Yay for Guimaras

Guimaras is a small island province in Western Visayas. And it’s most famous for its superb mangoes.

From Iloilo City, you can get to to Guimaras in just 10 minutes. Get to Ortiz Wharf/ Parola port where you can get into a boat that can take you to Jordan. Fare: 14 pesos. And no, I am not kidding.

Guimaras has sky blue waters and white sand beaches sans the crows. I was utterly happy with the peace and quiet throughout the trip.

Priority one: Chill by the beach! 

 

Last time I was on the beach, I was making the most of the time we have with Erika. Fast forward 6 months later, here I am on the beach. Hello bikini lines!

Island hopping tour! Due to the inclement weather, we could only go to two beaches. The waves were pretty strong and my heart was pretty much dying while the captain and Jade was totally NR. Bite me.

Turtle Island – Unfortunately there are no turtles to play with but it’s the perfect spot for snorkelling. Yay me for conquering my fear of the water.

Ave Maria Island – It’s actually a sand bar. Enjoy the white sand and the crystal clear blue waters.

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Go go for Mangoes!

You absolutely do not go to Iloilo and not buy the most delicious Guimaras Mangoes! Peak season is from March – April, these are the best time to visit because mangoes are abundant and they go really really cheap.

Pasalubong worthy: Mango Piyaya and Mango ketchup

You can buy pretty much anything that was made from mangoes. From pastillas, bars, tarts, barquillos and pizza. And yes, I’m not kidding. Go to Pitstop and have a taste of their mango pizza.

Note: Mango Ketchup (PHP 90), Mango Piyayas (PHP 50), Mango Biscocho (at Trappist Monastery is PHP 48), Mango Pizza is less than 300 (I forgot the exact price, oops!)

Enjoy the food

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Try their BAM-e and seafood dishes.

Tour around Guimaras Proper

There is a Land Tour package P1,200. There is a tourist assistance office at Jordan port that can help you arrange the tour you want. I suggest going here so you don’t have to haggle and that the driver/ vehicle that will be assigned to you is registered with them, so you’ll be totally safe.

*Note: The PHP 1,200 is the preferred price of tours. Drivers can’t ask more than 1,200. You can choose the places you want to be taken to. You can haggle for the price to be cheaper but it depends to the assigned driver if he would agree. From your resort, tricycle fare back to Jordan port is PHP 300.

Balaan Bukid Shrine

You’ll find 14 Stations of the Cross on your way to the top. The chapel at the top, the Shrine of Ave Purisma, is marked by a gigantic cross.

This was an unexpected work out. One, it’s not a bukid, it’s a freaking mountain. The tricycle we rented was only able to get us to the 6th station and we walked the rest of the way.

It’s not a scary trail because locals live along the trail, so if you think you’re getting lost, you’ll be able to ask someone for directions.

Holy Trinity Hills

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Another religious landmark which made me think that Jade is pretty much trying to turn me Catholic again. It’s 5 kilometers from the Balaan Bukid Shrine. There is no entrance fee but donations are welcome. The place is where you will see life size statues of the stations of the cross and a pergola in the middle with the Holy family’s statue.

Trappist Monastery

Guimaras houses the only male monastery in the country, the Trappist Monastery. The place was constructed in 1972. The monks that live here make the jams themselves and sell them. They also make all sorts of snacks and Filipino treats that are perfect for pasalubong. And since you get them from the source, they’re cheap.

Guisi Light House

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Surprise, it’s the ruins of the oldest light house in the Philippines. There is an entrance fee of 20 pesos and you’re free to roam around. From the place, we saw the Guisa beach which has the most  azure waters! Entrance fee to the beach is P10.

This place is the farthest, about 21 km from the town proper but definitely worth the visit.

 

Guimaras is not yet fully developed for tourists but that’s what makes it perfect. Experience the rawness sans all the people. Enjoy the peace, quiet and the mangoes!

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Itinerary

Day 1 Iloilo City

Day 2

Parola Port (Iloilo) – Jordan Port (Guimaras)

Land Tour: Balaan Bukid Shrine, Smallest Plaza, Holy Trinity Hills

Lunch at Pitstop

Land Tour: Mango Research Center, Trappist Monastery, Guisi Light House

Last stop of tour and drop off point: Alubihod Beach – Raymen Beach Resort

Day 3

Island Hopping – Ave Maria Island, Turtle Island

Day 4 and 5 Back to Iloilo City

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