Carles, Iloilo: An Idyllic Escape to Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn
Escape – the driving force behind the utmost desire to travel faraway to withdraw ourselves from the rigors of the daily grind, the usual, the fast-paced system, our stressful routines – we want something different. Traveling for a week now to far flung quiet towns then instantly coping back into the hustle and bustle of the busy city was slightly hard to immediately endure. And so I fled to Panay Island‘s northeastern-most town, an island where the hands of time seemingly ticks seconds behind. I seek refuge in Carles, Iloilo‘s remote Islas de Gigantes in a place called Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn.
Where Is Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn
A warm cup of coffee sprinkled with genuine hospitality goodness to welcome your arrival from a tedious journey was unmistakably a good sign that I was at my exact destination. Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn can be found in Sitio Hayahay of Baranggay Asluman, a tiny village squeezed in between the open sea and Gigantes Norte’s massive rocky mountains. In some Philippine dialects (that I heard of), “hayahay” translates to “relax”, and therefore, I was at the right place, the right time, with the right people.
Cottages primarily used sawali, bamboo, nipa and wood for construction materials and accented by ornaments made from locally available raw materials like seashells. The native touch brings out a laid-back ambiance which makes amplifies even more the rural hayahay lifestyle. But on top of it all (literally), the one which caught my eye was the lovely tree house majestically perched atop an old balete tree. When I saw it, I found my temporary abode.
Arranging Tours & Getting Guides
Worry not about your itineraries, the numerous destinations, and what to eat – visitors, both groups and individuals, are assigned with trained local guides who make sure guests would make the most out of their vacation. These handpicked guides also accompany visitors all throughout the adventure and address their needs during their stay. Filipinos are known to be hospitable, and in Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn they give a strong definition to classic Pinoy trait called “hospitality”. Did I mention they also serve good food in hefty servings? Write that down.
Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn also serves as the perfect jump off point to Islas de Gigantes prime attractions from the pristine islands to unexplored caves perfect for intrepid travelers seeking for a constant dose of adventure. Having a pleasant atmosphere (and delicious food) to return to after a long day of exhausting activities eases the weariness and recharges you for more adventures up ahead.
Each one differs in their own ideas of an absolute getaway. While some would prefer kicking it back on penthouse floors sipping on top-shelf wines, others love roughing it up, camping on places far from the rapidly creeping urbanization. Regardless, the idea of detaching ourselves from what we normally do, what we normally see, on a day-to-day basis rejuvenates our worn out souls so tired from the routines of the daily grind. So relax, my friend. You deserve a break. Everyone deserve a break and this is my ideal type of escape, what’s yours?
Some fast facts that may help you on the trip:
1. I heard on the news that Carles, Iloilo was also damaged by the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda. I hope everyone is safe and well.
2. Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn is located at Sitio Hayahay, Baranggay Asluman, Gigantes Norte, Carles, Iloilo.
3. Commuting directions to Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn: Buses and vans coming from both Tagbak Terminal in Jaro District of Iloilo City, Iloilo (3-4 hours) and bus terminal in Roxas City, Capiz (1.5-2 hours) have daily trips to Estancia. From the bus terminal in Estancia, take a tricycle to Estancia Port (10-15 minutes). Take a passenger boat (St. Michael) bound for Gigantes Norte which leaves around 2:00 PM, so be there before 2 (alternatively, you could hire a private boat which would take you directly to the resort). Travel time is around 2-3 hours. From the port in Gigantes Norte, take a habal-habal (single motorcycle) to the resort.
4. Contact Carles Tourism Officer and resort owner Joel Decano (0918 468 50 06) for further inquires, reservations, and bookings. If he’s phone is out of reach, he’s probably in the island, but keep on trying, he might be back in Carles or Estancia.
5. Thus, there is no phone signal in the island.
6. Gigantes Hideaway Tourist Inn charges P200.00 per person a night while food ranges from P75.00 – P150.00 per person a meal.
7. I was overwhelmed with the hefty serving of dinner on my first night, I have to ask my guide, Kuya Oyet, to lessen the serving for me. I can’t finish it. So please don’t be mislead by the food photos.
8. Your assigned guide will not only take you to the destinations but will also assist you during your stay in the resort. A generous tip for their hospitality, kindness, and service is gladly appreciated.
6. This is the seventh post on my two-week long backpacking journey in Panay Island and Guimaras. Next stop would still be in Gigantes Norte, but this time we’ll dwell more on the nearby destinations first.
7. More Iloilo destinations.
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11. Happy travels and be safe.