Saturday, October 13, 2012

Exploring Guimaras for 3D/2N - The City of Golden Mangoes

How to reach Guimaras from Iloilo

According to Discover Guimaras, "Iloilo city is the gateway to Guimaras". From Iloilo airport, we took the airport shuttle to SM Mandurriao (30 minutes with no traffic) and then rode a cab towards Parola Wharf (10-15 minutes). From Parola Wharf, we rode a pumpboat that was bound for the City of Golden Mangoes. The boat trip only took 15 minutes.

Jordan Wharf

Guimaras 101: First things first!

When you get to Jordan Wharf, make sure that you visit the Tourism Information Center first. Try not to avail the services of any random tricycle driver just yet. That would have to be one of our mistakes, since we instantly snagged a deal -- P250 for any destination drop-off. In our case, we were bound for Nueva Valencia, where the famous Raymen Beach Resort was located. 

We later on found out that the rate that we got was far beyond the actual price. I was already set with P250 since I confirmed it from several Iloilo blog posts that I read from online. But according to a friend (an Iloilo local who frequents Guimaras), the regular rate would usually just go around P150-200 only via tricycle. 

Our tricycle ride from Jordan Wharf to Nueva Valencia took exactly 45 minutes. 

What to do on the island

Rubel and I were actually on an unfortunate streak since we also didn't like the lodging where we initially booked. We stayed at Alobijod Cove for one night before transferring to Raymen Beach Resort the next day. Our reasons for changing accommodations can be read on another post.

Alobijod Cove

Anyway, when you're finally in Guimaras, specifically in the Nueva Valencia area, make sure to book a city tour during your stay. In our case, we made a deal with the same tricycle driver to take us around the province for P1,000. He said that the Tourism Center offered such for P1,200. But he was only offering it for 1k, so we took his offer yet again. 

We later on found out from our Ilongga friend that she could always get the same tours for just P800. I felt a little bad after finding out. Then again, I could only blame myself for not making enough time to do any further research, as my work really kept me busy prior to our trip happening.

Anyway, we had our city tour on our second day. And since we were playing tango with the sun (it kept raining our whole stay in Guimaras and Iloilo), we were only able to leave Raymen's at 10 am. It was sunny during the day, cool even. But when it hit 12 noon, the rain started to pour. It drizzled continuously throughout the afternoon. 

Raymen Beach Resort

Must-see in Buenavista: Navalas Church and Roca Encantada

So what was our first stop? From Nueva Valencia, we headed out to the north part of the island -- to Buenavista. The tricycle ride took an hour before reaching the oldest church in Guimaras -- Navalas Church. The edifice is said to be the oldest existing Roman Catholic church in the province (built during the 1800's).

Navalas Church, Buenavista

Also, should you need to take a potty break, there's a resort (with a public comfort room) called El Retiro Beach Park that you can easily access after visiting Navalas. It's just 5-minutes away from the church. 

El Retiro Beach Park, Beachfront

And if you feel like seeing a mansion that's built on top of a rock, then there's always ROCA ENCANTADA (enchanted rock) nearby. It's been said to be the summer house of the Lopez Clan. A heritage house, the mansion was also built to honor the late Doña Presentacion Hofilena Lopez. An entrance fee of P50/pax can be purchased from El Retiro.

You can also take some really nice photos from Roca Encantada's rooftop area, since the famous 'Siete Pecados' can also be seen from the mansion.

Roca Encantada, Buenavista

Must-see in Jordan: Trappist Monastery and the 'Smallest Plaza' in the Philippines

It was already past 12 in the afternoon when we reached the famed Trappist Monastery. We just finished praying at the abbey church to Our Lady of the Philippines when it started  to rain heavily. It was a good thing though since we had a nice chat with a real Trappist Monk -- Brother Peter. But after sending my prayer request and bidding the good monk farewell, Rubel and I proceeded towards their souvenir store, to get/buy our much needed Mango-fix (we bought butterscotch and otap products that were made with real Guimaras mangoes!)

Abbey church of Our Lady of the Philippines, Jordan

Now, aside from actual mango fruits (can be purchased from the market only), you can buy your packed pasalubong from the monastery store.

