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 along side the new created streets. Some settlers however, built their homes near farms. This later led to the formation of other barrio settlements.
On 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 Casimero Andrada, the Carles Separation Movement succeeded in getting the approval of he 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.
Carles is known around the country as one of the center for commercial fishing, so much so that it carries the name Alaska of the Philippines as a testament to its location bountiful marine resources. The reason for this is that Carles lies in the Visayan Sea triangle, an imaginary triangle extending from the provinces of Iloilo, Negros, Cebu, Samar, and Masbate. This triangle is a part of the "Sulu-Sulaweisi Triangle" of the Sulu Sea and neighboring Indonesia where a large concentration of marine organisms coupled with climate conditions support a massive marine ecosystem. Various commercial species are harvested along Carles' waters, namely mackerel, barracuda, sardines, shad, pompano, grouper, squid, cuttlefish, shrimp, prawns, shells, seaweed and others, these all are catches from Carles' water territory.
By air - Iloilo International Airport (IATA: ILO) serves the city of Iloilo as well as the province of Iloilo. It receives flights from Manila, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Davao city, General Santos, Tacloban, Puerto Princesa, Singapore and Hongkong and is served by three airlines; Air Asia, Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines.
Sicogon Airstrip (IATA: ICO) There are inland roads that connect Brgy. Buaya to the other parts of the island. This narrow mix of concrete and gravel/dirt road is passable, at most, to single motorcycles.
Along the road to Brgy. San Fernando is an airstrip, which was frequently used to transport affluent guests to Sicogon Island Resort. Light aircrafts can still land at the airport, although, ground navigation facilities are lacking. The Sicogon Island Airport (IATA code: ICO) runway is 1 kilometer (3,281 feet) in length and is spread over the even land northwest of Mt. Opao.
By sea - Pumboats are used for transversing the water between the Islands of Carles and Its Mainland with Estancia.
Bancal port is the gateway to Gigantes Islands.
By land-Arriving in Iloilo City by taxi from airport in Cabatuan,Iloilo, proceed to Ceres Bus Terminal in Jaro (then look for a bus going Carles) or first take a sight-seeing tour in the city. Deposit heavy lugguges in SM lounge, SM City Manduriao.
Hired Motorcycle: The most common type transport vehicle in town.
Jeepneys: Dubbed the Unofficial national transport system, it's an automobile, with some resemblance to a Jeep vehicle, that has long leather benches for people to sit on. Carles Jeepneys' travels from Balasan to Carles and vice versa daily.
Tri-Sikads or Tri-Cycles: Cycles mean motor bike while sikad means a manual bike. It's the method of transportation for small, tight roads in poblacion and the outskirts of the town. It can be more expensive than the Jeepneys.
Sitio Barosbos, Barangay Asluman, Gigantes Norte, Carles, Iloilo - The area is identified by the National Museum (as per letter of Wilfredo P. Ronquillo, Chief, Archeology division dated October 1997 which was addressed to Hon. Arthur Defensor) as an archeological site, due to the discovery of abundant archaeological material, notably earthenware ceramics that were dated somewhere between ca. 500 B.C. up to A.D. 500. Natural Attractions
Approximately an hour and half pump boat ride from Barangay Bancal, mainland of Carles, one can take pleasure watching the long stretch of white coastline of Barangay Buaya, Sicogon Island lined by coconut trees forming a refreshing divide between the lush forest and the blue waters. The view is really a continuous tapestry of scenic beauty. Formerly the site of Sicogon Beach Resort Club House, the are still accepts tourists/excursions who would like to have the taste of its tranquil beaches. Fronting the white sand beach of Barangay Buaya is Tumaquin island known for its aura of fantasy. This uninhabited island has crystal clear waters and creamy beach. Identified as a potential scuba diving site, it holds the elusive qualities of undersea world.
Trekking farther on the north east of Barangay Buaya, approximately two kilometers, in the majestic Mt. Opao, the pride of Sicogon Island. Standing at the top, one can have a breathtaking view of the island and the neighboring islands. Its forested slopes are acclaimed to be the haven of wild boars, bald eagles, pitcher plant and various species of flora and fauna. The whole of Sicogon Island depends on a water system by natural spring coming from Mount Opao. Beyond sunlight horizons and 15.376 nautical miles of sea from Barangay Bancal await dreamers and adventures a world of soothing island vista distinct of the enchanted Gigantes Islands and its islets.
A tableau of granite monoliths, both the Gigantes Norte and Gigantes Sur are like imposing facades of time and wind carved stone mammoths with forested slopes. Some rocks are balanced in impossible ways, tipped up on their small ends, wedged in suspension between two walls, teetering a top each other seemingly poised for disaster. Like ancient monuments lost in green luxuriance, these remote islands promise hidden coves with chronicled features. Known for historical discoveries and abundant archaeological materials, Sitio Barosbos, Barangay Asluman, Gigantes Norte, possess a locale endowed with an image of ideal "tame and comforting" nature. With its austere beauty, mythical and enigmatic, one will surely have an enjoyable a sojourn.
