We’re nearing the end of 2016 and the end of another year of travel and adventure. Here’s a look back at the places we’ve visited.
Spending a day at Iloilo City before our journey to the Gigantes Islands, we didn’t think twice about how to spend our time. Right after exploring and dining at the La Paz district – famous for the original La Paz batchoy (a tasty noodle soup) – we immediately took off for Miag-ao town and its iconic Roman Catholic church building. Continue reading Miag-ao Church: Iloilo’s Heritage Site
The most well-known destinations in the Gigantes Islands group (sometimes called Islas de Gigantes) are Cabugao Gamay, Antonia Beach, Bantigue Island and Sandbar and the Tangke Saltwater Lagoon. Our island-hopping took us to these destinations in a little under 6 hours. However, there are other islands and islets scattered in this section of the Visayan Sea just off the towns of Carles and Estancia. Continue reading Gigantes Islands: The Not-So-Well-Known Side
From our vantage point at the hill on Cabugao Gamay’s northern tip we spied a rocky island nearby with a long, easily recognizable sandbar snaking its way lazily in the direction of nearby Gigantes Sur. It was immediately apparent that this is Bantigue Island and sandbar – the third stop of our island-hopping tour at Islas de Gigantes, a group of islands and islets off the northeaster coast of Iloilo province.
For decades the beauty of the Gigantes Islands off the northeastern coast of Panay has remained hidden. Even as late as the 1990s tourists set their sights on Boracay Island to the west although the nearby island of Sicogon briefly gained fame in the 1970s before the resort there abruptly closed down. It was only around five years ago when we first learned about this little corner of paradise just off the coast of northern Iloilo. The first picture that struck our fancy was similar to the one above – a view of Cabugao Gamay taken from a vantage point on the island.
Within a few minutes of leaving the sandbar at Bantigue Island, our next destination came into clearer view. Immediately to our front, an inviting white sand beach stood out between two massive, sprawling masses of limestone rocks. Clusters of lively green shrubs crowned the rocks while coconut palms lined the white sand beach. Our boat covered the next several meters of turquoise waters in what seemed like a breeze and we were soon walking along the creamy white shores of Antonia Beach.
Having traveled extensively throughout Southeast Asia, the Middle East and South Asia several years ago as part of our work, we’ve been exposed to these regions’ various cuisines. So when several restaurants offering fare from these countries began mushrooming in Metro Manila a few years back we could easily satisfy our cravings whenever we miss food from these regions. While many of these restaurants have modified their dishes to suit the Filipino palette, there were enough of them that remained true to their roots.