesy of Katrina’s camera:
While up the hill, Nong Jofer told us that after Drew Arellano visited Gigantes (only a few weeks after my first visit) and featured it on his show, the number of tourists going to Gigantes had increased. Globert thought it was because people were reading my blog. Ha!
Nong Jofer also pointed to us Sicogon Island which he said used to be just like Boracay, but got too commercialized and was abandoned. This got me interested to visit the island. Maybe next time. I’ll research on it. Nong Jofer added that Sicogon is now being developed by the Ayalas to become a tourist destination again.
There was also cellular signal on top of the hill which got us all excited. I immediately took my phone out and posted a picture of myself on Instagram! I don’t like this.
Anyway, after a few more pictures, we got down. Nong Jofer pointed to me that there was an option to rappel down the hill but the rope was a little shaky. I haven’t rappelled yet so I passed. The other guys were interested but the women were too nervous for their husbands. Hay naku…
We had a few chat and a few more pictures taken while sitting on the beach. Before we left, I remembered a little cove on the side of the island. Wanting for a little more adventure, I took my friends there with me as their guide. The waves were a little strong and the water was deeper than the last time Raisa and I went here so I got a little worried for a moment there. But it was pretty easy. It looked to me that there were more rocks this time than the last time. I wanted to swim there but I guess we didn’t have a lot of time if we wanted to have lunch at noon.
Before heading to Antonia Beach where we were going to have lunch, Nong Jofer suggested that we stop by Tinagong Baybay, another beach just right beside Antonia. He said the water was pretty shallow and the sand was very fine. He wasn’t lying.
We had to skip Tinagong Baybay last time because we did not have much time. I now feel sorry because we missed it then.
Tinagong Baybay was probably the best beach I have ever been to. There were a few rocks within a meter from the shore but when you get past that, your feet will enjoy the powdery sand under it. It was way better than Boracay and we were the only people during our entire time there. We had the best beach all to ourselves!
Here is a barrage of photos and videos we had while at Tinagong Baybay: