Seco Island, a Pristine Sandbar Haven in Antique

seco island in antique

Seco Island, Visayas

Seco Island is a little island off the west coast of Panay island in the middle of the ocean, miles from land and civilization, with the kind of pristine beauty that can only be discovered in isolation. Indeed, God has a way of keeping His finest works safe, and that involves putting them in inaccessible places. Seco Island, which is located offshore of Tibiao, Antique, is one of them. In the native language, “Seco” translates to “elbow,” and aerial photographs of the island show it to have the appearance of an elbow as it floats in clean, green, and blue waters.

Seco Island, Panay, Visayas - hanging out on the beach

People who have traveled there by sea say the trip takes between 2.5 and 3 hours. Only approximately 1.5 hours of ours was usable, so we’re impressed (less than 2 hours). Moreover, in contrast to the majority of online accounts of the trip to the island, ours was described as “smooth and serene.” Others have gone so far as to call it a “traumatizing” experience.

How to Get To Seco Island

Nearest Airport: Caticlan Airport (Godofredo P. Ramos Airport); Kalibo International Airport; Iloilo International Airport (Cabatuan Airport)

Seco Island, Panay, Visayas - map


  1. In order to reach Culasi, a town adjacent to Seco Island, you must first fly to Caticlan, which is the nearest airport to Manila. Get on a tricycle at the airport and ride it to the jetty.
  2. You can catch buses to Culasi from there.

Since flights to Caticlan tend to be pricey, most travelers opt to go to Kalibo instead. There are buses leaving from Kalibo that will take you to San Jose; just let the driver know that you need to get out at Culasi. The trip will cost about P120 and take about two hours.

  1. As an alternative, you could take a flight to Iloilo City. Take a bus to Pandan or Culasi from the Molo Van and Bus Terminal once you’ve arrived (P200, one way). It’s possible that the trip will take three hours.
  2. You may take a boat from Culasi to Seco Island for a price between P2000 and P3000 per trip, depending on the size of your group. There is a three-hour minimum required for the travel to the island.


  1. Another option is to take a bus from Manila to the Batangas dock, from which you may get an overnight or day boat to Caticlan. Sunday, Monday, and Thursday are the days when 2GO operates, and the cheapest fare, in the super value class, is roughly P1,264 (one way).
  2. Find the Culasi-bound buses at the ferry port (P200, one way).
  3. If you’re at Culasi, you may hire a boat to take you to Seco Island for around P3,000 (more or less, depending on the number of people in your party). There is a three-hour minimum required for the travel to the island

Entrance Fee and Other Charges

  • Entrance Fee: P150
  • Bring Your Own Camping Equipment, There Is No Camping Fee

Note: This is a Marine Protected Area, so camping activities are regulated.

  • Cottage Rental Fee: FREE. Only a floating hut and a shelter with a large table and wooden/bamboo seats provide shade on the island. The island’s caretaker’s post is generally empty.

Seek Out Seco Island

Surrounded by white sand, Seco Island is easily explorable on foot in under an hour; the beach is littered with dried corals and shells.  Newly caught fishes by the fishermen are for sale to tourists.


Seco Island was once a safe haven for seafarers who needed to wait out storms before continuing their fishing trips. Some fishermen still go there to dry their catch in the sun. The island is a pristine patch of white sand in the middle of the ocean; there is no infrastructure, no trees, and certainly no vendors.

Kitesurfers’ Paradise

Yahoo Philippines named Seco Island one of the best five kiteboarding spots in the Philippines, highlighting the island’s natural beauty. If you want to move up in kiteboarding, you’ll need to be in Category 3.

Kitesurfers in Seco Island

The island’s reliably strong winds can lift kite surfers 50 to 150 feet into the air, and the clear, shallow water dotted with sandbars is ideal for practicing aerials and other feats. Since these gusts are far stronger than those in Boracay, kite surfers are increasingly making the trek from Boracay to Seco Island.

Kitesurfer at Seco Island

Kiteboarders, especially experts, can easily return to civilization after quenching their need for adventure on a secluded island during the average 4-and-a-half-hour beautiful voyage from Boracay to Seco Island.

Seco Island Aerial View

NOTE: Take your trash back to the mainland so it can be properly disposed of.  The island’s natural beauty will be preserved greatly thanks to your small effort.




  • Day Tour (minimum of 5 persons): P2,499


Or, if you decide to check out Palawan, our small family operation organizes private custom boat tours through the Palawan area, voted the best island in the world, with its 52 pristine white sand beaches and some of the clearest waters in the world.


Experience the thrill of island hopping in the Philippines

Dumaguete: The City of Gentle People

dumaguete belfry

Dumaguete presents a different laid-back vibe to visitors. As such, It is dubbed as the city of gentle people.

Tracing Dumaguete’s History

In the past, Dumaguete is a battlefront for Moro pirates because of its coastal geography. The frequent Moro raids derived the name dagit, which means “to snatch.” This has, later on, evolve into Dumaguete, which is “to swoop.”

As a component city, Dumaguete is home to 131,377 locals as of 2015. It is also the site for four universities and numerous colleges. This has made the city an educational hotspot for students from adjacent provinces. The best-known Silliman University is the first Protestant university in the count. Furthermore, it is also the first American university in Asia.

How to get to Dumaguete


Accessible by a 1-hour plane ride from Manila, the city welcomes every traveler awaiting to explore its tourism offerings. There are also other entry points from Cebu, Bacolod, and Bohol. Moreover, Dumaguete is just a short ride away from another mystical destination, that is, Siquijor.

Coming from Cebu, there are plenty of travel options. Dumaguete can be reached through-plane as the faster means. There are daily domestic flights via Philippine Airlines or Cebu Pacific. On the other hand, one can also opt for a bus or ferry. Proceed to Cebu’s South Bus Terminal if you wish to take the bus. Depending on your itinerary, you can catch the earliest bus at 5:30 AM. Travel time is around 6 hours.

The practical way to hop on a ferry in Liloan Port in Oslob is coming from the South Cebu side. Check out the Sibulan-bound ferry. Travel time will take around 2 hours. Upon arriving in Sibulan Port, hail a jeep or multicab for a 30-minute ride to Dumaguete.

For travelers coming from Bacolod, there is a direct bus ride to Dumaguete. It is a 6-hour trip from Bacolod South Bus Terminal. Hop on a Ceres Liner bound to Dumaguete. It is best to ride out at night time. The entry point to Dumaguete City is majestic if you manage to arrive at sunrise.

The fastest way to get to Dumaguete coming from Bohol is by plane. The Tagbilaran airport cues Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific flights going to Dumaguete. It will take you a 50-minute to your destination. Furthermore, fast crafts and ferries are also available from Tagbilaran port. Ocean Jet Ferry provides the sea logistics for two hours.

When is the best time to visit Dumaguete

Dumaguete seaside promenade

It is ideal for visiting during the summer season (March-May). That is if you’re a beach junkie. The city takes on a vibrant form from September to October. Visitors can join in local Dumaguete festivities.

The city celebrates its Sandurot Festival in September. Tourists can join in the street merrymaking through its Pasigarbo event. Dance your heart away in the beat of the drums! In mid-October, Buglasan Festival is coined to be the “Festival of festivals.”  Celebrate and immerse in local Dumaguete culture through street dancing and events that are uniquely local.

Local cultural immersion

Because of Dumaguete’s rich heritage, it will be a waste not to immerse in it. There are beautiful places in Dumaguete that trace its history and haven of many stories.

Dumaguete Cathedral and Belfry

Dumaguete historyWhile almost all Philippine provinces have a Catholic church in the middle, the same is true with Dumaguete. Standing in front of Quezon Park is an old stone Church popularly known as St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral.

Built in the 17th century, the cathedral is home to a historical belfry tower constructed in 1811. This belfry provided aid as a watchtower during the many Moro pirate attacks on the province.

Silliman University

Dumaguete Silliman University

As the first Protestant university in the Philippines, Siliman University’s history is parallel to the city’s past. The giant acacia trees stood the test of time and were the lone observer to the changing times of the university and Dumaguete as a whole.

Water adventures

Dumaguete offers several beach sites and island hopping. There are just too many spots to checkout. Ranging from water adventurous to a relaxing staycation haven, the destinations in Dumaguete are sure to capture every traveling soul.

Balinsasayao Twin Lakes

 A natural wonder to visit in Negros Orient is the Balinsasayao Twin Lakes. Situated in the mountains of Sibulan, it will take

Dumaguete Balinsasayao Twin Lakes
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a 30-minute journey from Dumaguete city. The freshwater lakes are home to an array of birds. The twin lakes also offer water activities such as freediving and kayaking.

 Chasing Waterfalls

 From hot springs to waterfalls, there’s no shortage of sites in Negros Oriental. It’s hard to miss these wonders as they are accessible from Dumaguete City.

Two of the most famous waterfalls in the province are Casaroro Falls and Pulangbato Falls. Casaroro boasts a 100 feet free fall of magnificent water volume. Pulangbato, on the other hand, is tucked deep in Barangay Malabo, Valencia. Don’t forget to check out the red rock sulfur hot spring, not far from Pulangbato.

Island hopping around Dumaguete

A must-visit part of your travel itinerary is Apo Island. The island is part of Dauin, which is around 40 minutes away from Dumaguete. Apo Island is a must-see if your goal is to commune with nature and bask in marine wonders. Probably the best highlight of your visit is swimming with the turtles, so prep your snorkels accordingly.

Situated in Bais is the Manjuyod sandbar. Taking a 1 hour and a half trip from Dumaguete, Manjuyod is straight out of a pristine beach playbook. The crystal waters and stretch of sandbar in the middle of the ocean is the best leisure one can have.

Dumaguete’s Gastro Tour

Cuisine in Dumaguete

It is recommended to go local if you are in Dumaguete. Check the budbod in the local public market. Don’t miss the silvanas and sans rival that is a famous food indulge in Dumaguete. There’s also nothing more local than eating suman (Filipino rice cake) to complete your cultural immersion.

Some of the best food hubs to see are the following:

  • Sans Rival Cakes and Pastries – San Jose St. near Siliman University
  • Teresa Resto – best for people looking for homecooked Filipino food
  • Gabby’s Bistro – casual dining with Filipino and American dishes on the menu
  • Hayahay Treehouse Bar – best for capping the night out and an open view of Dumaguete’s beachfront.

For further details regarding your trip, the Dumaguete Tourism Office is always ready to assist visitors. Check out their social media page at:

  • Instagram: dumaguete.tourism
  • Twitter: DgteTourism

You may also email them at

Or, if you ever decide to travel to the Philippines, our small family operation organizes private custom boat tours through the Palawan area, voted the best island in the world, with its 52 pristine white sand beaches and some of the clearest waters in the world.


Experience the thrill of island hopping in the Philippines

Sipalay: An Underrated Marvel in Negros

sipalay danjugan island
beach view in sipalay, negros
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There are many places to explore in Negros Occidental. Sipalay City is definitely one of them. This Negros city boasts tourism marvels that sure are worth the visit (and the long drive!). Outside of Bacolod City, Negros Occidental has many underrated travel spots to check. While history junkies may look to check Silay and its old city charm, sand and sea adventure are of no shortage in Negros. Sipalay City is an underrated gem that awaits any adventurous soul.

Sipalay negros map

History of Sipalay

The history of Sipalay can be traced back to the early settlements of Bornean datus in the 1800s. Because of the fertile lowlands, houses were built and a village was established. However, the village was washed away by flood from the Sipalay river. Because of such a catastrophe, the villagers decided to relocate to a flat land across the river. In this new settlement the residents flourished the agriculture and marine industry.

When the Americans arrived in Negros, Sipalay was already an organized settlement. In the 1920s, there was already a complete political structure. It was then part of the municipality of Cauayan.

In 1948, former president Elpidio Quirino signed EO No. 185, proclaiming Sipalay as a town. In 2001, Sipalay was converted into a component city of Negros Occidental.

Not only does Sipalay have a rich history, it also has a rich variety of tourist destinations that will surely leave people awestruck. Here are some of them:

Best Spots to Visit in Sipalay

Sugar Beach

sipalay negros sugar beach
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Sugar Beach is the “representative” beach in Sipalay. Yes, there are many scenic beach locations in Sipalay but Sugar Beach is the go-to spot for locals and tourists alike. Resorts are offering rental cottages for you to enjoy the sunrise while relaxing in its powdery white sand.  Trivia: it’s called Sugar Beach because of its sugar-colored sand.

Perth Paradise Beach Resort

sipalay negros Paradise Beach Resort
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Probably the most ideal spot to take to “for the gram’ shots. Perth Paradise infinity pool overlooks a magnificent view of islets surrounding the area. You can also visit some of them by jet ski or bamboo rafting. If these choices are too tiring, how about basking under the sun in a bamboo raft?

Tinagong Dagat

sipalay negros Tinagong Dagat
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Much like Perth Paradise, there is a spot in this private cove that indulges visitors with a panoramic view of the surrounding islets. If crossing wooden bridges from one island to another isn’t exciting enough, the viewing park will surely give you the perfect backdrop to your adventure shots.

Punta Ballo

sipalay negros Punta Ballo
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If you want a more secluded and quieter place, Punta Ballo Beach is the right fit for you. A stretch of white sand beach flushed by crystal clear waters. Punta Ballo is a real haven for folks who want to escape and relax. Spending the night in Punta Ballo is convenient with available private resorts in the area.

Poblacion Beach

This beach spot has the closest proximity to Sipalay Proper. So, after checking the far-flung spots, unwinding the night away in Poblacion Beach is your safest bet. Having your meal from the Sipalay food park is very ideal for any of your laid-back travel goals. While you’re at it, you may as well appreciate the sunset and talking to locals for your next food trip destination in the area.

Danjugan Island

sipalay negros Danjugan Island
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Danjugan is technically part of the town of Cauayan but it is just an hour’s drive from Sipalay, so might as well make the trip. And it is worth the extra mile to say the least! Dajugan is a 43-hectare marine sanctuary managed by the Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation. If you want to commune with nature but still get the thrill of adventure, Danjugan Island offers the right spice for you.

How to get to Sipalay

The Bacolod-Silay Airport (Negros Occidental) hosts regular flights from Manila and other cities in the country. From the airport you can hail a cab to the South Bus Terminal and board a bus bound for Sipalay. If you can’t find buses to Sipalay, you can take the Hinoba-an-bound bus and tell the conductor that you’re bound to Sipalay. From the city, you can stand at the Gil Montanilla junction and hire a tricycle that will take you to Brgy. Nauhang. From there you can rent small boats to Sugar Beach.

Where to Stay in Sipalay

sipalay negros accommodation
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The most logical way to check out accommodations in the area is to start in the city center. There are a wide array of hotels and guesthouses in Sipalay city itself. Checking in the city center also affords you better transportation access if you want to explore other areas in Negros Province.  But if you want some tested and proven hotels, read on our list:

Big Bamboo Beach Resort

The Big Bamboo Beach Resort is the perfect example of real-life paradise. They offer freshly cooked food that you can savor at their beach front restaurant. They also have clean and comfortable cottages for you to have a restful day and a good night sleep after touring the city.

Easy Diving Beach Resort

Easy Diving Beach Resort is famous for its watersports experience. Aside from that, they boast of an atmosphere of serenity and harmony. With easy access to Sipalay’s must-see destinations, it features Wi-Fi in all rooms, 24-hour security, a souvenir shop, a yoga room, recreational activities and a whole lot more.

It has top-class recreational facilities such as boats, canoe, hiking trails, watersports equipment rentals, and a yoga room.

Drift Wood Village

driftwood village sipalay negros

As its name suggests, this resort is made from driftwood and has since attracted backpackers for its cheap rates yet cool ambiance. Imagine waking up to the sound of waves and smelling the fresh sea breeze? That is what the resort promises to its guests. They have air-conditioned rooms and fan rooms with prices ranging from p400 to P2,000. Definitely pocket-friendly!

Takatuka Beach Resort

Eccentric — that’s how they describe it. If you search for Takatuka Beach Resort on, you’ll read tons of comments on its unique and crazy decorations. They have cozy rooms as well as other amenities and great service.

Jamont Hotel

Looking for a budget-friendly hotel that is in the heart of the city? Look no further as Jamont Hotel is ready to welcome you with airconditioned rooms, free internet access, an on-site restaurant and a pool. There’s free parking, too, so guests with cars will not have a problem.

Where to Eat in Sipalay

Where to Eat in Sipalay Negros
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Sipalay, Negros is also home to world-class delicacies that will surely leave you drooling for more. Like other places, it has its local menus with fresh ingredients. If you want to check out its best restaurants, here is a list:

The Mixed Food Restaurant

This restaurant is famous for its authentic pizza and pasta infused with homemade tomato sauce and olive oil. Crisp, delicious and clean, their menu also has an array for food items to choose from including burgers and rice meals. They serve alcohol, too, in case you need a little push after a tiring and enjoyable day.

Location: Sipalay Food Park Manokan, Brgy. 2 Sipalay, Negros Occidental

Contact Number: 63 977 181 8869

Sulu Sunset Beach Resort Restaurant

Nothing beats filling your tummy while filling your eyes with a spectacular view. Sulu Sunset Beach Resort Restaurant is both an accommodation facility and a restaurant. Famous for its huge servings, they offer rice meals, pasta, pizza and salad. They have a bar too. Beer plus a view of the beach and sunset? It’s nothing but perfection.

Location: Sugar Beach, Sipalay

Contact Number: +63 919 716 7182

Blu Mare

Have a taste of their own version of Italian dishes at Blu Mare Restaurant. It boasts of its authentic Italian food, great service and ambiance, a nice garden and Italian wine. Sounds romantic, right?

Location: Sugar Beach, Sipalay

Contact Number: +63 915 480 6904

Fish Tank Seafood Restaurant

sipalay negros Fish Tank Seafood Restaurant

They say you can never go wrong with seafood (except of course for people with allergies). In general, the Philippines is also famous for its abundant marine life, and Sipalay happens to be one of those cities who can confidently boast about their marine industry. Fish Tank Seafood Restaurant is famous for its fresh seafood and a variety of meal options. Imagine eating freshly caught fish while basking in nature. Yum, yum.

