I’m still bummed that I couldn’t travel and it will be a while before I see again the sunny corner of the world I grew up in. Part of me is somewhat grateful that I am in a good place during the pandemic but my heart still goes to the people back home who are suffering. If only I can transport them to the more paradisaical corners of the Philippines to at least alleviate their longing to get back to their normal lives, I would (while letting those heartless politicians melt inside the pits of scenic volcanoes as an offering). But I can’t and so, I hope at least, before I get frustrated again with current events, to remind people that there is still hope there somewhere. Here’s a heavenly paradise to somehow brighten your feed. It’s an island cluster close to home called Islas de Gigantes, literally, islands of giants. Sadly, we did not see any giant there but maybe it’s the fun that came in a giant package.
It’s a good six hours of land travel from my hometown. It does not look that far in the maps but the roads in the Philippines are long and winding. Needless to say, I haven’t been to this part of my province until only last year. It took us a day of island hopping and I was definitely elated by the sights. It was a burning 40°C outside (or at least felt like it) but still, with the cool shade of coconut trees and the endless turquoise waters, the heat was not too much to destroy the holiday picture.
Most of our escapade was centered in the South Gigante island whose shores are dotted with powder-white sand beaches. On one end is the Tangke saltwater lagoon which was strictly crowd-regulated but was still super picturesque with towering limestone karst walls. We then settled a bit in what they call a mini-Boracay (alluding to the most touristic spot in the Philippines) because the extremely fine sand texture resembles that of the renowned destination.
For lunch, we went straight to a nearby islet called Bantigue with a market-style eatery facing a long sandbar. From there, we devoured a generous helping of scallops. A good tray which can fill probably 5 people can just be bought for a couple of bucks. It was satisfying and fresh, none of us didn’t feel the need to go to the toilet.
From Bantigue, the emblem of this island cluster is only a stone’s throw away. The island is called Cabugao Gamay and is one of the most picturesque. This island constitutes a small hill connected to a rock formation by a long white sandbar. Gigantes IG is probably exploding with selfies with this island as the backdrop because it is indeed unique and charming – pretty much the view you had in mind when somebody mentions ‘island’.
There’s probably more in the island cluster but that’s all we could squeeze in a day. I definitely should find my way back there just for scallops alone. I’m missing seafood now more than ever and I hope I can travel soon and smell the fresh breeze from home once again. As for now, I’m filing this again in my long list of where to go back to after COVID.