When you have an archipelagic country that has more than 7,000 islands (the popular number is 7,107 but recent discoveries by the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority hiked the number up to more than 7,500), it’s no surprise that a favorite activity of locals and foreign tourists alike in the Philippines is island hopping.
The town of Carles in Iloilo is a dream destination to anyone who plans to go island-hopping with its 14 main islands and numerous islets to choose from. Without a doubt, Carles is one vast expanse of paradise for beachgoers, spelunkers, divers and even those who prefer lazy strolls along the coastline.
The most popular group of islands is the Islas de Gigantes or The Gigantes Islands, named after its rumored former inhabitants, who locals believe stood up to nine feet tall. This means that they were taller than Robert Pershing Wadlow, who stood at 8 feet 11 inches tall and was the tallest man ever recorded in history by the Guinness World Records.
The Gigantes Islands is made up of ten islands, including Gigantes Norte and Gigantes Sur, Cabugao Gamay Island, a favorite among those who enjoy photography, and Bantigue Island, famous for its long stretch of white sand surrounded by the ocean that is only accessible during low tide. This island group is also home to around 73 caves, which includes the famous Bakwitan Cave, a place of refuge for those hiding from the Japanese troops during the occupation, and Pawikan Cave. There’s also a lighthouse, Antonia Beach, and Tangke, a saltwater lagoon surrounded by towering rock formations.
Sicogon Island, one of the other main islands of Carles, was once a popular tourist destination in the 70s and 80s due to the development of what was supposed to be the Sicogon Island Resort. Construction was halted and its ruins are a favorite destination of visitors of the island today. Spend the day lounging along the shores of the sandy beaches of Dapdap, San Fernando and Barangay Buaya. Or hike up for an hour or so to the summit of Mount Opao.
Manigonigo Island is known to be home to the El Faro de Islote de Manigonigo, a lighthouse built by the Spaniards in 1894. While the original towers have been replaced by one that is more modern and more durable, the ruins of the keeper’s house are still present.
Despite being a popular tourist destination, many of Carles’ islands and islets have remained untouched and uninhabited, a waiting adventure for those who wish to discover more of the these natural treasures.
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Islas de GigantesTourist Attraction6 Reviews View
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