Just half a kilometer walk westward, on the jagged coastline of Sitio Barosbos reveals another breathtaking scene of shifting sand and sea, crag and coast which remained unmarred. Situated beneath the foot of a seemingly impregnable fortress is Langub Cave, Sitio Langub, Barangay Granada, Gigante Norte. With residents eager to narrate the enchanted fairy tales, one could not resist being drawn into the vortex of another world, world of the famed Golden Ship and a generous cave. The Golden Ship is said to be the royal inter island carrier of the unseen friends while the cave is said to be a storehouse of regale wardrobe and utensils ready for lending to those with the intent of returning them after use. Approximately a fifteen (15) minute pump-boat-ride east Sitio Langub could bring one to the famous and ever sought hidden lagoon, locally known as Tanque/Tangke. This lagoon located on the southern side of Barangay Gabi, Gigante Sur is best accessed via a climb on the steep rocky wall that serves as the lagoon’s fortress from any intrusion. The climb from the pump boat docked alongside the wall is shorter and easier once done on a high tide. The rocky borders of the lagoon still offer spelunkers and trekkers a greater number of caves with one-of-a-kind stone formations. Barangay Lantangan, Gigante Sur is another site of archaeological finds of the same kind as those found in Barangay Asluman. A view from the pump boat ride along the coast of the barangay could tell one of the potentials of the beaches for development, a long sandy white stretch with a canopy of coconut groves for a real cool shade.
Strewn in the blue sea nearby and adjacent to the bigger islands of Gigantes Norte and Gigantes Sur are the Gigantillo, Gigantona, Bulubadiang, Batigue, Cabugao Daku and Cabugao Gamay Islets with "a last place on earth" beauty. Carefully thought of as the Isles of sanctuary and solitude these granite islets offer as unusual combination of undersea environments, coral reefs and marine rock formation. In the fading light of day, these islets form a frame of rugged, wave lashed "under a magic spell" promontories.
Balbagon Island, Barangay Lantangan Gigantes Sur - Sailing west, approximately twenty minutes pump-boat-ride from Barangay Lantangan is the famous Coral Cay Beach Resort. Its creamy beach fanned by coconut palms and crystalline waters is prize for solitude seekers and daydreams. The enchantment of the place lies in its tranquil settings.
Naburot Island, Barangay Buenavista - This ovoid shaped island located east off the northern tip of the mainland is also a potential for development. The island which is midway from the mainland to Balbagon (Coral Cay Resort) is located at 11 degrees 35.5’ latitude and 123 degrees 11.5’ longitude is blessed with a long stretch of white sandy beach on the south-eastern side, with a thicket of mangroves to provide shade. The strip is luckily unpopulated which could be a plus factor for a real private respite. The northern portion of the island could give a welcome anchor for large vessels since it is just adjacent to the navigation canal.
Sitio Cambalatong, Barangay Bancal - The strip, which is located on the northeastern side of the mainland, is also blessed with white sandy beach and is easily accessible by land via Bancal, which is also its mother barangay. The area, per plan of the developer who has also purchased Naborot Island, Barangay Buenavista is he jump off point for the latter. Once completed it could also provide a welcome stopover for the sojourn. For the moment, however, the place is already a favorite haven for picnickers and swimmers.
Barangay Punta - An area at the northern end of the beach located at Sitio Cambalatong, Barangay Bancal is actually part of Barangay Punta. Its uneven yet gentle natural elevation can be compared to man made, contoured slopes of a first class golf course. Currently it offers a real haven for picnickers and swimmers courtesy of the famous Andrada Beach Resort. The place could really offer the silence and the comfort that city or urban dwellers crave. It is one real place away from the doldrums and the humdrum of the city, a place for a communion with nature.
Sitio Luyo, Barangay Poblacion - Sitio Luyo, Barangay Poblacion is home to Betita Beach Park, a slightly elevated area overlooking Pilar Bay. One can have a chance to watch the beautiful sunset, Carles edition via this property which is also open to the public for occupancy. Wandering further north along the white sand beach is an idyllic village, a typical fisher folk community. Barangay Barosbos - home to a line of beach resorts most amicable to family gatherings. It has a long stretch of white sand shoreline with an offshore area which is generally a flat seabed which gives a feeling of security for parents on watch over kids enjoying time in the waters. In the fading light of sunset, viewing of various gaily painted boats rested on the white sand can be a glowing experience.
Barangay Guinticgan and Barangay Dayhagan - Waiting to be developed are the two adjacent barangays with creamy texture of white sand shoreline. It possess the same features as the beaches of Barangay Barosbos. Aside from these, the area is secluded.
Summertime for the people of Carles means a time for festivities. Aside from a dip on the cool waters of Carles, one will have the best of times during barangay fiesta celebration where fluvial parade is a common tradition among residents of the coastal areas. During this festivities, gambling matches where bets are made in a raucous frenzy are famed regale to those who are fond of raising trained roosters.
Isla de Gigantes in Carles dubbed as Scallops Capital of the Philippines that's why scallops in Carles are cheap and fresh from the sea.
Carles is more than the seafood capital of the Philippines, as some seafoods can only be found here such as wasay-wasay a creamy sweet shell.
The Kabayan or Elite Barangay Police are always deployed in every big event, such as Tay-og sa Bancal a battle of the sound during February 11 and Carles Municipal Fiesta every October 15.
Most of the areas in Carles have COMPAC or Community Police Assistance Center.