Location: Brgy. 3, Sipalay

Contact Number: 0909 823 3475

With exciting spots fits for any kind of adventure and a whole lot more, Sipalay is a tourist haven that is sure to capture anyone’s soul. You just want to come back for more!

Or, if you decide to check out Palawan, our small family operation organizes private custom boat tours through the Palawan area, voted the best island in the world, with its 52 pristine white sand beaches and some of the clearest waters in the world.


Experience the thrill of island hopping in the Philippines

Mysterious Siquijor: The Must-Visit Spots


Siquijor may be famous for its love potions and healers, but it is slowly gaining popularity for its vivid beauty and natural gems. Mysterious and mystical, this place has called the attention of travelers because of its unique charm. Its old churches, white sand beaches, snorkeling spots, waterfalls and many more keep people glued to its own version of paradise.

History of Siquijor

In 1565, a crew of Spanish explorers named the Legazpi Expedition were surveying nearby islands in Bohol. An island that looked like glowing immediately caught their attention, hence, they called it Isla del Fuego or the Island of Fire. Upon closer look, however, the glow actually emanated from a swarm of fireflies amid the islands thick forestry. At night, these insects seem like they are setting the island on fire through their light. The explorers, led by Esteban Rodriguez, came to the island and met its ruler – King Kihod. The Spaniards thought Kihod was the name of the island so they named it Sikihod. They later changed it to Siquijor.

During the 1800s, Siquijor was under the governance of Bohol. Later on, it officially became a part of Negros Oriental. In 1971, it became an independent province.

It is now the third smallest province in the Philippines. Despite its small land area, it is home to many destinations that will keep you charmed all throughout your visit. Here are some of them:

Best spots in Siquijior

Century-old balete tree

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Some of the locals will say that the tree is enchanted by a fairy. Standing for more than 400 years, the three has been marveled at by locals and tourists as one cannot just resist its beauty and formidability. Under the tree, there is now a fish spa where tourists can enjoy having tickles on their feet while looking at the century-old balete tree. Who knows? You may really see a fairy while basking at its beauty.

Salagdoong Beach

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One cannot completely enjoy Siquijor without visiting Salagdoong Beach. It is a favorite destination. Owned and managed by the provincial government, it is located in the town of Maria, Siquijor. It features two cliff jump sites, a long stretch of white sand and an abundant marine life, making it a perfect go-to spot for diving, snorkeling, or just chilling.

Cambugahay Falls

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Located in the town of Lazi, Cambugahay Falls features three tiers of waterfalls, making clear and cool swimming lagoons before it goes to Lazi Bay. One of the fan favorites is the Tarzan swing, where people can swing their way to the lagoon. It’s definitely one for the books.

Lazi Convent

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The Lazi Convent is a national landmark in the province. Built in the 1880s, it is considered one of the oldest and biggest convents in the Philippines. Having withstood the test of time, the Lazi Convent will leave you awed with its age and beauty.

Lagaan Falls

Famous for its jungle vibes, Lagaan Falls is also a must-see destination in the province. It features natural, freshwater rock pools where you can cool yourself all day long while filling your eyes with nature.

How to get there

From Manila, you can take a direct flight to Dumaguete. From the Dumaguete airport, you can hire a tricycle to the port for around P100. You can also take a jeepney to the city, then walk for a few meters to the port. At the port, you can either go by fastcraft or ferry to Siquijor.

If you’re from Cebu, you can board a bus bound for Liloan at the Cebu South Terminal. Travel time is around five hours. In Liloan, you can board a ferry bound for Sibulan. And from Sibulan port, you can ride a jeepney to Dumaguete City. You can then take a tricyle to Dumaguete port and board a fastcraft or ferry to Siquijor.

Where to Stay


White Villas Resort

This beachfront resort features a restaurant by the beach, swimming pool, sunset bar, free kayaks, and rooms good for singles, couples and groups. They also offer motorbike rentals and island tours. (

Coco Grove Beach Resort

Coco Grove Beach Resort boasts of its world-class service and amenities. Surrounded by turquoise water, it gives you the opportunity to relax and refuel your mind with the beauty of nature — from its abundant marine life to its tropical gardens to its long stretch of white sand. (

Lazi Beach Club

Lazi Beach Club has numerous rooms to choose from. There are aircon rooms and fan rooms that are perfect for those who would like to save money during the trip. Their rooms also have refrigerators, hot and cold shower, and security safes. Enjoy quality service, value for money and security during your stay here. (

Mandala Tribe Tree Houses

As what the name suggests, Mandala Tribe Tree Houses features airconditioned rooms that look like tree houses. With a three-star rating, it boasts of its room balconies where visitors can enjoy the spectacular view of their garden. And there’s Wi-Fi, too! (

Dolce Amore Italian Restaurant and Resort

Dolce Amore Resort has a restaurant, outdoor swimming pool, a bar and garden. Its Italian menu offering is to die-for.  (

Where to Eat in Siquijor

Sunset Restaurant

We cannot never really put it into words, but there’s always something about sunsets. It somehow calms us, makes us smile and keeps us hoping for a better tomorrow. Sunset Restaurant offers this kind of ambience. And it’s not just about their magnificent view, they also boast of a good selection of quality food. The place just screams home — definitely a paradise.

Location: Tubod, San Juan, Siquijor

Contact Number: +63 945 144 0976


Salamandas, located in one of the best accommodations on the island, is famous for its affordable yet superb food. The ambience is great, too. There is a wide array of options, the staff is too accommodating and the place just gives you the opportunity to relax.

Location: Coco Grove Beach Resort Tubod, San Juan, Siquijor

Contact Number: +63 917 314 1415

U.Story Guest House Bar Restaurant


Do you want to experience a romantic meal while overlooking at a spectacular view? U.Story Guest House Bar Restaurant is tucked away in the town of San Juan. It’s peaceful so it’s the perfect place to enjoy their sumptuous food. Because of the limited number of guests that they can accommodate, it is recommended that you book a reservation before coming.

Location: Paradise Boulevard Tag-ibo, San Juan

Contact Number: +63 917 337 7151

Siquijor is definitely an island waiting to be explored. With its synergy of nature and its own mystery, it will leave you mystified, making it a destination that is surely one for the books.

Or, if you decide to check out Palawan, our small family operation organizes private custom boat tours through the Palawan area, voted the best island in the world, with its 52 pristine white sand beaches and some of the clearest waters in the world.


