Guimaras Getaway: Trip Guide and Itinerary


On the Philippine map, Guimaras province is that mass of land with drops of islet on its southeast portion, sandwiched between Panay and Negros islands. It became one of the country's youngest provinces after its separation from the province of Iloilo in May 1992, thus an ideal part of the itinerary when visiting the City of Love.

Guimaras

There's more to Guimaras than being the soil where one of world's sweetest mangoes thrive. The island province boasts off remarkable man-made and natural wonders, and unique food finds that attracts every type of travelers. Here's a travel guide that might help you plan an overnight trip.


From Manila to Guimaras (via Iloilo)

Flight from Manila to Iloilo City takes about an hour. From Iloilo International Airport, opt to take either a taxi or van going to Ortiz Wharf where Guimaras bound passenger boats dock. Taxi loads up to four passengers at a standard rate of PHP 600 while shuttles can load up to 12 people for PHP 700. Travel time from the airport to wharf takes around 30-40 minutes.

Passenger boats in Ortiz Warf

Boat ride from Ortiz Wharf to Jordan municipality (Guimaras) costs PHP 14 and you'll be touching down in just around 15-20 minutes.


Where to Stay

From an array of lodgings in Guimaras, I chose Raymen Beach Resort because of a number of positive reviews about them.

Raymen Beach Resort. Guimaras

Raymen offer cheap room rates, white-sand beachfront, in-house restaurant, and island hopping package that won't burn a hole in the pocket. I contacted them before the trip and they reserved a family room for us. The air-conditioned room was spacious enough for eight people; it comes with 4 twin size beds, a compact fridge, bathroom with shower, a wardrobe and a wooden table for guests' extra things. The room is generally clean, air-con functions well, and water pressure on bathroom faucets were strong enough. It has the basic facility that a traveler needs. It costs PHP 2800 on a February (off-season).

Room Rates: Check here
Address: Sitio Alubihod, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras; 35 minutes from Jordan Wharf
Contact: (+63) 09185207271 / (+63) 09275605107 or book through this link

If Raymen Beach Resort didn't get your fancy, check other hotels and resorts at discounted rates here:



What to See, What to Do


Island Hop!

Alubihod Beach in Nueva Valencia serves as access point to some of Guimaras' islets. Raymen Beach Resort, one of the resorts along the stretch of Alubihod Beach, offers an island hopping package at an hourly rate. It includes 10 island destinations, some of which are plain sightseeing without a need to get off the boat. Some comes with an entrance fee while some are free. Island hopping usually lasts about 2-3 hours.

Baras Cave, Guimaras
 Approaching Baras Cave

Of those ten stops, we marveled at just three — SEAFDEC, Ave Maria Island, and Baras Cave — as we spent more time for snorkeling and skipped some of the islands with entrance fees so we could save some penny for our boatmen's gratuity, but enough for us to see the beauty of Guimaras off-shore.

Ave Maria Island, Guimaras
 Ave Maria Island's sandbar

Felt like I was back in primary school days when one of SEAFDEC's staff discussed the kinds of fishes they breed in their floating laboratory; they even let us feed some humongous bangus (milkfish) with our bare hands. Ave Maria Island's fine, white sandbar is short yet worth a snap. Fish feeding in the shallows is something to do around the sandbar's tip, but we opted to snorkel at the deep near the island. Baras Cave fascinated me with its exteriors and interiors that can only fit one small, uncovered boat. It reminded me of my trip in Palawan's underground river when some other boat got inside the cave. Entrance fees: PHP 30 (SEAFDEC); NONE (Ave Maria, Baras Cave)

SEAFDEC (Igang Marine Station), Guimaras
 Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center's (SEAFDEC's) floating laboratory

Other islands on Raymen's package include:
  • Fairy Castle (sightseeing) - features a castle-shaped rock formation; the nearest spot from Alubihod Beach
  • Turtle Island (PHP5/head) - a turtle sanctuary that we had to skip since there's no turtles anymore according to Raymen's staff
  • Baras Beach Resort (PHP 25/head) - that beach behind Baras Cave
  • Natago Beach Resort (PHP 50/head)
  • Solly Luna (sightseeing)
  • Isla Naburot (sightseeing)
  • Lamurawan Beach Resort (donation) - a pilgrimage site with an overlooking vista; you might want to include this on your itinerary

Island Hopping rates (exclusive of entrance fees):
  • 1-10 persons: PHP 500 for the first hour, PHP 150 per succeeding hours
  • 11-15 persons: PHP 700 for the first hour, PHP 200 per succeeding hours
  • 16-20 persons: PHP 1000 for the first hour, PHP 300 per succeeding hours

Roam Around Mainland

Since we're staying overnight in Guimaras, we needed to check in at our resort of choice before anything else. We're accommodated at the wharf by Michael Selorico who offered a drive to Raymen Beach Resort via his multicab at a rate of PHP 450, one way. Not bad for our group of eight. For smaller groups, tricycles that can load up to four (or five) passengers would do, usually around PHP 250, one-way.

