How Guimaras Gave Me An Unforgettable Side-Trip

February 23, 2015

Oftentimes, we plan for a perfect escapade and end up leaving the itinerary untouched and swift on a go-where-the-wind-blows adventure. That’s about a handful of trips I’ve been through, frustrating but more like exciting.

Guimaras Island is one of top-billed destination in the Western Visayas. And if you are going to some places in Panay or Antique via Iloilo City, chances are you’re going to experience a side-trip in the land of the sweetest mangoes on earth. From adventure trips to historical sites to white sand beaches, there are many amazing things this island can offer.

I only went there for a day trip, but I had one of the best moments of my life on that day.

14. Parades of Boats

Going to this island is super easy. Hop on a boat in Ortiz Wharf and cruise your way to Guimaras in about less than 45 minutes. I don’t know if others have noticed too, but the parade of boats coming back and forth Iloilo and Guimaras is just entertaining.

13. Museo de Guimaras

As a traveler, a visit in a local museum should be necessary. This museum houses some of the artifacts which maintained the anthropological patrimony of the province. It’s located near the capitol so there’s no reason not to get a glimpse of this site.

12. Guisi Lighthouse and Ruins

An 18th century Spanish “parola” ruin is one of the most sought-after tourist destination in Guimaras. Despite being the farthest from the point of embarkation, most of the people who travel here never miss to visit this place and that includes me. Trust me, you’ll know the reason why when you reach the top of the lighthouse.

11. Raymen Beach Resort

There are all sorts of beach resorts in this island, but Raymen Beach Resortremains to be the most popular among the locals and tourists alike. They have a very friendly resort staff and commendable customer service. You can coordinate with the staff if you want to go on island hopping and diving in nearby diving sites. In Raymen Beach Resort, each moment is worth every penny.

10. Turtle Island

This island got its moniker from the old turtle that nestled in here. This island might be small but it has amazing things to offer. Aside from the short stretch of powdery beige sand and sighting of turtles in here, you can actually go on a plus adventure mode and explore a small cave in this island.

9. The Mango Plantation

Lo and behold, for when you’ve stepped in the island of Guimaras, you have also entered the land of the sweetest mangoes on earth. You can never have the greatest side-trip in Guimaras if you haven’t gazed the vast mango plantations in the island, which is the major exporter of fresh and delicious mangoes in the world.

8. Camp Alfredo

If you’re looking for a place to meditate with a bit of adventure and a icy cold beer, then Camp Alfredo is the place for you. Located in a serene and peaceful area of the island, this adventure resort offers best of both worlds.

7. Pitstop

We all know Guimaras is so famous for their mangoes, right? How about you try dishes incorporated mango? Here at Pitstop, unleash the food junkie in you as you devour their famous mango pizza, mango chicken adobo, mango spaghetti, and mango pochero in a very reasonable price.

6. Philippine’s Smallest Park

Guimaras isn’t only popular as breeders of the sweetest mango on earth, but also as the home to the smallest park in the country.

5. Trappist Monastery

If one of your purposes of travelling in Guimaras is to get away from the hubbub of the city life, you are very much welcome to visit the Trappist Monastery in Brgy. San Miguel. Visit the prayer areas and tour the monastery ground. You may also talk with the monks and nuns, so you can get enlightening words of wisdom. Others come here for a quick visit, while some group of people spends a night or two here for a retreat.

4. Biking around the lone island province

With a much laid back ambience and quiet highways, the streets of Guimaras might be one of the best places for biking. Not just because it’s quiet and close to nature, but because it is definitely safe to bike here.

3. Balaan Bukid

In Visayan language, Balaan Bukid means Holy Mountain. This is a holy pilgrimage site with a shrine and a giant cross that sits on top of the highest peak in the island. Catholic devotees flock here during Holy Week to pay homage. This have been the first stop of my trip in Guimaras at it was just near Jordan Wharf.

2. Skyline view of Iloilo City

I think it would be fantastic to spend a sunset in Balaan Bukid and witness the spectacular view of Iloilo City on the mountain top. Such incredible scenery!

1. Meet the locals

I have come to fathom that travelling to a new place would be so much memorable when you spend time with the locals. I am very lucky to have spent an entire afternoon with the family and friends of my tour guide named Stephen and his brother, Kuya Cherald. The moment I spent with people whom I barely know but welcomed me with open arms was priceless.

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Albert Fernandez
Albert Fernandez, a registered nurse, is a backpacker by heart who enjoys putting his travel experiences into words.
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