There are places that tend to be overlooked in the Philippines. It’s either due to the popularity of other tourist attractions, or the place is just plain unheard of to the outside world. It’s unfortunate because places like Guimaras could use a lot more attention. From quiet and peaceful beaches to nigh incomparable sunsets, a weekend in this small island province surely does something to soothe the soul.
The island is only accessible through Iloilo City, so if one were to come from another city, a flight to Iloilo would be necessary. Pump boats are available at the pier in Iloilo. These makeshift, but sturdy boats can take one to the port of Jordan, or to the resort one desires.
There are also several unoccupied but beautiful coves that are suitable for a day picnic. From afar, the island is a green paradise, but up close, the marks of tourism and hasty development have sullied the place a little bit. One admits that taking a jeep through the roads of Guimaras isn’t going to be the highlight of your trip.
From Jordan (pronounced ‘hor-dan’), there are activities already available to you. During the Catholic Holy Week, a three-kilometer hike to Balaan Bukid will expose you to one of Guimaras’ most striking traditions, the Taltal. Enacted on Good Friday, the Taltal is a reenactment of the Stations of the Cross, ending in an actual crucifixion of a volunteer offering himself for redemption.
Of course, the volunteer is brought down when the ceremony is over. If a less gruesome affair is what you’re looking for, then a trip to the adventure park will be a fun enterprise. They offer paintball and rappelling, among other outdoor activities, and you can even camp overnight.
It’s a prospect for the more adventurous, physically inclined individual. While driving across Guimaras isn’t a pleasure, mountain bike enthusiasts will find more than a trail or two to suit their needs.
Guimaras is more renowned for its ability to provide a tranquil and stress-free vacation. Several resorts offer their services, but one of the best is the Valle Verde resort. It offers decent amenities and a good view of a beautiful cove. There is also a nice natural pool in the property where one can take a refreshing dip.
Whatever resort you end up in, however, one must try Guimaras’ most famous carabao mangoes. Known worldwide as having some of the sweetest quality mangoes, one shouldn’t hesitate to ask for some. Compared to places like Boracay, Guimaras’ beaches are also more endowed with marine life. This makes Guimaras a snorkeling paradise. Children will also have fun finding starfish, hermit crabs, and other sea creatures.
Gleaning on the #seagrasses is an activity which is an important source of food and income for residents in Nueva Valencia #Guimaras #PH . This video shows a gleaner catching siganids (the majority of which are still juveniles) that are hiding underneath the #seagrass canopy. pic.twitter.com/o7g8OS49Iu
— Philippine Seagrass Initiative (@SeagrassPinas) September 9, 2019
One warning about Guimaras, though, is very protective of its mangoes. They don’t allow mangoes from other places being brought in, so don’t bother. Also, one always experiences a mysterious scratch or wound after a Guimaras adventure.
The place is a lot rougher than your swanky world-renowned beaches, but it will ultimately be a more rewarding, soulful trip. While you’re here, read this awesome article on Laguna de Bay.