Carles, Iloilo

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North and South Gigante Islands, northern-most part of Carles
North and South Gigante Islands, northern-most part of Carles
Official seal of Carles
Nickname(s): True Alaska of the Philippines
Motto: (Hiligaynon) Timbo-ok Carles
Map of Iloilo with Carles highlighted
Map of Iloilo with Carles highlighted
Carles is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 11°34′N 123°08′E / 11.567°N 123.133°E / 11.567; 123.133Coordinates: 11°34′N 123°08′E / 11.567°N 123.133°E / 11.567; 123.133
Country Philippines
Region Western Visayas (Region VI)
Province Iloilo
Legislative district 5th district of Iloilo
Barangays 33
 • Mayor Siegfredo A. Betita
 • Total 104.05 km2 (40.17 sq mi)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 62,690
 • Density 600/km2 (1,600/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ZIP code 5019
Dialing code 33

Carles is a second class municipality in the province of Iloilo, Philippines. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 62,690 people.[3] It is famous in Panay island for its rich fishing grounds.


Sometime in 1846, Francisco Ariola, son of the datu from Jolo, together with his men, found themselves in the shores of Carles. He immediately organized the early settlers who later mingled with his men at Punta Bulakawe, a plateau just 330 meters north of the Poblacion (town proper). The settlers extended their clearing up the jungles and virgin lands for development. The Provincial Governor of Capiz commissioned Ariola to facilitate transportation of families recruited from Antique and Aklan. Soon afterwards, more settlers came. The Punta Bulakawe settlement, thus formed was included under the Pueblo de Pilar, Capiz.

Towards 1856, as the general clearing progressed, Francisco transferred Bulakawe to the lowland south of the settlement. The settlement was named BADIANG, which means "wild giant gabi variety" because of the abundance of this plant in the vicinity of the new site. As streets were laid out Ariola, caused the equal distribution of the home lots to settlers alongside the newly created streets. Some settlers however, built their homes near farms. This later led to the formation of other barrio settlements.

In January 1860, the leaders of the Barrio Badiang headed by Francisco Ariola went to Capiz to petition the provincial government to make Barrio Badiang a municipality. The governor denied the petition on the ground that Barrio Badiang was only newly created and was not yet capable of becoming a pueblo. Not discouraged by their first failure, the petitioners traveled for days to Iloilo City, to bring this petition to Governor Jose Maria Carles, a Spanish Governor. After studying the case, Governor Carles approved the petition and thus, Barrio Badiang became a "pueblo".

The jubilant people of Badiang, in gratitude to Governor Carles for his approval of this petition, presented another petition to change the name Badiang to Carles in honor of the Governor. This petition was approved and on July 1, 1862, Carles was inaugurated as a new Pueblo with Alenjandro Buaya as the first Gobernadorcillo del Pueblo made Carles.

On January 1, 1904, the Municipio de Carles was demoted from a status of a Barrio to the status of a Barrio Balasan. This incident disheartened some Carleseños who migrated to other towns and provinces. But among those who stayed on were the strong willed ones who struggled hard to make Carles an independent municipality. Headed by Casimiro Andrada, the Carles Separation Movement succeeded in getting the approval of the Carleseños petition for separation from Balasan on January 1, 1920. Federico A. Ramos was appointed as the first Municipal President of Carles. It was during the incumbency of Municipal President Enrico Ilanga that he title of the municipal head was changed to Municipal Mayor and continued to be such until today. [4]

Carles Leaders were not recognized by Local Government[edit]

Some of the Street names in the town of Carles are unfamiliar to the Carleseños, but most of the leaders who contributed efforts to reestablish said municipality have no street names in either corners of the town including Casimiro Andrada who headed the separation movement and philanthropist who donated his land for high school. Some Carleseños hope that the Local Government must do something to give those leaders honor and recognition in their efforts by making Carles a true Municipality. [5]


Carles is politically subdivided into 33 Barangays.

