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Saturday, February 23, 2013

IloIlo : Parola, Caving & Island Hopping

Our day 2 was packed with activities - Parola (lighthouse), Caving and Island Hopping. :)


First, we woke up at 5:30AM so we could visit the lighthouse. Locals call it Parola. We rented a motorbike for P60 each. Then if you want to tour the entire island, just add P40.

I am not a fan of lighthouses. I don't know... I just don't enjoy it. But what made my lighthouse experience exciting this time is we're able to climb up the top!

Our tour guide called the caretaker of the lighthouse for the keys and let us in! (we just gave the caretaker a tip before we left).

view from the top
view from the top

A little short before 7am, we're back to the Inn. We had quick breakfast then continued onto our second activity - CAVING!!!

A separate tour guide for this activity is a must for P200. There was a short briefing by the tour guide. Once we enter the cave, our direction is up. So that means the exit would be at the peak of the mountain. Cool!!

Expected completion time: 2 hours.

First part is a trek to the mouth of the cave. While nearing to the entrance, the trail becomes steeper making it difficult.

roots passing through the cave. 
The caving was a bit hard or was it just me?.. When I glanced at Bee, he seemed to be enjoying every bit of the experience. There was a point where we had to climb up and cling to the rocks. We also had to crawl through a small opening. Honestly, I'm not sure if a fat person can do this. Overall, I enjoyed our caving to the max! It was my first time and I survived!

Upon reaching the end of the cave, which is at the peak of the mountain, our tour guide congratulated us. He said there were groups who decided to back out when they were about to finish the leg. tsk tsk. We're the 62nd group to have survived!!! YEY!!!! And we completed the activity in 1 hour!

once we reached the end of the cave, the only way to get back is to go down. this is more difficult than climbing in the cave.
We went back to our Inn to prepare for the Island Hopping. Our call time was at 9AM.


First Stop. Cabugao Gamay

This is where the famous shot is taken. The caretaker let us climb the rock formation so we can have a photo of the famous view. They asked for a P50 tip, which is no problem at all. Our tourguide later on told us that the caretaker was happy for the tip because they can now buy rice. Awww.. this is one of advantages of travelling. Aside from seeing the places, loving the journey, it's also about helping the community.

Second Stop. SandBar

I really thought that sandbars won't impress me anymore after seeing the Snake Island in El Nido where a sandbar connects two islands. Surprisingly, this one in Gigantes is impressive (atleast for me!!) . It's amazing that the sandbar is situated from the mid part of the island stretching to as far as it can get.

Third Stop. Antonia Beach.

This is where we settled for our lunch. Since this island is privately owned, there is an Entrance Fee of P20. There is a sarisari store. Snorkeling can be done here but according to Bee, konte lang ang fish.

There is a cave. Unfortunately, we weren't able to see it. (Natulog kase ako after lunch)

We waited until 2PM, just in time for high tide. Our next stop is the lagoon and it requires a high tide so we can reach it.

rock formation in Antonia Beach
The lagoon or Tangke.

Our boat needs to be near the lagoon. If its low tide, we won't be able to reach it. Second, there's no other way to reach the lagoon than to place a wood board from the boat to the rocks. Third, the boatman and tourguide holds the board as we pass through it.......CAREFULLY and QUICKLY. Must keep our balance or else, a bed of water will catch us.

trying to get near the rocks
once the boat is in position, a wooden board is placed from the boat the the rock while they keep it still and balanced from the moving water. 
tadaaaahhh! the majestic lagoon.. the water is so clear you can see the bottom.
same process going back. 

That's the end of our island hopping!!

We enjoyed every island we visited (well except for Antonia Beach where I slept during the whole stay). But I can say, their islands are unique and can level up to the islands of other famous tourist spots.

Ilo-Ilo: How to Get to Isla Gigantes
IloIlo - Getting around the Island
IloIlo : Parola, Caving & Island Hopping
Iloilo : Itinerary & Expenses

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