Earlier this month I visited Guimaras as a side trip to our Iloilo City escapade. Well… it was not really an escapade but a reunion: to visit Don Domeng’s relatives for the first time since forever (fill you in soon). But since the island of Guimaras is only a 15 minute pump boat ride from a wharf in Iloilo, how can I say no? Plus thinking about the promise of endless mangoes just give me goosebumps!
First, a warning: Guimaras Island can only be reached by a boat (Php 14 per person). During this trip, I learned a very important aspect about myself: I HATE TRAVELING BY WATER! I know it is only a few minutes but my stomach clearly did not!
Some travel tips:
1. Before de-boating in the Guimaras wharf, check your pockets. Bringing mangoes in is forbidden!
2. There are tourism people in the wharf. Ask them where to go and how to go about it if you are clueless (just as I was) to explore Guimaras.
3. Guimaras is very rural (even more barriotic than my own) so it is best to hire a tricycle, which can seat seven people (about Php 600 for half a day, I think), to take you around the island and back. Don’t worry, the drivers are nice and they can be your personal tour guide! And oh, they drive fast too!
4. Visit the Trappist Abbey for a very monk-ish experience. The ambiance is like heaven. It is very quiet and the place has this totally spiritual feel to it. The setting somehow reminded me of Baguio, how cool it is and the trees that you see. Also do not forget to hit the Trappist Abbey gift shop for some very cool mango-infused pasalubong to bring home to your family and friends. There is also a fat cat inside the gift shop. It is furry, friendly, and fat (have I mentioned that before?).
5. In Camp Alfredo, there is a zip line that you can try. I was not able to do this because I have yet to recover from my skywalk and edge coaster experience from Cebu and because it also rained suddenly.
6. Have your photo taken at the once smallest plaza in the world! Guimaras once held the word record for this tiny plaza. I am not sure if they have been dethroned or what for now but the plaza is really cool.
7. Try to come to Guimaras during mango season. Obviously I was not able to taste the sweetest mangoes in the country because the season is far out but really don’t feel bad for me because I was able to sample processed ones from all the stuff I bought from the abbey.
8. Go to Raymen Resort in Alibuhod and sample some island hopping farm. I cannot say I enjoyed this activity personally but if you want to troop to the caves and meet some live Pawikan, go for it (Php 25 for entrance and Php 100 for the boat ride per person) Make sure to ask the boat men if the waters are calm to avoid sea sickness and to ensure you can come inside the caves safely.
9. Come to the Navalas Church to see the oldest and sole heritage church in Guimaras. I really did not see the church myself because I did not know about it prior to visiting the island but I found that this church of San Isidro is a real looker.
10. Don’t forget to bring slippers! The beaches are white sand and if you go boat riding, you might want to go barefoot too so you do not slide everywhere. I was wearing sneakers but after walking in the sand and coming down the boat, I was not able to put them back on because I was terribly sea sick!
Special thanks to Tita Nancy, Manong Port, Tita Janet, and Tito Totek 🙂