Traveler On A Journey

Chase the Beach

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Decades ago before the beauty of the Islas de Gigantes in the Northeastern coast of the Panay Island was yet to be discovered by popularity lies a myth that was carried on and passed through oral communication from generations to generations.
The entry point going to the enchanting Tangke Salwater Pool safeguarded by
the Colossal Turtle-like rock formation.
This tale is sure to enchant anyone’s inquisitiveness and receive the authenticity of the myth while establishing its original form through folklores and traditions.
The legend tells about the story of the childless couple who endlessly asked for a child in a place called Punta Bulakawe in the town of Carles. The couple was blessed with a son who grew up too fast that all men were only as tall as his knees- the Giant was named Higante Tay-og who decided to remain his adolescence life in a mountain known as the Beheya Hill.

The folklore continues with Higante Tay-og falling in love with a woman that came from an unknown foreign land with her grandmother; the attractive lady was called Prinsesa Maganda. Later on, the two became lovers and was about to get married on a full moon. However, on the day of their wedding while Higante Tay-og was busy preparing at the top of the Beheya Hill, a sailboat carrying pirates came aboard, went to the shanty and grabbed the princess. The townsfolks engaged and battled the pirates with no success.  When Higante Tay-og came, one pirate planted an arrow to Prinsesa Maganda’s heart which eventually killed her.
Another rock formation with a carnivorous dinosaur image.
Higante Tay-og slowly brought the body of Prinsesa Maganda to his home. With sadness, and anger of what had happened, he picked up the wedding gifts, his stuff, and threw them one by one to the sea, these became the Islands of Gigantes. Then, he hacked himself into two which later became the Higante Norte and Higante Sur after kissing goodbye Prinsesa Maganda who eventually became the Island of Higantuna.

Remnants from these stories can also be followed by coffins found inside Bakwitan Cave that contained gigantic sets of human bones wherein the name Gigantes was derived during the Spanish colonial period. Gigantes was first called Sabuluag, or Salauag which is said to be the name of a species of tree endemic to the islands.

THE BEYOND BELIEF EXPERIENCE

“Look at your right side, that is Tangke’s location”, in non-verbatim, our guide pointed us the entry point of the enchanted Tangke Saltwater Pool.

It was past midday at exactly 1:18pm when we reached the vicinity after dipping the turquoise water and fine sand of the Tinagong Dagat (Hidden Beach) also known as Little Boracay. Passing through these colossal part of the Isla Gigantes Sur (South Gigantes Island) provided me a chance to encounter the immense charm of this part that is yet to been unveiled. Its concealed splendor captured the fascinated attention of everyone on the vessel, I couldn’t contain my enthrallment into a sentence at that moment and for an instant, the only word I was able to pronounce was “WOW”.

What was once a hidden part of the Gigantes Sur has now been uncovered by risk and exposure. Oral tradition says that this part was discovered by a local dweller who braved himself ascending to the rock-strewn, and unfamiliar territory while witnessing beyond belief the mysterious attraction, a natural pool or some sort that was later known as “Tangke”.

The name “tangke” which means a tank was coined by this local, a representation to the appearance comparable to a tank. Accordingly, when the tide is high, the seawater fills up the shape-like tank producing a hole within the rock’s borders that serves as its pillars. The result of this existence is the natural pool or others call it as a lagoon.

The acquaintance to this enchanting marvel should somehow be experienced by ourselves, however time did not permit us to do so, and an instruction was mandated by the local government for a temporary closure.

Meanwhile, as we continue our adventure, I was still enthralled by the natural existing karst rocks of steep, and vertical columns with lush flora and an avian species flying freely to the pillars that I hardly noticed the mending disenchantment of the Tangke’s familiarity. These sea stacks are said to be formed by the wind and water overtime, and is called the process of coastal geomorphology.

The force of the sea crashing against these rocks created spectacular forms that causes adventurers like me to interpret random images of light and shadow- a term known as Pareidolia. Then I noticed a Cavalier guarding the island boundaries, a turtle-like creature safeguarding the entry point of Tangke Saltwater Pool, a carnivorous dinosaur among others, or “the mythical Giant from the legend communicates to me through these cognitive phenomenon”, then I thought “these geological landform are absolutely breathtaking!”

A moment later, we found ourselves at the docking area with the welcoming warmth of the midday, traversing the tranquil seawater of the South Gigantes Island while sighting on a distant the “bapor-bapor”, the live rocks shaped like a ship and said to be the pirate’s vessel.


More photos at:
GETTING THERE:
Tangke Saltwater Pool was closed during our visit but according to the locals, the natural pool was opened to visitors last November 01, 2018. 

Tangke Salwater Pool is part of the official itinerary of the Islas de Gigantes Tour provided by Tour Operators.

NOTE:
Our Iloilo Trip was made possible by AirAsia Philippines, and part of its Iloilo Inaugural Flight from Cagayan de Oro City.

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