“Nights and days came and passed
And summer and winter
and the rain.
And it was good to be a little Island.
A part of the world
and a world of its own
All surrounded by the bright blue sea.”
― Margaret Wise Brown,
My fear of water cannot stop me from exploring the isolated islands of Panay. Yep… The idea of having to swim in a deep water scares me to death, but I am a fan of island hopping. Chris thinks it is amusing how I can be so interested in the islands when I don’t even go diving or swimming. Believe me, my German swimming coach is too gorgeously demanding I was able to swim. Haha. This group of islands is one of the places in our list, and I can’t wait to show him how beautiful this place is!
Cabugao Gamay (small) is part of Isla Gigantes in Iloilo. Part of municipality of Carles on the northernmost tip of Panay island, its remote location makes it harder to get to. Perhaps this was the reason it hasn’t been so popular until lately despite its beauty. If you are looking for an exotic sea escapade, this is where you should go.
Located about 20 kilometers off the coast of Panay Island in the Philippines, it is one of the northernmost islands of the Province of Iloilo. From Iloilo City where I live, it would take 4 to 5 hours bus ride to the town Estancia, where you can find a boat to Isla de Gigantes.
Though it is part of the municipality of Carles, riding the boat from Estancia is the fastest way to set off on this area. Take note though that there is only one trip to the islands daily and vice versa, and that it would take 2 hours, in an open sea, to get there.
Boats from Estancia Port leaves at 2 PM, so be sure to get there early to secure a seat and not to lose a day until the next trip. The same boat departs Gigantes at 7 AM every day. Unless you want to rent a boat that will take you to and from the islands, you better be early. And yep, the ride can be rough.
Everytime I hear about Isla Gigantes, I always think about the scariest boat ride I had in my life. Since it was election day when we must get back to the mainland, we had no choice but to rent a boat. Little did we know it’s gonna make us feel like the smallest specks of dust in the middle of the rough sea. It is a 10-seater wooden boat and we ventured out into the open sea without life jacket!
Obviously,we survived. Thanks to our mashed-up prayers, even the big waves that seem to come from all directions only had to hit the boat up to about 3 inches from its edges. Must I also mention the water looked black? But Gigantes Islands is worth it, really. Quite experienced with the rough waters of the North Sea, Chris was laughing when he heard this story,and told me it is about time I swim. Haha.
This entire group of island runs on generator that provides electricity from 6 to 10 PM only. Most of the islands, including Cabugao Gamay is uninhabited. By day time, a family of 4 who are caretakers of this island will be happy to meet and tell you stories.
To get to see the magnificent view of the iconic island (as seen on the first picture), one should go up the steep and rocky formations at the opposite end on the island. Now, there is a stair to go there, so it is much easier than the way we did some years back. On top of this rock formation, you could hear the wind whistle from the left side where one of the islands stand, but are too dangerous for newbies to travel to.
Other than the crystal blue water, shells and corals are also a sight see. There seems to be a lot of them everywhere. We used some of them to scribble on the sand. Come here for a seafood overload.
This is the second of seven posts in response to Christina of JustBlueDutch’s 7-Day Nature Photo Challenge Series.She blogs about a multitude of topics about her personal interests being a parent, traveler and a Pinay expat. It is always a pleasure exchanging thoughts with her.
The rule for 7-Day Nature Photo Challenge is simple. Just post your favorite nature photo and nominate another blogger every day, for 7 days. 🙂
For my Day 2 of this 7-Day Series, I nominate youngofw.com. If you are interested to know the life, experiences and challenges of being a young Pinoy expat, drop by his blog. You might as well find helpful insights from his posts about Hong Kong and neighboring places.