  • Abong
  • Alipata (Sicogon Island)
  • Asluman (Gigantes Norte)
  • Bancal
  • Barangcalan
  • Barosbos
  • Punta Batuanan
  • Binuluangan
  • Bito-on
  • Bolo
  • Buaya (Sicogon Island)
  • Buenavista
  • Isla De Cana
  • Cabilao Grande
  • Cabilao Pequeño
  • Cabuguana
  • Cawayan
  • Dayhagan
  • Gabi (Gigantes Sur)
  • Granada (Gigantes Norte)
  • Guinticgan
  • Lantangan (Gigantes Sur)
  • Manlot (Manlot Island)
  • Nalumsan
  • Pantalan
  • Poblacion
  • Punta (Bolocawe)
  • San Fernando (Sicogon Island)
  • Tabugon
  • Talingting
  • Tarong
  • Tinigban
  • Tupaz


Eighteen of Carles's barangays are spread out over fourteen islands and minor islets.[6] The islands under Carles's political jurisdiction are:

Presence of Ayala Land in Carles[edit]

Ayala Plans to develop Sicogon Island into a world- class tourist destination will soon push through after Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) and owners of the island forged a compromise agreement with residents opposing the project. In a simple ceremony on Nov. 8 2014, leaders of Federation of Sicogon Island Farmers and Fisherfolk Association (Fesiffa) signed the five- page agreement with the joint venture of ALI and Sicogon Development Corp. (Sideco). National Anti-Poverty Commission Secretary Joel Rocamora and Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. were among those who witnessed the signing. The agreement provides the 784 members of Fesiffa residential and agricultural land totaling 70 hectares on the island as well as livelihood and training programs amounting to at least P38 million. Another P76 million will be allocated for construction of amenities and other improvements in the relocation site. The residents, in turn, have agreed to withdraw their agrarian reform claims over 304 ha of land that is part of Sideco’s 810-ha property. Hundreds of families have earlier opted to transfer from Sicogon to a relocation site being developed by ALI in Barangay (village) Jolog in Estancia town. All the parties welcomed the signing of the agreement that ended more than a year of negotiations and heightened disputes between the residents and Sideco. “This is a milestone,” said Maria Corazon Dizon, ALI vice president and head of business development, commercial business group. Dizon said development work could start within the first quarter of next year with priority on building an airstrip. Raul Ramos, Fesiffa president, said they expected to be given priority in employment as stipulated in the agreement. Edgardo Sarrosa, Sideco president, said the project would boost tourism and the economy not only of northern Iloilo province but Western Visayas as well. He said they envisioned the island to be comparable with and even better than Boracay Island. Sideco has partnered with ALI to revive the island as a world-class destination that will include the construction of a five-star hotel, seaport and airport. The 1,160-ha island, part of Carles town, Iloilo, 146 km northeast of Iloilo City, was a top tourist destination in the 1970s because of its white beach even before Boracay Island drew worldwide attention.


Emerging Tourist Destination in Carles[edit]

The Gigantes Islands, also known as Islas de Gigantes or the islands of giants, is a remote group of islands located off the coast of Carles and Estancia towns in northeastern Iloilo, Philippines. It takes at least 5 hours to get there from Iloilo City. Those willing to go the “extra mile” can look forward to enjoying beautiful seascapes and a laid-back island lifestyle that Gigantes has to offer. The islands are blessed with pristine white sand beaches, bountiful fresh seafood, and jagged rock formations shrouded by mystical tales of locals. Despite the increase of tourist arrivals in recent years, Gigantes has retained its off-beat charm and remains relatively undeveloped compared to Boracay, Bohol and other mainstream Philippine destinations.

A visit to Gigantes is not complete without taking an island hopping tour to see its magnificent beaches and islands. It takes half a day at least to visit the main sites, which includes Cabugao Gamay Island, Tangke, Antonia Beach, Bantigue Island, and Pawikan Cave .

Gigantes is blessed with many white sand beaches and sandbars. The main islands, Gigantes Norte and Gigantes Sur, may have their own sandy beaches but the best ones can be found at Antonia, Cabugaw Gamay Island, and Bantigue, which can only be reached by boat from the resorts.

