Islas de Gigantes, the Second Time Around – Part 4

After having a lot of fun at Tinagong Baybay, Nong Jofer whisked us away to Antonia Beach which was actually just almost right beside Tinagong Baybay. We were going to have our lunch here.

I thought lunch was just going to be all crabs which Nong Jofer brought with us from the resort but he told us when we arrived in Antonia that they were still going to harvest something from the sea and cook it, so we could enjoy the island in the meantime.

I wanted to climb the rock on the side of the island but I only got to go for a few meters because a large shrub was blocking the way up, so I just had to be content with that. I still had a nice background anyway.

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From where I was, I was also able to get a good panoramic shot of the entire beach.

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After a few minutes, lunch was served. We learned that the seashells that were harvested when we got to Antonia were called wasay-wasay (literally “axe-axe”, yeah Filipinos love to repeat words, take my nickname for example). We supposed the shells were called such because of their axe-like shape, but they looked more like boomerangs.

Wasay-wasay. I learned from Google that these are called black lip oysters in English.
Wasay-wasay. I learned from Google that these are called black lip oysters in English.

We had crabs, squid and the wasay-wasay for lunch. It was again very sumptuous and excellent. I don’t have the right adjectives to describe the food. All I know for sure was that I was very full after that lunch.

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We had to rest after lunch. Our stomachs were too heavy to even swim. Thankfully we had plenty of time to just lie down or sit. Nong Jofer told us that we were leaving at 2pm to go to the last stop and it was still around 1pm.

I remember snorkeling here last time but my friends were no longer interested. We were just too full I guess! So we didn’t bother to ask Nong Jofer.

We left Antonia Beach at exactly 2pm to go to the Tangke Lagoon. I was anxious to do cliff diving again here but there was a louder voice in my head telling me to not jump. To get to the chase, I did not jump.

Anyway, the way going to Tangke never seized to amaze me. The first thing that came to everyone’s mind when we saw the rock formations was Palawan. It had a similar feel but at a lower price. The cathedral-like rocks in and around the Tangke Lagoon are just beautiful.

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When we got inside Tangke, I immediately went up the rock that I was too scared to climb before. I’m way too adventurous now than I was back in November.

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My friends Mike and Carlos also climbed their own rocks.

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Nong Jofer explained that some of the boulders inside the lagoon were displaced when Typhoon Yolanda hit in November 2013. These rocks were too huge it was hard to imagine that they were moved by the winds of the typhoon.

Then it was swimming time! The water inside Tangke was shallow enough but it was a bit scary to get too far. I tried but I was imagining things like animals coming out of the rocks. I was trying to scare Katrina that there were crocodiles inside the lagoon but I was secretly thinking they were real.

For some reason, there were also bubbles going up our feet. I don’t know what was causing them (we were not peeing) but they were noticeable enough that I feel I had to mention them here.

Groufie! Photo courtesy of Katrina Jinon-Morris.


Then it was cliff diving time! Mike and Carlos were very excited to do this. The women were not willing to do it at all. I, being the “official photographer” just got ready to take pictures of the guys. No one was forcing me to jump so I didn’t jump.

Anyway, here are my friends jumping off the cliff.

Mike the Batman!
Mike the Batman!

I felt envious that they jumped but I didn’t. Maybe next time.

We left right after the guys got on the boat to go back to the resort in Gigantes Norte. Mike, Katrina and Carlos all had visible sunburns. I had sunburn too but I was already too dark to see any of them. My skin was just burning though. Globert, on the other hand, suffered the least because she was wearing that long-sleeved swimming attire. In case you’re wondering, no one had applied sunblock.

When we got back, we only got to stay in the resort for about ten minutes. Then we were off to the much-awaited activity. Spelunking!

I told my friends to only bring a few things because I didn’t want them to suffer the way I did before. I left my camera in my room. Katrina left her GoPro too. Everyone except Carlos left our phone. (I’ll update this post as soon as I get the pictures and videos from Carlos. I have the files but I can’t open them.)

I had a feeling Katrina would be the one to find caving the most difficult so I was trying to warn her all day. She wanted to not join but we were egging her on until that point where there was no way back.

Manong Flashlight (I forgot his name so let’s just call him that) was our guide in the cave. Before we got to the obstacles inside the cave, the flashlight that Manong Flashlight was holding went out. We only had two flashlights (I was holding the other one since I was at the back), so I had to give the other one to Manong Flashlight. Fortunately, Carlos’ phone has a flashlight of its own.

I was surprised at how I found this easier than last time. It wasn’t easy but at least it felt easier. I remember how I needed to be pushed by Raisa because I couldn’t manage to pull myself up. My shirt was full of mud at that time because I had to hug the rocks. This time I was able to climb up the rope without much difficulty.

My friends thought things were over when we got out of the cave. They never imagined that going down the mountain was just as hard. We were quiet at this point but I knew my friends were struggling. We were all relieved when it was over.

We gave a P100 donation to I guess the caretaker and some tip to Manong Flashlight.

I’m glad my friends felt fulfilled doing the caving. It wasn’t enjoying but it definitely felt satisfying. We had a lot of stories while having dinner that night.

We again had huge servings of scallops that evening. We also had squid and fish escabeche. After dinner, we went straight to the videoke bar to again sing our hearts out. We drank plenty of beer and had a few good chat before going to bed.

I woke up around 6am the next day, packed up my things and had breakfast. We then settled our bill at the office. It was Mr. Decano’s sister who was manning the front office at that time. We were able to speak to her and I was surprised that she noticed I had a new tattoo (I like showing off my tattoos but I don’t expect people to notice which is which). She also said that her friend was also visiting Gigantes and wanted to take the cottage which I occupied. But since I was there, she had to be accommodated in another cottage. So thank you Ma’am! 🙂

We left at 8:30am. I felt sad to leave Gigantes, a place that I have come to really love. I will probably be back here soon, maybe before 2015 ends.

But before we left, we had to take the bamboo raft to get to the passenger boat. It looked difficult but it would feel comfortable once you’re already standing on it. The boat’s crew was careful enough so they’d maneuver the raft very slowly.

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The passenger boat left a few minutes after 9am. The men were asked to go in front of the boat just like last time when the boat started its engine. I think this is to tilt the boat to the front or I don’t know. Also like last time, I pretended not to hear. Harhar!

Since it was already part of the package, we didn’t pay the fare. But if you’re going to ride the boat on your own, the fare is P80.

The waves were again huge but we got to Estancia port safely around 11:10am. We immediately headed to the bus terminal. We agreed we’d take the Ceres bus but everyone was complaining about how long the bus ride took.

We were all able to take the 5:10pm trip of SuperCat but it was delayed. We arrived in Bacolod a little after 7pm.


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