What was once an unchartered territory has now been unveiled. Islas de Gigantes of Carles has wowed adventurous souls and inspired others to take the journey to the northernmost part of Iloilo.
Part of any Isla Gigantes itinerary or tour packages will always be the enchanting Tangke. Much has been written about this popular attraction in Islas de Gigantes but what is it like?
I have read different blogs myself about Tangke and I think none has described it exactly. Well, it’s part of the challenge and the reward of actually visiting the place but some information are missed yet vital for you to really enjoy Tangke, prompting me to write this post.
For sure you have read that Tangke is a saltwater lagoon but I personally don’t consider it as a lagoon. I have Googled the description but I’m no expert to categorize if Tangke is a lagoon or not.
Tangke means ” tank” named by the locals because there is a “gap” among the big boulders(?) forming an opening. You can see this opening because it is where your boat will anchor. From that opening, water from the sea goes inside, thus filling up the “tank”.
If you ask me, I consider it as a natural pool. A big enchanting pool. Therefore, sometimes the water inside Tangke is shallow and can even dry up.
Some tourists also get dismayed because Tangke is smaller that they thought. That’s what you get when you keep the phrase “Tangke saltwater lagoon” playing inside your head. You have an idea that is is a very wide area but it’s not.
When is the best time to go?
The best to go to Tangke and Isla Gigantes is during the summer months – April to May. Unfortunately, it is also its peak season. You can’t enjoy Tangke that much if there are many people swimming with you. It is supposed to be a very silent place, almost like a sanctuary.
If you want to skip summer and the crowd, make sure that you also avoid the habagat months. Water can be treacherous in Isla Gigantes. Safety first.
You must go to Tangke during high tide. Local guides know this. If they insist you have to finish your selfies and photo takings to proceed to Tangke, please follow. Unlike most visitors, we visited Isla Gigantes via Carles and I thought we will leave our things first in our accommodation, but our guide informed us, we have to be there while it is still high tide.
And true, we had a beautiful scene in front of us. “Timing kaayo ta ma’am. Naka abot pa ta sa high tide”. Yes, locals also speak Cebuano.
Beautiful. Not me but Tangke. 😉
What should you expect?
As you can see from my photo and as mentioned above, it is not that big. It took me a little while to really feel that enchanting charateristic of this place as described in blogs -the Tangke that many have been endorsing.
Luckily, we had Tangke for ourselves. I love slow travel . You can’t rush me. I need to smell the air when visiting a place. I took my time to feel the whole environment, looking at the high cliffs, spotting some birds. My guide told me sometimes, they can see monkeys. And that makes Tangke and the rest of Isla Gigantes very unique, especially for me because it seems like I’ve been thrown to a different place, but I only traveled 3-4 hours from my own home.
After I have watched the natural pool below, I have to swim. But yeah, I was not properly dressed but I have to. There are steps made for visitors to safely descend to the water. My first reaction? Water is freezing!!
How I wish I could have dipped my whole body but I was wearing cropped pants ( I thought I had a chance to change before we go island hopping) and we still need to cover other destinations for my Isla Gigantes travel assignment. Travel writing is not really that indulging. Not complaining just saying.
My guide was very encouraging to wade and explore the place. I saw a small school of fish and a lonely blue crab. And it was really freezing. I had to get out. Plus, the serenity of the place transformed into something eerie because I was alone in the pool. Blame it to the stories of fairies and encantos I read from blogs. On top of that, my guide also told me before I dipped of one visitor got possessed because she was so loud.
What else to do in Tangke?
After swimming inside Tangke, your guide may ask you to go cliff diving -just outside Tangke, facing the open sea. Of course I didn’t do it. I can’t even swim.
A funny anecdote is that my guide once asked a visitor to jump. At first, the visitor was hesitant but the guide was assuring and the visitor did jump. That visitor turned out to be Jessica Soho. 🙂