Trappist Monastery Mango Products

The 'Smallest Plaza' can also be seen in Guimaras. According to our tour guide, this would have to be the smallest plaza in the world. The statue that sits in the middle, after that short plight of stairs is actually Dr. Jose Rizal.

According to Guinness, this plaza is said to be the 'smallest' one in the world.

Must-see in Nueva Valencia: Guisi Lighthouse (Ruins) and Raymen Beach Resort

The trip from Trappist Monastery to Guisi Lighthouse was a tough one since the rain didn't stop. We literally had that 'wet and wild' look after stepping out of the tricycle because the vehicle itself had no plastic cover to shield us from the heavy downpour. But Rubel and I were on full gear, so we really didn't mind getting drenched. Anyhow, the trip took us about an hour's worth of bumpy and slippery roads. 

Note: There's an entrance fee of P20/pax.

The slippery slope towards the Guisi Lighthouse

The rain stopped when we got to Guisi. But the slippery slope towards the lighthouse was another challenge for both Rubel and I. Even our aqua shoes couldn't find the necessary grip to hold us firmly on the ground. But through our slow and careful steps, we finally got to the summit. The Guisi Lighthouse was a sight to behold! It would have to be the very highlight of our day tour.


When we got to the lighthouse, the caretaker instantly took our photos. I even followed him all the way up the rusty and scary looking lighthouse, just to see a better view of  the famous Guisi beach. The climb up was excruciating since I had a fear of heights. But I was happy to have conquered that fear right after reaching the top.

After visiting the lighthouse, our driver drove us back to Raymen Beach Resort. On our way back, we were able to make one last stopover by Igang to take a picture of their ship-inspired plaza.

MV Doña Damiana Villanueva, Igang's Plaza

Anyway, Raymen Beach Resort is actually the most famous amongst all the other resorts by Alubihod. It offers lots of rooms and cottages for very reasonable rates. Other than that, the resort also has its own cafeteria and souvenir shop. Raymen also offers its own island hopping tours. But we had to skip that one since the weather wasn't that pleasant for sailing.

What/Where to eat

We only got to eat in three places while in Guimaras: Alobijod Cove, Raymen Beach Resort and Galvez Kainan (a carenderia) by Jordan.

Should you stay at Alobijod Cove, try ordering their grilled pork and crab & corn soup. Their food servings are hefty and can surely feed 2-3 people. I surely loved what we ordered from them. We just didn't like the 45-minute cooking/serving/waiting time -- to think we were the only customers there.


Should you stay at Raymen's Beach Resort, make sure to try their breakfast meals. I really loved their Tapsilog and Mango shake.


You can try the food at Galvez Kainan, should you find yourself in Jordan. The carenderia is just right across Landbank and the Provincial Capitol. Then again, there's really nothing fancy in Galvez Kainan. But I did however try this 'kangkong' like vegetable  (called Takway) that I paired with my Adobong Pusit. It was a bit sour. But it complemented my main viand.


Trivia-Trivia!

Did you know where Guimaras' name came from? According to an online source, Guimaras' name originated from the word "himal-us". It was what the local inhabitants called the province during the pre-Spanish period.

Street-smart tips

You only have two options if you're looking for a ride out of Iloilo airport -- via cab or shuttle van. If you're in a hurry, you can always opt for the cabs. But those are usually offered for a fixed price of P500. But if you have time to spare, go for the shuttle vans that are bound for SM Mandurriao. You will only be charged P50. From SM, you can already take a metered taxi to Ortiz or Parola Wharf. Your fare should only cost you less than P100.

Anyway, here's our TRAVEL EXPENSE SHEET to help you budget your finances, especially if you're planning a trip to Guimaras soon.

How about you? Have you been to Guimaras? Care to share your own experience/s while on the island? :)

Explore & Be Free!
Mai

87 comments:

pinoychocophile said...

such beauty of the country... a place I would like to visit Guimaras with their wonderful and famous mango!

Donald Pagulong said...

Guimaras is indeed a Paradise. Matamis na mga manga, yummy foods pa and syempre lots of cool sites to explore. So sure, you have a fun stay there.

Trisha Kue U ♚ said...

Nice trivia, photos, and descriptions for each.. I'm sure you had a lot of fun. ;)

Ricky Bernardino said...

Next time I go to Ilo-ilo I will surely go to Guimaras and I will refer to your blog again when I do that =)

Sky Summer said...