We also tapped Kuya Michael's multicab service for our Guimaras land tour the next day at a rate of PHP 2000, site entrance fees not included. Tricycle tours, however, usually costs around PHP 1500. We visited the following spots:

Alubihod Beach, Guimaras
 Alubihod Beach

First off, since we stayed here overnight, Alubihod Beach! Day trippers usually drop by the beach to check its fine, creamy shores and dabble on its light green waters. Ask one of the resorts along Alubihod Beach on how much they charge day tour visitors. Address: Nueva Valencia, Guimaras; Entrance fee: Around PHP 20-30

Guisi Lighthouse, Guimaras
 Guisi Lighthouse in ruins

Guisi Lighthouse is the Philippines' second oldest lighthouse. First lighted up in 1894, it now lies in ruins. Address: Nueva Valencia, Guimaras; Entrance fee: PHP 20 per head

Trappist Monastery Abbey, Guimaras
 Trappist Abbey

Experienced some quietude at the abbey and an early pasalubong shopping at the Gift Shop of Trappist Monastery. Address: Brgy. San Miguel, Jordan, Guimaras; Entrance fee: NONE


San Lorenzo Wind Farm, Guimaras
 Windmills up close

Endured the jagged and dusty uphill drive to reach this viewing spot of San Lorenzo Wind Farm that offers a vista of rolling terrains and a continuous blow of howling winds. It's also the first time I saw an actual windmill. Address: San Lorenzo, Guimaras; Entrance fee: PHP 25

Mango Pizza at The Pitstop Restaurant, Guimaras
 Mango Pizza!

Had a hearty lunch with The Pitstop Restaurant's one-of-a-kind Mango Pizza and other Filipino cuisines with mango twist such as Mango Beef Bulalo and Adobo with a Twist. Try them out! Address: Old Site, Brgy. San Miguel, Jordan, Guimaras; Price starts: PHP 100; Contact: (033) 5812310; Facebook: The Pitstop Restaurant Main

RELATED STORY: The Pitstop Restaurant's Mango Twist Dishes

Guimaras Capitol
 Guimaras landmark in front of Guimaras Capitol Building

Who would pass up a snap at this huge selfie platform in front of Guimaras Capitol Building? We're not, certainly. Address: Jordan, Guimaras; Entrance fee: NONE

National Mango Research and Development Center, Guimaras
 Dramatic backdrop at Mango Research and Development Center

Even without those sweet yellow fruits, this row of mango trees at Mango Research and Development Center is still photogenic. Address: Brgy. San Miguel, Jordan, Guimaras; Entrance fee: NONE

Smallest Plaza, Guimaras
 Smallest Plaza

Though there's not much to do at the Smallest Plaza, the world record holder deserves a pit stop. Besides, it's located just along the way to Jordan port. Address: Jordan, Guimaras; Entrance fee: NONE

Other spots in Guimaras you might want your driving tour guide to bring you at: Roca Encantadia, Navalas Church, Camp Alfredo, Puerto del Mar Ecological Park, Daliran Cave and Museo de Guimaras.

Getting around Guimaras by land is done thru multicab, van or tricycle tours. It can be done the do-it-yourself way but I do not recommend it if Guimaras is new to you. Tourist spots are relatively far from each other. Visit Guimaras tourism booth at Jordan Wharf to check for the up to date standard tour rates.


Where to Take Home Some Pasalubong

There's a factory inside the vast compound of Trappist Monastery that manufactures sweet delights — jams and jellies, tarts, square cakes, barquillos, macaroons, etc.; it all comes in mango flavor (of course). These products were sold at their Gift Shop under the brand name Trappist Monastic Food Products. Other souvenirs include Guimaras shirts, religious items, key chains, and handcrafted bags, wallets and hats.

Trappist Monastic Food Products

If in season, Guimaras mangoes abound in public markets at a cheaper price. During our off-season visit last February, Raymen's Restaurant sells these mangoes at a staggering 280 per kilo; equivalent to just three or four pieces of it.


Pinoy Travelogue Itinerary: Unhurried 2-Day Guimaras Getaway

Day 1 - Arrival, Island Hopping, Beach Bum

  • 9:00 AM : Arrived in Jordan Wharf; breakfast
  • 10:00 AM : Visit Raymen Beach Resort for Island Hopping
  • 11:00 AM : Start of island hopping
  • 2:00 PM : Check in, late lunch at Raymen's Restaurant
  • 3:00 PM : Free time, enjoy Alubihod Beach
  • 7:00 PM : Dinner
  • 8:00 PM : Cap off the day (with a beer by the beach); best part of my day in Guimaras!

Day 2 - Guimaras Land Tour, Back to Iloilo
  • 8:00 AM : Resort check-out
  • 8:30 AM : Start tour
  • 11:30 PM : Lunch at The Pitstop Restaurant
  • 12:30 PM : Continue tour
  • 2:00 PM : End of Guimaras Land Tour, back to Iloilo
  • 3:00 PM : Visit some spots and try some eats in Iloilo City (try visiting Museo de Iloilo if on a weekday)

RELATED TRAVELOGUE: A Glimpse of Iloilo


0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Powered by Blogger.