OK, so I just want to give a shoutout and recommend staying at Jesa Gigantes Beach Resort, our resort of choice when we were at Gigantes Islands. I came knowing about Jesa Resort when I was researching for places to stay during the planning stage of our Gigantes trip. When googling about Gigantes Islands, I noticed that most of the arrangements made by other travel bloggers (even Drew Arellano on “Byahe ni Drew”) have been with Gigantes Hideaway Inn and Resort.
However, after stumbling across many blogs featuring Hideaway, I was discouraged with some of the comments of other bloggers or reviewers about their experiences at Hideaway. Feedback noted by some reviewers include poor location (beachfront filled with scallop shells, no sunset view in the afternoon, etc.), lack of cellular signal for any network (you have to go to this placed known as the “call center” to text or call loved ones) and other stuff (Google is your friend). With that information in mind, I began searching for alternative places of accommodation in Gigantes Norte. Enter Jesa Gigantes Beach Resort.
For a step-by-step guide on how to get to Gigantes Islands, click HERE.
1. Fast Communication with Approachable Owner
Before I began contacting Ms. Sally (Jesa’s owner), I was a bit skeptical on how fast she can reply given the notoriety of Gigantes being a signal-free place. To my surprise, she was very fast in replying to my queries via SMS and Facebook. It’s a good thing that she often travels to Iloilo and Estancia where she tends to her other businesses. That way, she keeps herself open for calls and texts.
There was also a time when she called me to explain the step by step instructions on how to get to Gigantes, the various amenities of the place and things to do at Gigantes (suggested itinerary). She didn’t have to, but she did anyways. Ms. Sally, if you’re reading this, a big thanks from Kaye and me!
2. Homey Ambience and Fresh Food
I won’t sugarcoat the type of rooms Jesa has in their resort. You won’t get a 3-star hotel room and butler service from Jesa. In short, rooms and amenities are basic. You have electricity running from 3PM to 11PM and generator by 11PM to 6AM. However, the thing that stands out is the homey ambience of the place. The serenity, peace and quiet that we got during our stay was very refreshing.
The staff is friendly and attentive. The cute cabana outside the rooms are also a breath of fresh air compared to the usual beach resort cottage offerings. You can opt to sit “Indian” style or use the wooden stools for that added rustic effect.
While you get 2G signals at the resort, there’s absolutely no internet on the island. No Wi-Fi, no 3G, no H+, no LTE, nada. Makes for a more relaxing atmosphere, honestly. No work emails and Facebook notifications to deal with.
And did I mention the fresh food? Seafood served at Jesa’s are from the day’s catch. Food doesn’t get any fresher than that. They also serve pork from time to time for a little variety. Jesa’s food offerings are also affordable. Breakfast is at P100.00/head while lunch and dinner cost P150.00/head.
3. Location, Location, Location
Jesa has a beachfront location and is just a few minutes away from the Langub port. Hideaway Inn, one of Jesa’s main competitors, is quite far from the port area and don’t enjoy the same beachfront location Jesa has. Other beachfront resorts next to Jesa are Arjan and Rejohn resorts.
Since the resort is facing the beach, you can get a glimpse of the awesome sunset given the right season and weather. You can also have a good gauge on the weather condition and the ferocity of ocean waves, which is handy for your island hopping plans and preparations.
4. Kuya Elmar: Tour Guide Extraordinaire
Kuya Elmar deserves a solo spot on my recommendations blog due to his sheer dedication in providing the best service to guests staying in Jesa. Not only was he our habal-habal driver and island hopping tour guide, he also served as our personal photographer which pretty much saved us the time and the hassle of taking photos and setting up our monopod and tripod.
If anything, I’d say Kuya Elmar is one trigger-happy photographer. He managed to battery-drain my RX100 during our island hopping tour (good thing we had a backup camera) And believe me when I say he will climb any steep cliff, any imposing boulder and even brave the waves just to get the perfect shot. Haha.
He’s also very knowledgeable about the islands, the history surrounding the places, the DOs and DONTs, when it’s safe to go or not, etc. He was very patient in answering all of our trivial questions about Gigantes. Another thing that we appreciated was that he didn’t rush to finish our island hopping tour as he made sure we take our sweet time in enjoying every spot Gigantes had to offer.
It also helps that aside from being fluent in Ilonggo and Tagalog, he also understands and speaks Bisaya. That’s +1 rapport for us BisDak tourists. Kudos, Kuya Elmar! Thanks for ensuring us that our boat will not capsize, despite the huge waves. 😀
That’s it for my mini promotion of Jesa Gigantes Beach Resort! In the interest of fairness, full disclosure ahead. I did NOT, by any means, receive any remuneration or discount from the owners that warranted me to make this blog post. I don’t operate that way. I just hope this helped you in your planning stages should you go to Gigantes Islands in the near future. Cheers! -rod-