The islands are home to many caves hidden behind steep rock formations and cliffs. Many of these like Pawikan Cave have spacious caverns that can be easily explored. It is said that the islands got its name from over-sized coffins found inside Bakwitan Cave in Gigantes Norte that contained gigantic sets of human bones. Colonial lighthouse found at the northern shore of Gigantes Norte Island. Climbing to the top of the modern lighthouse that stands beside it affords a breathtaking view of the sea. A very steep rocky trail in Gigantes Sur leads to the top of the row of limestone cliffs that the locals call as the “Boulevard.” This high vantage point provides a 360 degree view of Gigantes group of islands and the Visayan sea.

You can look forward to cheap and fresh seafood in Gigantes, unofficially known as the scallops capital of the Philippines. The islands are also abundant in fish, squid, crabs, shrimp among other aquatic delights. Prices of seafood here and in Estancia are more affordable than the cities of Iloilo and Roxas, and definitely a lot cheaper than Manila or Boracay.


Disputed Claim Title: Alaska of the Philippines[edit]

Alaska is one of the richest source of Fish in the United States, it is declared as Fishing Capital of the United States. In the Philippines there is also an area where we can called the Alaska of the Philippines, how ever the Title has been disputed between two municipalities in the province of Iloilo, namely The Municipality of Carles, and the Municipality of Estancia.

Disputed Title[edit]

The title refers to the rich fishing ground called Alaska of the Philippines

Carles' water Territory[edit]

The said territory have lots of islands, some of this are Gigantes, Sicogon, Naburot and many more. The territory also have impressive marine resources because it lies in the Visayas Sea Triangle, an imaginary triangle extending from the province of Iloilo, Negros, Samar, Cebu and Masbate, which is also part the "Sulu-Sulaweisi Triangle" of the Sulu Sea and neighboring country of Indonesia, a large concentration of marine organisms can be found there, coupled with climate conditions support and a massive marine ecosystem, that is why this is a rich fishing ground in the Philippines.

Estancia's Claim[edit]

Estancia is a Municipality with its town proper located adjacent to the water territory of Carles, it has only two small islands and a small portion of water territory, but because of its location, and fishport, the said municipality is recognized by many as the Alaska of the Philippines.

Carles' Claim[edit]

Even though Estancia is recognized by many as the Alaska of the Philippines, but still Carles is the Fishing ground and deserves to be called the True Alaska of the Philippines.

Minority Opinion[edit]

Carles deserve to be called the Alaska of the Philippines because almost of the catches fish are from Carles, and brought only to Estancia, therefore Estancia can never be called Alaska, because it is not the Rich Fishing ground but only a marketplace of fish.

Majority Opinion[edit]

All fish brought to Estancia's Fishport are sold, and distributed. Estancia became famous for this because every time the people ask if where the fish came from, they answered from Estancia, thus Estancia remarked as the Alaska of the Philippines.

The Error[edit]

Even though the catch fish came from the fishport of Estancia, it does not mean Estancia is the Alaska of the Philippines, because, Fishport is different from Fishing ground. thus Estancia deserve to be called the Fishport capital of the Philippines and not Fishing ground of the Philippines referred to as " Alaska of the Philippines".



Population census of Carles
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 42,648 —    
1995 46,218 +1.52%
2000 53,404 +3.15%
2007 57,673 +1.07%
2010 62,690 +3.08%
Source: National Statistics Office[3]

Natural disasters[edit]

Typhoon Haiyan[edit]

Carles was heavily damaged by Typhoon Haiyan. Buildings were destroyed and more than 1,200 people were displaced by the storm.[10]


  1. ^ "Municipalities". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 20 February 2013. 
  2. ^ "Province: Iloilo". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 20 February 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010" (PDF). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 20 February 2013. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "The Carles of Today". Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Provincial board declares Iloilo under state of calamity

External links[edit]