Travel Magazine

Guimaras Island In A Day

By Saicho18

I quite like Guimaras Island – not only because I’m a huge fan of the mangoes they produce, but also because of the general vibe the place gave off. I don’t think that it’s that big of a tourist destination as of yet — if the unpaved roads were any indication – which actually was a surprise, since getting into the island itself was a breeze.

We continued onto the ‘G’ part of our B-I-G adventure by waking up bright and early in Iloilo so we could catch the first boat out of Iloilo to Guimaras. Tours, transportation and accommodations were part of the package we availed from Zilbaher On The Go Tours so we were picked up from our hotel when we were ready and we our tour guide-slash-driver for in the island, Kuya Michael (0908 324 6835) met us in Ortiz Wharf.

Ortiz Wharf - Guimaras Island In A Day 2016
Ortiz Wharf, oh so clean

I think the fare for the boat was 14PHP per head. It wasn’t the most glamorous means of transportation but I was very much grateful for the open air – I seriously was worried that the hurling trick I did on the way to Siquijor would have a repeat.

Boat to Guimaras - Guimaras Island In A Day 2016

After signing a couple of logbooks at the local tourism registry, we were off. Our first stop was literally the Smallest Plaza I’ve ever seen. It wouldn’t have taken more than thirty paces to circle the whole thing. Apparently it once held the Guinness World record for the Smallest Plaza but then it got dethroned. I’m sure that the current record holder is nothing but a glorified shrine.

Smallest Plaza - Guimaras Island In A Day 2016

Next we visited the Holy Family Hills, which gave a nice panoramic view of the neighboring hilltops.

Holy Family Hills - Guimaras Island In A Day 2016

I may have misunderstood but Kuya Michael said that the property was donated to a group of priests who developed the place into a pilgrimage site for the religious during the Lenten Season. Huge sculptures of the Stations of the Cross littered the vast compound and I sort of shudder to think about the crowd that this places draws during the Holy Week. Kuya Michael said that the place literally gets jam-packed.

Holy Family Hills - Guimaras Island In A Day 2016

We then took a long drive to the town of San Lorenzo to check out the windmills. Did anybody know about these windmills? I had no idea! People in Luzon are going crazy over the ones in Bangui and there were hardly more than twenty functional ones in there. But Guimaras has almost thirty perfectly functioning windmills!

Windmills - Guimaras Island In A Day 2016

I loved that they were scattered all over the place and not just lined up neatly in a row – it made for a prettier picture, I think.

Windmills - Guimaras Island In A Day 2016
They’re owned by Guimelco (local electric company)

Since it was already past noon, we were driven back to Jordan to taste the infamous Mango Pizza of The Pitstop. The place was full of tourists, it was ridiculous.

The Pitsto- Guimaras Island In A Day 2016

Afterwards we were driven to one of the mango plantations where we saw the mango trees being treated so that the flowers would bloom faster. The plantation was government owned and the mangoes they produce were being exported to different parts of the world. Fun fact: it’s illegal to carry into Guimaras Island a mango sapling of any kind since they don’t want to risk contaminating their trees with a different kind.

Mango Trees - Guimaras Island In A Day 2016
Trivia: the trees are reproduced by grafting – so the mangoes taste the same since they come from one family of trees

We then made our way to The Trappist Abbey, which houses over twenty contemplative monks who do nothing but work and pray. Here we met Father Peter, the only monk allowed to interact with the visitors of the Abbey. We didn’t get any pictures with him, but he did give us his blessing for our safe travels. The Abbey also has a gift shop where the monks sell their products to tourists.

The Trappist Abbey - Guimaras Island In A Day 2016

Our last stop for the day was the Guisi Lighthouse in Nueva Valencia, which apparently was the second oldest lighthouse in the Philippines. The original lighthouse was already a rusty ruin that even I didn’t attempt to climb. We were lucky to have caught the place in the late afternoon sun – perfect for photos – and even luckier that Kuya Michael, who was more than happy to take loads of them, also had great talent in photography. If I were the sort of person who planned in advance their Facebook profile picture, I would’ve been ecstatic with my line up.

Guisi Lighthouse - Guimaras Island In A Day 2016
It provides a sort of a romantic backdrop, actually

Kuya Michael borrowed my camera and took photos of the surrounding structures. While he was busy doing that, we met Jim, an American expat who now lives in the island with his Filipina wife. He was visiting the lighthouse to take photos to send back home to his friends in the states.

Guisi Lighthouse - Guimaras Island In A Day 2016
Photos courtesy of Kuya Michael –

It was almost five o’clock when we checked into Raymen’s Resort in Alubihod beach and despite the late hour and our tiredness, we still managed to go for a dip in the beautiful but short stretch of sand. The water was cold but the waves were gentle and the sand was white and powdery.

Raymen's Beach Resort - Guimaras Island In A Day 2016

It was lights out right after dinner because we had to wake up early to go back to Iloilo and catch the ferry to Bacolod. Despite our short stay in Guimaras Island, it’s become one of my favorite places in the country.

Guimaras Island - Guimaras Island In A Day 2016

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