After two years, I’m back to traveling solo again. This time it’s in Iloilo. It was 4 AM when I prepared and went straight to the hotel lobby to wait for the van that will take me to Carles.
Then, after 3 hours of land travel, I found myself wandering at Bancal port. This is the jump-off area for our Gigantes Islands tour. I will join a group tour but I’m alone. Maybe I can just talk to fellow travelers there. If not, I can manage. I enjoy the solitude of being a solo traveler.
At 9 AM, our boat departed the port for the island-hopping. It was a huge boat carrying more than 20 people. The one sitting beside me was Ma’am Lyn, a balikbayan from the US. She was astounded to find out that I’m traveling solo. Her granddaughter immediately assumed that I was soul-searching. LOL! Why does everybody think that a solo traveler is lost and trying to find himself? I mean they have a point to think that, but definitely, not all are lost.
Lyn and I had a nice chat. I think she’s in her 50’s. She shared about her life in the US, and how she would want to explore the Philippines more. I felt her concern about me traveling alone, like a mother who wants to ask his son if he’s okay. Haha!
Then, she said something that hit me to the core. “I know you’re a good man. I’m a mother. I know a good one when I see one. It will be alright. ”
And I was like, What? Waaahhhh! How did you know that I’m going through something? I wanna cry and hug her. LOL! She’s such a caring person. She didn’t have to say those encouraging words because I’m okay.
After about an hour of travel, we’ve finally seen a glimpse of an island, with its prominent single coconut tree in the middle.
Pulupandan Island Experience
This is Pulupandan island, the first stop in our island-hopping tour. It’s just a small island about 25 square meters during high tide. It’s so tiny that you can explore the entire islet in less than 15 minutes. Once a refuge for many fisherfolks during bad weather is now a popular tourist destination. The beach is pristine with a little bit of white sand with a slight tint of yellow.
There are some small sari-sari stores in the middle of the island if you want to buy some drinks to cool down during the hot summer. Of course, everyone will notice the single tall coconut tree at the center. Our guide said that it used to be 2 coconut trees there but one was wiped out when typhoon Yolanda wreaked havoc in 2013.
It is usually compared to a couple who broke up. Wow ah. BOOK YOUR GIGANTES ISLANDS TOUR HERE
There’s a set of rocks on one side of the island which is a good spot for photo ops and to have a better view of the islet. I didn’t go there because there was a big crowd, and I didn’t have someone to take a picture of me just in case. So I just explored the beach and opt for some selfies.
When our guide saw me, he offered to take some photos. Of course!
Little did I know that he has the skills. He knows the best spots on the island and instructed me like a pro photographer. Look at his photos!
There’s nothing much to do on the island except for picture-taking and enjoying its beauty. So, that’s what I did. It’s so nice to be back to traveling, walking along the beach as if I’m part of the background video of a videoke machine. LOL!
Pulupandan is worth it, and it’s an awesome way to start our Isla de Gigantes tour.
How to get to Pulupandan Island
From Iloilo city, take a bus or van going to Bancal Port in Carles, Iloilo. It’s about 3 to 4 hours of travel time. Once you arrive in Bancal port, rent a boat going to Gigantes Islands. In one hour, you’ll arrive at Pulupandan Island.
Pulupunadan Island is part of the many places to explore on the Isla De Gigantes Tour. BOOK YOUR GIGANTES ISLANDS TOUR HERE