Antonia Beach

Friendly fishes an experience at Isla Gigantes Iloilo

The stunning view of Antonia Beach from atop the rock formation.

The stunning view of Antonia Beach from atop the rock formation.

I saw a photo of Antonia Beach in my FB wall and fell in love with it. I have to visit that place, I told myself. For my xxth birthday, I traveled all the way to Isla Gigantes Iloilo and had the time of my life there. Solo. Alone. Enjoying the beach, sandbar and great food. And I frolicked with friendly fishes at Antonia Beach.

I hired a motorized outrigger boat for P2,000 and as we left Bantigue Island which has a great sandbar, my guide said, Papunta na po tayo ng Antonia Beach sir (We are heading to Antonia beach sir). I got excited. As we approached the beach, the beautiful rock formation at its tip mesmerized me that I kept on taking photos.

The white sand was just awesome, the water clear and pristine. As the boat anchored and docked, I sprung to the ground and was just beaming. I placed my things at the table, carried my camera bag and climbed the pile of rocks that, from a distance, looked like toppled slice bread loaf.

From the top I could well see the familiar view. From postcard pretty photo at my FB wall to reality. The scene was familiar. But being there was just marvelously different. Seeing photos on your screen can excite you, being actually there can heighten emotions. I felt and heard the wind. I can see the waves crashing to shore and the boats anchored off sea near the shoreline swaying.

It was already high noon and my guide brought in lunch of deep sea blue crabs steamed to a wonderful red and paired with (still) hot rice and grilled squid. I was famished. Hours frolicking and swimming at the sandbar was enough to make me hungry.

After having been sated, I ran to the beach, making a splash. The water was cool despite being a sunny day. I swam. I dived below. There were a few rocks and pieces of shells. As I was floating in the water, two then three then four fishes appeared. It has a flat body but disc like. My guide told me its bantaybutbut, a kind of fish that feeds on the flowery like corals.

It tried to get closer and at first, I enjoyed the attention. Tried shooing it away or grabbing the fishes. They just darted away then came back. as I extended my hand, there, it bit on my fingers. Because these were rather small, it wasn’t painful but tickling, like having a fish spa at the mall.

Anchor away! Approaching Antonia Beach in Isla Gigantes Sur

Anchor away! Approaching Antonia Beach in Isla Gigantes Sur

The longer strip of white sand of Antonia Beach

The longer strip of white sand of Antonia Beach

Rock formations here are stunning. As if a bunch of dominoes toppled over. Cabugao dako is at the background.

Rock formations here are stunning. As if a bunch of dominoes toppled over. Cabugao dako is at the background.

White sandy beach and the rented motorized outrigger boat that took me around Isla Gigantes

White sandy beach and the rented motorized outrigger boat that took me around Isla Gigantes

Pristine waters of Antonia Beach. Here, four fishes tried to be friendly only to try to nibble at my fingers.

Pristine waters of Antonia Beach. Here, four fishes tried to be friendly only to try to nibble at my fingers.

My table for lunch overlooking the beautiful emerald waters off Antonia Beach

My table for lunch overlooking the beautiful emerald waters off Antonia Beach

The damage wrought by Supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan) making its mark in the islands

The damage wrought by Supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan) making its mark in the islands

Deep sea blue crab for lunch turned red after cooking. It was paired with steamed rice and grilled squid!

Deep sea blue crab for lunch turned red after cooking. It was paired with steamed rice and grilled squid!

The beach’s caretaker charges P25 as docking fee.

Antonia Beach is part of a day tour around Isla Gigantes that goes from Bantigue Island, Cabugao Dako, Tangke Lagoon and, sometimes, to Tinagong Dagat. For solo travelers, the day tour is P2,000. One can arrange these trips at the resort where you will stay.

Isla de Gigantes is part of Carles. From Iloilo City, ride a bus bound for Concepcion where you can ride a motorized outrigger boat to the island.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

4 Comments

  1. Obscure White Sand Beaches You Should Check Out This Summer
    April 14, 2014 @ 13:37

    […] For more about Antonia beach, please go on over yonder. […]

  2. Stunning Isla Gigantes sandbar
    April 15, 2014 @ 21:44

    […] I can’t just have enough of it that, after a swim at Antonia’s Beach, got frustrated with Cabugao Dako and photographed sea snakes at the Tangke Lagoon, I told my guide […]

  3. Chu Li
    March 29, 2015 @ 1:36

    Would like to go to this place .can u give me more information how to get to this beach from Los angeles

  4. estan
    March 29, 2015 @ 6:04

    Chu Li, I updated the post to include directions. Please check the bottom part.

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