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.
Bantigue Island is just 1.5 kilometers away from Cabugao Gamay. Our boat covered the distance in about 5 minutes, passing by Cabugao Dako to our left before docking at the tip of Bantigue’s sandbar. We were soon taking a lazy stroll along the creamy, golden sandbar jutting out from the island.
It was low tide when we arrived at Bantigue so that the sandbar was fully exposed by about a few feet above sea level, with one side of the sandbar sloping down at a steep angle into the water. This side actually has shallower and calmer water compared to the opposite side and we could have taken a swim here had we wanted. However, we decided it was better to swim and snorkel at Antonia Beach, our next destination. We simply contented ourselves with exploring and taking photos here.
Our tour guide remarked that this sandbar changes shape and direction according to the tides and waves. We’ve heard about this phenomenon before, particularly regarding two sandbars we’ve previously visited– namely that of Kalanggaman Island in Leyte and Higatangan Island in Biliran.
A tiny fishing community marked by a few huts and moored boats is located at the end of the sandbar where it joins the rest of the island. Three small rocky hills make out the latter. Like the rest of the islands and islets at Gigantes, there are several large rocks of various shapes here although not as impressive as the ones at Antonia Beach and the Tangke Lagoon.
Bantigue is another lunch stopover for tour boats plying this route. There are huts with table and chairs for rent. Here the scallops and wasay-wasay (a kind of local oyster) are very fresh and ridiculously cheap. We were looking forward to dining here but our resort (Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn) which manages our tour had already arranged for lunch at another island.
Bantigue Island and sandbar is normally a part of an island-hopping tour that includes other destinations such as Antonia Beach and Cabugao Gamay. These tours may be arranged through any of the resorts on Gigantes Norte Island or through boats at Estancia or Carles in mainland Iloilo. For suggestions on where to stay in Gigantes Norte and other travel tips go to this page.