Grabe yung fighting spirit nyo ni Rubel, nde natinag. Kung kami nyan, we rather stay in the hotel and wait for the rain to cease. Pero sayang din yung time if ever lalo na hectic yung travel sched nyo. I bet mas nag enjoy kayo sa stay nyo sa Raymen kay sa Alobijod.

Franc Ramon said...

That's a packed tour in Guimaras and there's indeed a lot of places to visit in Guimaras. It's also a new info for me about the smallest plaza.

R.O.M.E.L.O. said...

okay yung picture ng beach... wala masyadong tao... yung lighthouse mukhang delikado ng pasukin ah...

The City Roamer said...

ganda talaga ng Pilipinas. I will buy the real mangoes when I get there... okay lang kaya dalhin pabalik sa manila?

Jonathan Diesta said...

Guimaras is a place popular for its mangoes. I love to visit that place someday...

Pal Raine said...

Guimaras land of Mangoes. Love to visit the place.

www.blissfulguro.com said...

hi mai! we too didn't get to try the island hopping tour because of the weather and that's one of the reasons i wanna come back - and also the guisi beach! :)

Algene said...

I've never been to this place! Hope makapunta kami dito ni mommy :)

Rachel Paras said...

i think that more people like you should blog a lot more about tourists spots in the Philippines, it is really more fun in the Philippines

Mai_Flores said...

That's what I've been doing, Rachel. :)

Mai_Flores said...

When did you last visit? :)

Mai_Flores said...

Okay naman po. :) If I remember correctly, bawal lang po maglabas ng buto ng mangga. :)

Mai_Flores said...

Mukha lang, pero pwede pa naman. The steps felt sturdy pa naman. I went up kasi.

Mai_Flores said...

Me too! I was actually surprised when the tour guide told us about it.

Mai_Flores said...

Ay, correct! :) Sayang talaga.. plus we needed some adventure.. the rain, sights and the slippery slopes made up for it na din..hehe!

Mai_Flores said...

Yey! Please do, Ricky. :)

Mai_Flores said...

When did you visit Guimaras, Sir Donald? :)

Raizamae Boldios said...

I'll include Guimaras on my bucketlist when in Iloilo, I hope there are island surrounding the place for hoppin galore..

Mai_Flores said...

HI Raizamae! You should try island hopping. There are plenty of islands to visit. I'll definitely do that kind of exploring when I go back. :)

Elal Jane Lasola said...

Woooow. Guimaras. 'Tis one of the places I have in my bucket list :D

Jeffrey Rilles said...

Hayst sayang hindi kami natuloy dito nung nag bacolod kami:( Guimaras is simply beautiful. And the sweetest mango grows here:)

Chef Jasper said...

was waiting for the picture of the mangoes while reading. :)

Jason Cruz said...

Yet another local treasure I haven't visited yet :( Looks really good, another one of those 'offbeat' places. Also, I wouldn't climb that lighthouse if you paid me! It looks like it's about to fall apart any minute!

Mai_Flores said...

Hahaha.. I told myself that I wasn't going to climb up. But there was this force, attracting me towards it. I just had to climb.. or else regret not getting to. I went down in one piece naman. =P

Mai_Flores said...

Hehe.. we didn't buy mangoes na. Mabigat kasi. =(

Mai_Flores said...

Sayang naman kasi we were supposed to do a side trip pa to Bacolod.. next time Bacolod naman po kami. :)

Violy said...

I used to b assigned in La Carlota, negros and we always plan to visit Iloilo and Guimaras, unfortunately never had the chance yet. Someday soon Guimaras! Can't wait to taste the famous mangoes you are so famous for.

lamyerda said...

The ala kangkong vege we call it "takway" and naglalaway 2loy aco. :)

Mai_Flores said...

TAKWAY!!! Yehey.. our guide actually told me the name several times over.. just couldn't remember. :P Thanks again!!!

Mai_Flores said...

Sad to say, di kami nakatikim ng manga ng Guimaras -- ang ironic lang..heheh!

Tricia Tanhueco said...

First of all, I envy you for the long tricycle ride. My grandpa used to have a tricycle so my childhood was composed of 50% tricycle rides. :)) Speaking of, yup, you're right. Accepting offers from the vehicle owner in a tourist spot is a mistake. They usually charge tourists more than how we are supposed to be charge. Talk about taking advantage!