Experience the thrill of island hopping in the Philippines

2022 Top Things To Do and Places to Visit in Guimaras



Things to do in Guimaras

After having visited Guimaras island for so many years, it has changed a lot. There are so many new places to visit and fun things to do there this year 2020. Guimaras is known to be the MANGO CAPITAL of the Philippines. Do you want to know why? Yes, you guessed it right. Guimaras island is famous for their best export quality and sweetest mangoes in the Philippines.


But not only that,  flocks of tourists visit Guimaras for its boracay-like white sand beaches and old light houses. Although there’s nothing to compare how fine the white sand is in Boracay, many tourists still don’t want to miss it when they’re visiting the City of Love, Iloilo City.

Boracay-like white-sand-beach-guimaras

Besides that it’s way cheaper than in Boracay, the time travel to get there is pretty easy and short. Also, it’s not crowded or touristy like Boracay. So if you are looking for some quiet place to relax with your family, Guimaras island is the perfect place for you.

Best Places To Visit in Guimaras Island

The Smallest Plaza


The first place in Guimaras that you should not miss to visit is their smallest plaza.

Did you know that Guimaras has the smallest plaza in the world? Yes, it has an area of not more than 300 square meters. Thus, it earned its title from the Guinness Book of World. This plaza might be really small but you won’t be able to miss it.

How to get there:

Along the road, it has a big signage as seen in the picture above. It is located in Jordan.

The Guisi Lighthouse

The old light house in Guisi, Guimaras Island

Here’s another tourist spot in Guimaras that’s famous for its architecture. The Guisi Lighthouse is one of the popular places in Guimaras to visit.

If you are visiting Guimaras, you must not miss Guisi lighthouse. It’s rusty old architecture enticed people to visit this place. Some couples even have done their prenuptial photo shoot here.


In addition, the Guisi lighthouse will also give you a beautiful panoramic view of the beach from above. I believe I have been in this historical site for a thousand times already.


It is around 1 hour by tricycle from the port to get there. It is located in Nueva Valencia, Guimaras. You will need to hike uphill for about 10 minutes to get to the Guisi Lighthouse ruins.

Guisi Beach Guimaras 


Guisi beach is my favorite place to visit in Guimaras island. Its sand might not be as fine as other beaches but its wider.

If your are looking for a long stretch beach, Guisi beach is perfect for you. Just beware though, the beach is rocky. Nevertheless, it has a very clear water.


Now, there’s a restaurant on the beach where you can order some food or rent a cottage. What we would usually do is bring a beach towel and just buy food from them. And yes, they sell cold beers!

History of Guimaras Island


Have you ever wondered where does the name Guimaras came from? Guimaras was called before as Himal-us. Based on its peculiar history, there were two lovers who went swimming and didn’t come back anymore. The couple was Guima and Aras.

With that being said, in their honor, the pre-Spanish Ilonggos changed the name of the island from Himal-us to its present name Guimaras.


The Province of Guimaras is composed of five municipalities with Jordan as the capital. As of 2020 census, Guimaras has a total population of 187,842.

How to get to Guimaras


Guimaras is 604.7 km2 and it can be reached by plane and boat from Manila and other origins, via Iloilo City and Pulupandan, Negros Occidental. Moreover, including transfers, it takes approximately 5 hours and 10 minutes to get from Manila to Guimaras island.

On the other hand, if you are coming from Iloilo City, you can take a jeepney or taxi to take you to  the Iloilo Ferry Terminal-Parola, it is next to City Mall – Parola. From there, you can take a pumpboat to get you to the Guimaras island. Travel time is about 15-20 minutes.


If you have a car and you want to bring it with you to Guimaras, you may do so by taking a RoRo (big cargo ship) from the Iloilo-Jordan RoRo Port in Lapuz. There are two shipping lines, FF CRUZ and Montenegro. Travel time is about 20-30 minutes.

Motor boats or bangka fare costs 45 PHP during day time and 90 PHP at night. If you are taking a RoRo, fare would cost you 50 PHP. If you have a car, you’ll have to pay 700 PHP plus a terminal fee, no need to pay for the fare of the no more than 3 people including yourself.

Take note:

  • Day time : 6:00 – 17:57 @ 43 passengers/trip
  • Night time: 18:00 @ 31 passengers/trip

Best Time to Visit Guimaras Island


Guimaras has been one of the famous weekend getaway places of Ilonggos. However, it has becoming to be popular for other tourists. The best time to visit Guimaras island is during summer. With that being said, it’s best to explore the island from December to May. 

However, the perfect month to visit the island is in May. May is the month when they celebrate their Manggahan (Mango) Festival for two weeks. During the festival, there are street dancing contest by different barangays.

Moreover, if you love mangoes, joining their “eat all you can mangoes” would be perfect for you. This is another thing to do in Guimaras that you should not miss when visiting.  I once finished two kilos of ripe mangoes within an hour. Well, I did not have breakfast so I guess it was a perfect timing.

Transportation Around Guimaras Island


Once you have docked at the port, there will be drivers hovering around you. You may choose between jeepneys, tricycles or tuktuk,  and vans. If you are just doing a day trip to explore Guimaras, hiring a tricycle for a day is your best option. Jeepneys in the island aren’t available every minute thus witing for it will consume most of your time.


In addition, you must get back to the port before 6pm so you won’t miss the last boat. However, the downside of renting a tricycle is its price. It would cost around 1,000pesos for a day trip depending on the places you want to visit. On the contrary, if you are with your friends or family, it would be cheaper because you will be sharing the cost.

Do you know what’s another best part in traveling in Guimaras? There is no traffic at all.


The cheapest and best way that I have used when traveling alone in Guimaras is by renting a motorbike.

Moreover, I have learned this trick when I was traveling Siquijor, Bohol and southern part of Cebu. For budget travelers like me, you can walk further from the port. After the gasoline station, there’s a small kiosk next to a vulcanizing shop. You may ask people around where you can rent a motorbike.

However, some people might tell you that it’s not allowed but that is not true. I’ve done this so many times so can you. If you want to explore off the beaten paths in a cheap way then rent a motorbike.

