A Paradise called Carles


Be where the birds fly higher and where the sun shines brighter… grab your sandals and head to Carles.


Carles, Iloilo 2010  

Carles is located at the northernmost part of the province of Iloilo in the Philippines. It is  literally unexplored territory even for the locals. It is blessed with incredible natural beauty – white sand beaches, amazing rock formations, and diverse marine life. Each island has a different character from another. It never ceases to amaze ones senses. The travel time (3.5 hour bus ride & 1 hour boat ride) is well worth the trip.

If taking a bus, it is best to stay for the night as the last bus trip for Iloilo City is at 3pm. Take a Leganes-bound jeepney and get off at Tagbak Terminal in Jaro. Ceres Liner has regular trips to Carles starting from 330am and every one and a half/two hours thereafter. Be sure to check the schedule ahead of time. If bringing your own vehicle, a one day island-hopping tour is possible. Do not pass up Tangke Lagoon, Antonia Island, and Bantigue Island.

Swim in the clear and inviting shallow waters of Tangke Lagoon in Isla de Gigantes Sur amidst the imposing limestone cliffs. Although you will not see one because they would immediately hide at the first sign of incoming visitors. Monkeys inhabit the  small crevices of the cliff.


Tangke Lagoon 2010


Tangke Lagoon


Be in awe with the rock formations at Antonia Island. The island is idyllic and pristine. There are just two small residential houses in the island. There are no resorts. It is the perfect place to laze around.


Antonia Island 2010


Antonia Island


Run the whole stretch of Bantigue Island‘s shifting sandbar. There are also no resorts here. So, unless you know someone who lives in the  small fishing village situated in the island, your only option is to stay in one of the resorts in the mainland.  During high tide, shallow water partly covering the sand bar is a magnificent sight to behold and a wonderful place to wade in.


Bantigue Island 2010


Bantigue Island


The Municipality of Carles is unique in that most of its barangays are located in the islands. Hence, you will never run out of islands to explore. All resorts are situated in the mainland. The best time to visit is during the summer months when the waves are not too big. A trip is not complete without pasalubongs (gifts) to bring home. Fresh bay-ad (a mollusk), a close cousin of kapis or lampirong, can be bought at Php 20/plastic bag. To view more pictures of Carles, click here.



Mr. Jungie Pamplona
Planning, Mayor’s Office
(please leave a message here so that I can refer you to him)


Bus fare: non-aircon Php 178 each way/head; aircon Php 185 each way/head
Boat Rental: approx. Php 2000 (capacity: 8 persons)





~ by Happy Sole on April 7, 2010.

78 Responses to “A Paradise called Carles”

  1. Amazing photos–I cannot imagine seeing a place like that in-person.

  2. good thing, you made it to the dashboard. =)
    i actually, haven’t heard of this place and it’s quite intriguing. thanks for sharing this. cheers!

  3. This place is a perfect for ‘Survivor’ (that reality tv show. Kinda reminds me of a place in Camarines Sur.

  4. Slamdunk, seeing the birds on the way to the islands was like seeing a rainbow after a storm. Carles is amazing in photographs as well as in person.

    The place is not popular with tourists yet, Jen. Going there is like experiencing nature at its finest.

    Patet, there are more islands in Carles that seasoned travelers have yet to discover. If you are referring to Caramoan, i think one thing that Carles has in common with the former is that they are remote. This just goes to show that indeed “Distance leads enchantement to the view.”

    thanks for dropping by & leaving a comment, guys! Happy travelin’! 🙂

  5. What a beautiful walk by the sea. Since I live on Mayne Island, British Columbia Canada I regularly stroll along trails by the sea. Yet as you say every island is different. We recently visited the nearby island of Saturna which has more of the remote beauty you have captured here… though not so much heavenly sand and that beautiful blue-green. Lovely, just lovely!

    • you are lucky to be living close to the sea. though every island is different, they are all a grand spectacle to behold. your paintings are amazing! all the best!

  6. Oh what a paradise! Lovely pictures.

  7. I love love love your Carles escapade! Ilo-ilo has a lot to offer really =0

  8. wow! the place is amazing! i never thought that it is located here in the Philippines. it’s my first time actually to hear it and yeah, i am amazed. i will be looking forward to see that spot soon. Can’t wait to visit Carles.

  9. Indeed pictures are beautiful but I’m more amazed with the fact that some people can visit this kind of place and write about it without any hesitation. I haven’t yet met a explorer like this person in my life.

  10. amazing!! Can’t wait to be there in the summer !!

  11. The images make me want to close my eyes and put myself in that paradise. The time it takes to reach it tells one it is an unknown treasure.

