Guimaras is an island province in Philippines, located in the Western Visayas region. This wonder of nature is definitely one of my favorite island getaway spots. Although it is a province with a capital called Jordan and it a has a couple of ports and has more than 162 000 habitats, it still haven’t lost it’s natural beauty. Its remarkably beautiful scenery is unspoiled and the air is so fresh here due to the fact there are so many trees here. Guimaras could be described as a green island or even islands since the province consists not only of Guimaras Island, but also includes Inampulugan, Guiwanon (or Guiuanon), Panobolon, Natunga, Nadulao, and many minor surrounding islands.
If you want to explore the nature, feel the fresh breeze and just relax from the everyday rush, Guimaras is the perfect place for you. It’s so different from other parts of the Philippines, especially the crowded, always busy cities. You won’t meet a lot of people on the way, while roaming around by tricycle (a Filipino vehicle which is basically a motorbike with a sidecar) or having a relaxed bicycle ride.
Guimaras is famous for its mangoes. The Carabo mangoes of Guimaras are ranked as the sweetest fruit in the world by Guiness Book of World Records. They are so good that they are even served in the White House and Buckingham Palace. Mango plantations with the golden fruits are scattered all over the island. No wonder why there is a Manggahan Festival held every year to honor this delicious fruit.
As Guimaras is known for the best export-quality mangoes in Philippines, there is no surprise, they have a great variety of mango products, like mango jam; mango pickles; dried mangoes etc. Besides these traditional products you can also try a mango pizza in a small eatery called The Pitstop in the town along the main road. Mango and pizza, these two things seem incompatible, I know, but the truth is that mango pizza is extremely delicious. I forgot to mention that they even have mango ketchup to put on your pizza if you wish. You should try it with the mango shake! Well maybe latter, if you don’t want to get sick of the mangoes so soon.
Some of the highlights of Guimaras are many farms – orchards, bee farms, salt farms, and even aqua culture pond. I would recommend to visit “Guimaras Wonder’s Farm”. The property covers 6 hectares and is filled with abundant mango trees (600 altogether!), cucumber plants and other organically grown fruits and vegetables. The fruits and vegetables are organically grown, pesticide-free. This indeed wonderful farm is maintained by the hospitable owner Rose Griesser who will provide you with valuable information about healthy food. You can get there from Jordan port by tricycle. The rate is about 200 php, one-way.
Other place worth visiting in Guimaras is Balaan Bukid (Holy Mountain) which is a popular destination for local and foreign pilgrims every Lenten Season. From Jordan Wharf you can go to the foothill of Balaan Bukid by tricycle. There is a rocky road going up the hill. Along the way you’ll pass by the 14 Stations of the Cross and within about 20 minutes you’ll reach the top. At the top there is a small chapel, a Cross and a wonderful, panoramic view of Iloilo City which makes the climb totally worth it.
Other historical sites in Guimaras are Guisi Lighthouse (if you go there, check out the gorgeous Guisi Beach as well), MacArthurs’s Wharf, Punta Blanco Target Range (ruins), Camp Jossman Headquarters (ruins), Good Shepherd’s Fold Academy and Roca Encantada.
And of course beaches! Guimaras beaches are amazing and the best part is that most of them are natural and secluded! How about a great, sunny Robinson style day in a private beach all to yourselves? There are two options for the best beach day in Guimaras:
- Hire a boatman and spend a day doing island hopping – snorkel and explore beautiful corals, small, colorful fishes and other sea creatures like urchins and starfishes and hop off the boat every once in a while to relax and bask in the sun at on of the small, secluded white sand beaches;
- Go to a resort that has a private beach, where you can spend a relaxing day lounging in the hammock, drinking buko juice (coconut water) straight from the coconut and not worrying about anything. If you want to get to know the Filipino culture and experience a great hospitality I would recommend the native style Narai Resort owned by Agnes Tyrol.
As for accommodation in Guimaras, Valle Verde Mountain resort is highly recommended if you want to stay inland, up in the mountains. It is a simple, natural yet very beautiful native style resort among the green palm trees. It has a nice pool and gorgeous view from the lobby, especially for watching the sunset. Contact Persons: Ms. Luisa Gedalanga / Cristeta Galotera. Contact Nos.: 09187303446 / 09185940958 / 09215325660.
The truth is Guimaras doesn’t stop to surprise me. Every time I go there I find more and more amazing places. It’s like an open Pandora box. If you’re looking for a peaceful place for relaxation and maybe even meditation, then you should definitely aim for Guimaras. This place is still undiscovered by the masses (let’s hope it stays that way!). That’s why Guimaras is much more relaxing and calm than popular tourist destinations like Boracay.
For further information visit Guimaras official website.