In addition, rent of a motorbike costs 700 pesos/day or you can still negotiate the price for around 600pesos. But, you need to fill in the tank full before returning it. Driving a motorbike gives you plenty of time to explore the island flexibly. With that being said, you can stop whenever and wherever you want.

For Guimaras Island Hopping tour, prices are 700 PHP for the first hour and 250 PHP extra per hour. It usually takes about 5 hours to see all the other islands.

Visiting the islands in El Nido and Coron, Palawan? We offer private island hopping boat tours for you.


Bohol Island, Philippines: A Hidden Treasure in the Visayas


Bohol travel guide

It’s no secret that the Philippines has become more well-known abroad in recent years. I attribute this rise in popularity to two main factors: the first is the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) successful campaigns (such as “It’s More Fun in The Philippines”), and the second is the articles (which often went viral) posted by several travel writers who have been enchanted by the country’s beauty. (Bohol)

The Philippines’ gorgeous islands and white sand beaches have quickly become a favorite among tourists from all over the world. Many visitors, however, are under the impression that the country consists of nothing but beaches and sunshine. Not only do we have some of the most beautiful coasts and beaches in the world, but we also have an abundance of wildlife, plant life, historical sites, iconic landmarks, and marine life.

Bohol, a jewel in the Visayan archipelago, is a prime example of this.

Bohol, the Philippines’ 10th-largest island, may not be as well-known as Boracay or Palawan, but it certainly has its share of breathtaking scenery and exciting dive sites that can win over the heart of even the most jaded traveler. To have even glimpsed its splendor for a moment is a privilege I count among my many blessings.

Things to Do in Bohol

Visit the famous ‘Chocolate Hills’

Chocolate Hills, Bohol
Chocolate Hills, Bohol

As you can see, the Chocolate Hills (or Tsokolateng Burol, as we Filipinos say) are an unusual geological structure consisting of a group of cone-shaped hills that are nearly identical in appearance. According to my research, there are more than 20 square miles covered by at least 1,200 of them. It’s more accurate to say that these ‘hills’ range in height from 30 meters to 120 meters and are built of limestone that has been covered with grass.

“…WAIT. You call them “Chocolate Hills,” but I see only GREEN. What in the world could possibly make this taste like chocolate?!”

You may be asking why these limestone hills are called “chocolate hills,” and the answer is that during the dry season (December through May), the grass that normally covers them dries up and turns a darker brown. This will give the impression that there are infinite rows of Hershey’s chocolate kisses, hence the name. 

TRIVIA: According to popular myth, these Chocolate Hills were formed when two gigantic rivals decided to settle their differences with a sand and stone brawl. They were at loggerheads, but after they crashed, they became fast friends. They began having such a fantastic time with one another that they neglected to clean up their mess, leading to the formation of the Chocolate Hills we see today.

Truth be told, though, this did not occur and we should not let ourselves get carried away in a fun fantasy about it. Nevertheless, I suppose this is a more “cool” explanation to give to tourists than “We don’t really know how exactly…” This is because there is currently no agreement on the origin of the hills. “Weathered remains of some sea limestone on top of an impermeable layer of clay” is the most widely held explanation for the hills.

Please take note that it appears that you may also rent ATVs and explore the area’s hills. Certainly, if you ask me, it’s worth a go!

Take Your Time in Bohol’s Mahogany Grove

Bohol's Mahogany Forest
Bohol’s Mahogany Forest

A 2 mile “Man-Made” Mahogany Forest in Bohol stands towering and uniformly green on both sides of the highway at Bilar and Loboc, making it impossible to overlook on the approach to the Chocolate Hills.

It appears this was part of a larger reforestation initiative initiated in the 1990s in reaction to forest loss brought on by the kaingin (slash-and-burn) farming method popular in the Philippines. As a result, it is a “man-made forest,” since the seeds were deliberately planted by humans.

The way the tree roots emerge from the ground, wind around rocks, and spread out to the roadside is a sight to behold. You get the creeps just looking at them. The roots seem to extend out and grab at unsuspecting passers-by, like the tentacles of a big octopus, as in the “Lord of the Rings” film.

Witness the ‘Tarsier’ 

Tarsier, The World’s 2nd Smallest Primate
Tarsier, The World’s 2nd Smallest Primate

It shares the Chocolate Hills’ enthusiasm for the prospect of seeing a tarsier, the world’s second-smallest primate, in its natural habitat for the first time. Only in a few locations in Southeast Asia can you find them, and Bohol, Philippines, is one such place.

Cruise the Loboc River

CRUISING AGAIN | The Loboc River
CRUISING AGAIN | The Loboc River

Most tours of the Bohol countryside wouldn’t be complete without taking a cruise down the Loboc River in Loboc town. The price typically includes a hearty buffet lunch or dinner, which is typically served right on the raft. Onboard singers and musicians serenade diners as they enjoy traditional Filipino fare at this floating restaurant.

The cruise sets sail from Loay Bridge, right next to the Church of San Pedro. Around the hour mark of the one hour cruise, the raft pulls up in front of a large hut where more singers and dancers in traditional baro’t saya perform for a few minutes. After navigating around a section of Busay Falls, the raft continues downstream.

Enjoy a relaxing cruise along the Loboc River, which is surrounded by verdant mountains and waterfalls, before arriving at the breathtaking Busay Falls. The floating eatery will return its customers to the designated spot. The duration of the cruise is approximately one hour.

Enter the Baclayon Church

Baclayon Church is the second-oldest church in the Philippines and has been designated as both a National Cultural Treasure and a National Historical Landmark. If you’re visiting Bohol and are interested in learning more about the colonial era of the Philippines, this is a great place to stop.

This church, which was constructed by Jesuit priests in 1959, is home to various priceless artifacts from the country’s long and storied Roman Catholic tradition. Have a look at that altar, it’s quite an amazing display, yes?

Church Altar, a photo from Bohol, Central Visayas
Church Altar, a photo from Bohol, Central Visayas

Enjoy the Water and the Ocean!