    All the best – Maxi

  12. PARADISE!!

  13. looks very nice and peaceful!

  14. Thanks for sharing.

    Few of the pics does remind of my native, Udupi in coastal India. The pics look amazing and not a soul in it. Wonder how many people were there when you visited the island!!

    • Rohit, there were no other tourists around. the locals were quite surprised by our visit. =) it is not often that tourists come by their island. even so, they were quite accomodating.

  15. Beautiful, I want to run away there.

  16. Looks beautiful!

    My only tropical vacations have been to the Caribbean. How does that area compare?

    • you are lucky to have been able to wade in the waters of the Carribean. i haven’t been there so i wouldn’t really know how it compares, but when people asked me about the place, I compared it with the Carribean Islands. =)

  17. Your images are very nice, and I especially like the images with the never-ending horizon.
    What camera(s) do you use, and which program(s) do you use for editing?


  18. Awesome photos!

  19. i was invited thrice to go there but missed it. i’ve heard a lot of interesting and amazing stories about the island. i can’t wait for the next invite…

  20. we’re scheduling for the next long holiday so we could have enough time to explore the place…

  21. […] It also has some of the most idyllic and pristine white sand beaches. Grab your sandals and head to Carles and Concepcion in the northern part of the province. If you yearn for the island party mood, […]

  22. Amazing! I never knew that such place can be found in Iloilo. My province is in Aklan, I’m just a bus ride away from Iloilo. I took note of this, I hope I get the chance to visit this. =)

  23. Looks great!

  24. […] on from the shore. This was the scene that bid us farewell as we left the island of Antonia in Carles in the province of […]

  25. hi there… wow, it’s breathtaking, i luv it… parang kulang tuloy ung vacay ko dyan by nov… pg nasa concepcion ako, how will i get there to carles??? and how much ung fare, sa boat and ung tulogan…. tnx… God bless!!!

    • hello! the locals suggests going there during the summer months when the waves are not too big. the rate for the boat rental when we went there was Php 2k, but it can accomodate up to 8 persons. our whole trip lasted just for 1 day, so i really cannot recommend a particular place to stay. there are plenty of resorts along the highway, so accomodation will not be a problem. i’m not sure if there is a direct transportation from concepcion to carles, but maybe you can charter a jeepney to go there instead.

  26. i’ve been there, and i’ve personally seen the spectacular views of carles… it is really something you should look forward to. Something worth spending your money, time and effort, plus, you get to take home the unforgettable memories of a splendid island vacation. Kudos for Carles!

    • yes, it is definitely in my favorite list. 🙂 it was an experience of a lifetime considering that we went there with just a vague idea of where to go. love carles!

  27. I love your adventure! You talked about contacts. I heard a lot about this place but I don’t know how to go – I would prefer traveling there with a guide. Any names you can recommend and their contact info? THANKS!

  28. Hey! I’m going to carles and trying to find a bangka for a one day tour. Did you just hire a driver from the pier, or did you book with someone in advance?

    • it is better if you already have someone waiting for you at the pier.. we had difficulty finding one because all the boatmen were already out in the sea fishing for the day.

      but if you are not in a hurry, try to pass by the Municipal Hall and ask for help. I hear they allow tourists/visitors to rent the town-owned boats for a minimum fee (to pay for gas used). we weren’t able to try this because it was election period when we visited.

      i’ll try to contact Mr. Pamplona, the town’s planning officer, and see if he can give me a contact number for a boatman.

  29. Me and my friends are planning to have a vacation here in Carles specifically we want to see tangke, but you said that there is no resort in the place. can i just ask, what resorts or hotels are near in the place?

    • Hi Sherry, the resorts are all located near the town proper. I can’t give you a specific name, unfortunately, because we didn’t stay overnight. Rest assured, there are a number of them located along the highway on the way to Carles town. If you have more questions, ill be happy to help. Enjoy!

  30. is their available restaurant,hotel or pension house in the island?

  31. What’s the best time to go there in Isla Gigantes? Do we need to go at 3 in the morning?

    • i would recommend taking the 1st bus trip. yes, at 3am. that way, you can arrive and start early. remember that when you arrive at Carles town proper, you will need another hour for the boat ride to Isla de Gigantes. you also get to enjoy the boat ride and the island when the sun is not scorching hot. this applies, whether you plan to do just a day trip or stay overnight. dont forget, last bus trip back to iloilo city is at 3pm.

      i hope this helps! if you have anymore questions, just shoot me another comment here. Enjoy!

