It was my third trip to Nogas Island. Even though my last trip was only a few weeks ago, I craved to go back because I forgot to bring a snorkel mask and didn’t get to see its underwater charms.

This time, I teamed up with two travel buddies: Aleah and Regine. I traveled with Regine from Iloilo and met Aleah after we had arrived in Anini-y town proper. Aleah traveled from San Jose that day.

We had a sublime time snorkeling. The coral garden was one of the best I had seen in Panay. There were lots of huge multi-colored corals, fish, and other sea critters including a lion fish, giant brain corals, a small school of squid, etc.

It was the first time that I had swum in deep waters after having taken an interest in free diving. So, the trip was very memorable for me. The crystalline waters of Nogas was perfect free diving practice!

After snorkeling, we decided to circumnavigate the island. I talked them into doing it because the tide was unusually low and I told them that the island was very tiny… tiny enough for an easy short trek. Little did we know, the coast went on and on past mangrove patches and rocky coasts for more than an hour’s trek.

We were concerned with the time since we also needed to be back to the mainland to catch the last trip of the bus back to the city. We were told earlier that the last trip should pass Sira-an at around 5pm to 5:30pm.

We made it to Sira-an at 5:15pm and, thankfully, the bus passed by the highway around 6pm. Made it!

Itinerary Rundown

Day 1
  • Iloilo
  • Anini-y, Antique
  • Iloilo to Anini-y Antique
  • Nogas Island Day Trip
    • Hike to Lighthouse and Picnic Lunch
    • Snorkeling
    • Hike around the Island

Trip Date — September 2014

Itinerary Notes & Tips

Iloilo to Anini-y

  • 7:45am – Arrival at Molo Terminal (for Antique-bound shuttle vans and Ceres buses) in Molo District, Iloilo City. The frequency of shuttle vans was a few trips per day (only in the morning) and highly irregular. We decided to ride the Ceres bus instead. Next scheduled departure was supposedly 9am.
  • 8ish – Board Ceres non-aircon bus. Wait for departure.
  • 9:20am to 11:30am – Ride bus from Iloilo to Anini-y via Ceres Liner (Two hours) – P96 (non-aircon)
    • 9:20am – Departure from Molo Terminal
    • 11:30am – Arrival at Anini-y Town Plaza

Arrival in Anini-y

  • Buy take away for picnic lunch and provisions at Merlinda’s Eatery (near town plaza) – P50 per serving for mains
    • I’ve eaten two times at Merlinda and their food was always delicious. This time, we really enjoyed their valenciana and chicken lollipop.
  • Ride tricycle to Sira-an Hot Springs – P9
    • One of our travel buddies left her big backpack at Sira-an Hot Springs
  • Ride chartered pumpboat from Sira-an to Nogas Island (20 minutes) – P500 round trip charter (paid later after the return trip)
    • Stopover at The Dive Shop to rent snorkel masks – P100 per mask (whole day).
  • Arrival at Nogas Island
    • Arranged pickup at 5pm
  • Picnic Lunch at the open beach huts
  • Follow trail to Lighthouse and big Balete Tree
    • Attempted to climb the big Balete Tree but there were too many spiders blocking the way up.
  • 2 to 3pm – Snorkeling at the coral garden in front of the beach facing the mainland
    • We just walked/swam our way to the coral garden, which was around 200 meters away from the shoreline. It surrounded the turquoise-hued patches of sea. There a lot of fish, huge lively corals, and other sea critters. Better bring beach shoes because the way getting to the corals was too rocky.
  • 3 to 4:15pm – Trek around the island
    • It was unusually low tide during our visit, which was why we got the idea of circumnavigating the island on foot. The island was not as tiny as we first thought. At the back of the island, were patches of mangrove forests and rocky coves. It would take around 1.5 to 2 hours for a leisurely trek.
  • 4:15pm – Ride pumpboat to Sira-an Hot Springs. Freshen up at Sira-an

Anini-y to Iloilo

  • 5:20pm – Started to wait along the highway for the last trip of the bus back to Iloilo City
  • 6:13pm – Ceres bus passed by. It was already dark.
  • Ride bus from Anini-y to Iloilo City (2 hours)
  • 8:15pm – Arrival in Iloilo City