Bohol's Alona Beach, a White Sand Paradise
Bohol’s Alona Beach, a White Sand Paradise

Since Bohol is an island, it naturally has many beautiful beaches. There are actually seventy-five additional uninhabited islands in the vicinity. When it comes to the most important landmarks, keep in mind:

Panglao Island: A bridge connects the main island to this convenient destination (Bohol). Alona Beach, a beautiful stretch that is roughly 1.5 kilometers long, is the most famous of the area’s several beaches. There are several hotels along its shores, thus it’s a good option for vacation lodging on Bohol. When looking for things to do, snorkeling and, better yet, scuba diving, are musts.

Virgin Island: Sandbar on a small, isolated island in the Virgin Island. There isn’t much to do here, but it’s still a nice spot to kick back and relax in the sun.

Balicasag Island: If you’re looking for a great place to go scuba diving in the Philippines, go no further than Balicasag Island. If you swim out 50 meters from the shore, you’ll find a steep drop-off into water deep enough for a wall dive. Even if you have no expertise with scuba diving, you may still go snorkeling around the island to observe the vibrant corals and marine life. (You can see dolphins on the way here!)

Balicasag Island Tour & Virgin Island Bohol
Balicasag Island Tour & Virgin Island Bohol

Bohol Travel Guide

How to Get to Bohol

By air. Unfortunately, there are currently no nonstop flights from other countries to this island. Travelers can fly to Bohol from Tagbilaran Airport (the capital city of Bohol is also called Tagbilaran). If you keep an eye out for promotions from local airlines like Cebu Pacific, Air Asia, and PAL Express, you may find round-trip flights from Manila or Cebu for as little as $10 (Php 500).

By boat. Every day, ferries leave from the ports of Cebu and Dumaguete. If you’re ready to reserve, use the following booking links:

– From Cebu to Bohol and vice versa
– From Dumaguete to Bohol and vice versa

How to Get Around Bohol

By motorcycle. Motorcycle rentals in Tagbilaran and Panglao start at about $4 per day (Php 200). Having this much independence will allow you to go wherever you want, whenever you want.

By car. Tagbilaran is home to the majority of the island’s car rental agencies, and daily rates start at $31. (Php 1,500).

By public transportation. Tricycles, jeepneys, and buses on key thoroughfares make getting about easy and cheap. When you’re in a hurry to travel somewhere far away, it’s hard to flag one down because they don’t run on schedules. If you’re not going on a tour, you should definitely get your own car.

By arranged tours. Getting around the island is a breeze if you arrange a tour in advance, as I mentioned before.

*Depending on the boat and number of passengers, island hopping boat rentals can cost $31 (about Php 1,500) to $62.

Or, if you decide to check out Palawan, our small family operation organizes private custom boat tours through the Palawan area, voted the best island in the world, with its 52 pristine white sand beaches and some of the clearest waters in the world

Check out what activities you can do in Boracay for more fun stay!


Experience the thrill of island hopping in the Philippines

Carles Sicogon Gigantes boat tours



For the first island there were some steps to take the famous picture scene at the top of this page.


You can stay overnight on this island as well (we can book for you), or take a private boat and spend a night on your own private island, nearby.











Then we went to some sandbar, but were not allowed to go too close to the houses at the end, as that was private.



Then we went to another beach with a similar view in both directions, although this was my preferred one.


Then we went for lunch and passed by these rock formations, which we returned to later.



Lunch was great, all you can eat, and I decided to stuff myself exclusively on the scallops, which Carles and the area is famous for.


Then it was to Tangke Saltwater Lagoon. One guy found a great diving spot into the ocean, near to where the boats dock.



Then it was to some island which apparently used to have two coconut trees but one was blown down by a strong typhoon.



And if that wasn’t all perfect enough, a beautiful sunset on the way back, the boat pointing towards it all the way.


More info on the area and islands

Explore the Philippines

If you’d like help exploring the Visayas region or any part of the country:


Travel Tour Packages to Bulubadiangan Island


Bulubadiangan-Island-mapA good place to break away and relax and one of 16 islands under the jurisdiction of Concepcion. There is a resort of sorts renting out rooms for 1000p, nipa hut day cottages for 400p or 800p overnight, or tents for 500p. Concepcion on the mainland (about 30min away by boat, boat rental about 1,500p) is about 3 hours away from both Iloilo and Roxas. Limited power supply, common bath and restroom, with a simple store selling basic supplies. Entrance fee to the island is 25p/person.

Island hopping can be arranged to Bulabudiangan Island, Agho Island, Malangabang Island and Sandbar, and Sipol Island. There is also a Spanish-era lighthouse in Calabaza Island of Ajuy. You can organise trips to the island or islands through the Municipal Tourism Office located right next to the bus stop. Make sure to bring in your own food or drink from the mainland and count on electricity only from 6pm-10pm. During low tide in the mornings you can check out the coral reef at the end of the sandbar. The coral and clam farms are worth checking out. The island can be explored within a day and Mount Pan de Azucar can be climbed within a day.



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Explore Philippines

Travel Tour Packages to Marbuena Island


Marbuena-Island-mapThe Marbuena Island Resort owns the whole island, but you can come visit without having to stay there. It is about 2 hours drive from Iloilo and then 25min boat ride to the island. Expect crystal clear waters and perfect white sand, while the staff receive rave reviews for their superb service.

A very chill place if you want to take a break from hectic traveling, and you can go on a four or seven stop island hopping tour (usually includes Calabaza Island with its 18th century Spanish lighthouse, Nasidman island and its rural fishing community, and other islands and white sand beaches with excellent snorkeling). Facilities are apparently the best of anything north of Iloilo. It used to be a family retreat, for which reason it was not susceptible to loggers or poachers, the island now boasting a rich jungle with diverse mango forests, a lone trail etched into its perimeter. The rich jungle is home to many birds, who are quite joyful in their proclamations.



Explore Panay
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Travel Tour Packages to Carles, Gigantes


visayas-package-tours-carles-gigantesA bunch of beautiful, sandy beach islands off the northeast coast of Panay Island.

First settled around 1846, it draws in tourists not only because of its beauty, but abundance of beautiful corals and fish life. Be certain you will have some very affordable and delicious seafood.

A highly recommended stop, if you’d like to book a tour.