  32. wow, carles is such a beautiful place in Iloilo but its quite far… almost 4 hours trip to reach the islands… how do you arrange those trip to the islands? The threat of visiting the place is its distance, any list of places to stay in carles? Nice pics as well.

    • the trick is arriving at the port early before all the fishermen head out to the ocean. 🙂 it is also best if you already have prior arrangements. there are a number of resorts that line the coast. we didn’t stay for the night, so I cannot really give a name. sorry.

      what’s 4 hours for such a beautiful and refreshing place?

      • so you opted to take the night departure from Iloilo to Carles, arrive in the morning just in time for the island tour… do you have prior arrangement or contact for boatmen before going there? I would like to do a side trip here when we visit Iloilo in the future.

  33. hi ian!

    we drove going to/from carles, so we were able to do the day trip. we didn’t have to rush to catch the last bus schedule. we didn’t have prior arrangement with a boatman. not something I would recommend for you or anyone else. it is difficult to look for boatmen late in the day. you have to realize that their main livelihood is fishing. tourism is not yet mainstream idea.

    Since you will be taking the bus, it is best that you stay overnight in one of the resorts there to make prior arrangements directly with a boatman (from the port) or through the help of the local tourism officer at the Municipal Hall and start early with your island hopping adventure.

    let me know how else i can help.

  34. hi! nice pics 🙂 can i have the number of your contact? well be going on to carles to see the gigantes islands by october, thank you 🙂

    • hi! my contact doesnt want his number published here. let me know when you have definite plans so that I can make arrangements with him for you. if you prefer, you can also try to pass by the Municipal Hall (provided it is a weekday). I hear they allow tourists/visitors to borrow the town-owned boats for a minimum fee (to pay for gas used).

  35. thanks for the reply 🙂 il let you know in october when we are going there, thank you 🙂 carles is blessed with beautiful beaches,luckily they are still unspoiled..

  36. Fantastic information, lets hope it remains a secret!

  37. I’ll make this a project for this first quarter. 🙂 Looks like a great destination!

  38. […] A Paradise Called Carles […]

  39. Reblogged this on wanhandredwan and commented:
    Enchanting and Mystical Carles!

  40. Hi, my brother and I will go to Iloilo this Aug 21. We initially planned on just going to Guimaras but after coming across info on Carles I changed my mind 🙂 How can I get the contact details of your contact there?

  41. can you please refer me to the owner of the resort? i am jether palma from TOPH, Inc. – makati po, here’s my number po 0905-7987-482, thanks po

  42. hi. my hubby and i are planning to have a vacation at antonia beach. i just wanna ask if they have room accommodation in that beach? nice pics u have..thanks!

    • Hello! Unfortunately (fortunately from another perspective), there is no resort on the island. You will need to stay at the mainland and go on day trips at the outlying islands including Antonia if you wish. I am not entirely sure if it’s allowed, but perhaps you can set up camp on the island. Only local villagers inhabit it.

  43. hi to all, ive been to gigantes last april 2012, paradise indeed, theres a resort in that island already owned by joel decano, tourism officer of isla gigantes, from the city of iloilo you take a 3-4 hours bus going to estancia (jump off point to isla gigantes) then a 1 hour passenger boat would take you to gigantes island, food is sooo cheap available in the resort mostly seafoods, it costs us like 900+ php for our 4 nights 5 days full board meals, accomodation is 250 per head per night, boating costs 2000 php and u can visit like 5-8 islands, i love antonia, cabugao and the tangke! just contact joel decano he will provide everything for you.. 09184685006

  44. hi guys if you are planning to visit islas higantes.you can drop by in our place before going to the islands, we offer accommodations, food and drinks and also island package tour. we are situated near Bancal port(walking distance) Carles, Iloilo. the boat ride will just take you 45min to 1hr going to islas de higantes. check our page. thank you. 🙂

  45. Is there any monsoon in gigantes on 30/9/13?

    can we take a taxi from airport to carles?
    How much it cost?

    • hello!

      Rainy season in the Philippines start in June and peaks in July to September. If you’re lucky, even if it’s rainy season already, you could still be blessed with sunny weather. It’s really hard to say.

      Carles is about 3 hours away from Iloilo City/airport. Although, taking the taxi is possible, this could be very expensive. You can try to arrange to rent a vehicle – but i’m not sure how much that will set you back.

      Good luck! Let me know if you have more questions…

  46. We want to go there this coming May1-3 but unfortunately i have contacted mostly all the resorts such as hideaway inn, rosewood, arjan, ray john, jesa, las marias all are fully book. Where can we stay dis holiday weekend in carles iloilo?Cn u find us any resort where we can stay and have island hopping among thetusist spots in the place…please email me.thank you

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