Things to do in Carles Gigantes

Carles is a major seafood producer, dubbed the “Alaska of the Philippines”. The water territory lies within the Visayan Sea Triangle, extending from the provinces of Iloilo, Negros, Cebu, Samar, and Masbate, which in turn is part of the “Sulu-Sulaweisi Triangle” of the Sulu Sea and neighboring Indonesia. This entire area is rich in marine life, while the islands around Carles contain some of the most biologically diverse and productive fishing grounds in the Philippines, producing such goodies as mackerel, barracuda, sardines, shad, pompano, grouper, squid, cuttlefish, shrimp, prawns, shells and seaweed.


Let us start our journey at the southern most island, Sicogon, and work our way clockwise up through Carles, Pulupandan Island just to the east of it, through to Gigantes North, then South, then Bantigue Island and finally ending at Cabugao Gamay Island.

Sicogon Island


Sicogon used to be a famous island resort for the rich and famous, but at one point lost its luster to Borocay, becoming rather neglected in the process. But there are plans to build a major resort, so the number of days when it will still be a quaint stop in a natural setting could be numbered.

It got its name from Cogon, a type of grass growing in abundance on the island. It offers a lot of activities, such as island hopping, trekking at Mt. Opao, kayaking, SUP, snorkeling and cliff jumping at Tumaquin islet. It already has two resorts, so you wont be denied some better facilities and amenities.

Pulupandan Island


Going north from Sicogon Island and directly east of Carles island we have a very small island in the name of Pulupandan, blessed with a lone coconut tree and a single small hut. It used to have two coconut trees but one blew down by a super typhoon.

On one side you will find interesting rock formation which you can climb.

Gigantes North

Going farther east and a bit north from Pulupandan, we get to the northern most of the Gigantes islands, where the caves and historic lighthouse are worth a visit.

Pawikan and Bakwitan Caves


According to local forklore, the island got its name because of giant bones found in coffins in the ancient burial ground of Bakwitan Cave. The cave is now sometimes used as a shelter against strong storms, and even to hide from the Japanese soldiers during WW2.


Pawikan is much larger, but it requires a 30-45 minute steep climb up a cliff to get there. Be prepared to crawl through some tight spots, but it just makes it that much more of an adventure! Wait for a breathtaking view at the exit.

Old lighthouse


Ruins of an old Spanish lighthouse at the northern shore of Gigantes North. A breathtaking view can be found from the top of the modern lighthouse standing next to it.

Gigantes South

Rock climbing at Gigantes Sur


Local guides can take you to what they call “the Boulevard”, which is a row of limestone cliffs for climbers. Make it to the top and you will see a great full 360 degree view of the surrounding islands.

Tangke Saltwater Lagoon


A smaller version of the lagoons found around El Nido and Coron in Palawan, nevertheless worth a visit, but try for high tide so that you can wade in the water. Getting there can be a bit of a climb, but there are people to help, also to guide you to the top, from which you can cliff dive into the water.

Some say it is better than the lagoons around Coron, but if there are a lot of tourists (it can get crowded), you get only 15-30min visit max, unless you want to pay for another environmental fee.

Some say it is better to get there via Carles port with its tourism office there, because if you go through Estancia port, you will only be able to visit the lagoon once the marshall leaves.

Picnic at Antonia Beach


A beautiful, secluded white sand beach requiring a boat to get to and usually included in the standard day boat tour. Good for a picnic, but if your crew does not provide, no worries, there is a local resort selling seafood.

There are also some caves for spelunking and it is a great place for casual snorkel, but you can also stay overnight in one of their tents. Beautiful rock formations.

Bantigue Island


Moving further along south we get to the small island of Bantique, voted 4.5/5 out of 16 reviews on TripAdvisor. Worth-visiting for its long sandbar and crystal clear waters. Best visited during the summer or low tide, as it can be submerged during high tides and season.

A great place if you love scallops, a mere peso each, but other sea goodies are available, such as Wasay-wasay, a relative of the oyster. Might be best visited in the mornings, before the sand gets too hot, as there are no shades available.

Cabugao Gamay Island


The most popular selfie view of the islands, you can take a picture of most of the island from one particular vantage point. A good place for swimming and sunbathing, eating fresh seafood, or exploring to…

Treck to the natural saltwater pool hidden in the cliffs

Another secluded gem worth not missing, a little bit further from the main beach.

Other interesting facts about Carles Gigantes

Not only is Carles, in particular the Gigantes Islands referred to as the Alaska of the Philippines, but also the Scallops Capital of Iloilo. Scallops are the locals’ main source of income, and it is so important to them that they hold a Scallops Festival every March. Expect prices of around 1p per scallop, although you may be required to purchase a minimum order of 100p.


Not only are there many healthy corals producing tons of seafood, but the Carles Gigantes islands area is rich with limestone forests, caves and white-sand beaches. Officially it is under urgent conservation priority, as it is home to a variety of species, two of them endemic: the Gekkonid Lizard (Gekko gigante) and the Island Forest Frog (Platymantis insulatus).

The islands are also blessed with beautiful rock formations, while despite an increase in tourists in recent years, the islands have maintained their rural and untouched charm relative to such places as Borocay or Bohol.


The average half day tour, for between 1000-1500p, usually includes the following favoured spots: Cabugao Gamay Island, Tangke, Antonia Beach, Bantigue Island, and Pawikan Cave.

If you want to buy fresh seafood it is better to do so in the early morning selling areas because the goods will soon be thrown on ice and shipped off to Manila and other destinations.

Note that some areas will have power only during limited times.

History of Carles Gigantes

In local lingo they like to refer to it as Islas de Gigantes, or “Islands of Giants” in Spanish. The islands had different names before but were renamed after giant bones were discovered in one of the caves. Gigante means “giant” in Spanish.

Gigantes North has a lighthouse built by the Spanish under colonial times, but in 2008 it was destroyed by a typhoon. The keeper’s house is still standing and guests can get there by motorcycle.


Folklore claims that, a long time ago, around the northeast seas of Iloilo, a giant was excitedly making preparations for his wedding. Guests had brought many gifts, but little did the giant know that his bride was taken away by pirates, hence she failed to make it to the ceremony. Angry that his bride-to-be ditched him, he threw all the presents into the sea before falling himself. These scattered offerings eventually became the Islands of the Giants. The giant’s body became Gigantes South while his bride became Gigantes North.

You can check out my own tour of the area here.


Explore the Philippines

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