The place looks calm and peaceful and beautiful and truly lovely. I honestly haven't been to a lot of places like that in the Philippines and it sucks!

Mai_Flores said...

Thank you for your comment, Tricia! And yes, you're right.. That's clearly one of our mistakes. I didn't research for this trip kasi since I was so swamped with work, I couldn't find the time. :( Dbale, I will make time next time.. hehehe!


And don't worry, Tricia.. there's always time to explore.. plan ka na lang muna. :)

pinoychocophile said...

one of the places to visit in the future, thanks to bloggers and so more Pinoy can get to enjoy - it is more fun in the Philippines, I just hope that DOT would look into making travelling more convenient - with facilities and a better transport system...

ana karen said...

why does the tricycle ride sound expensive ? :( and i have this feeling it is the only mode of transpo touring the province. the place seems a different kind of destination. :)

Ness Mercader said...

Love the photo of the beach. Look slike I haven't been to a beach for quite some time now..

jimi said...

Yay! Guimaras! Good to know you enjoyed your trip. ;)

jimi said...

Oh by the way, sayang di kayo nakapag island hopping. Balik tayo next time!

Justin Queyquep said...

I can't wait to share our Guimaras experience. It's coming out soon! Guimaras is actually a beautiful Island.

ChrisAir Abenes said...

maganda din pala sa ilo ilo thanks for sharing

Maria Gemma Defeo-Hilotin said...

mango? oh.. i miss mango.. the place!!! beautiful! envy face here!!!

Mai_Flores said...

I think we're on our way there.. DOT has set out a lot of good plans.. soon enough, we will be seeing more of their projects come to life. :)

Mai_Flores said...

Hi Ana! Actually, the trike is the cheapest when it comes to tours. But there's also the rental of jeeps and multi-cabs. :)

mark pogi said...

I'm sure those abusive tricycle drivers won't stand a chance with my wife who haggles down to the bone when we make a visit to Guimaras someday . :D

Mai_Flores said...

Yey! Can't wait to read about it. :)

Mai_Flores said...

Hahaha! Girl power ika nga!

R.O.M.E.L.O. said...

ah, ganun ba... pero kung titingnan mo para siyang magigiba na anumang oras... :D

Franc Ramon said...

The lighthouse really look historic. There's something about lighthouse that makes it quite an attraction.

GilCamporazo said...

Really enjoyed your Guimaras trip! I live in Negros Occidental which seems to be very near with Guimaras, but I've not been there yet.

Carizza Chua said...

seems a fun trip to guimaras despite of the run. will check the travel expense sheet in a while :)

sir rob said...

It seems that Guimaras has plenty to offer for tourists. Never been in the place though but I could see that they have good beaches.

Airra Pingol said...

i love the food photos.. very pinoy sis! nakakagutom! :)

Jhoveleen said...

Interesting place. I wish I could visit there one day. My hometown is just close there but never got the chance to see. Can I have some mango? heheheh

Marri Bermudez said...

I super love the way you presented your photos Mai. The beauty of the place is very much appreciated because of its depth and natural color. Just breath-taking!

lovemindanao said...

First, I really hate manggantsu tricycle drivers ,, they will lure tourists area in a really bad deal just to get a little profit from the visitors of their place ... ill keep in mind your experience there.. bookmarking this for my future trip in Guimaras....btw where can I buy my favorite fresh sweet mangoes there? they say it's the mango to die for !

ralph said...

they have a lovely shoreline and wow, an 1800 church, that's great architecture... if i'm not mistaken, they are also known for their sweet mangoes. Yahweh bless.

Mai_Flores said...

I would actually love to visit Negros Occidental too.. someday, someday..

Mai_Flores said...

Hehehehe.. you should try eating their mango products in person. Plan a trip to Guimaras soon! :)

Mai_Flores said...

Thank you Ms. Marri! Your observation means a lot! :)

Mai_Flores said...

And sad, di ba? Kapwa natin nagttake advantage? :(


As for the mangoes.. eto ang ironic.. di kami nakatikim ng actual fruit. :( Hanggang dry goods at mango shake lang.. hehe!

Mai_Flores said...

Yes, Guimaras is actually called the City of Golden Mangoes. Unfortunately, we didn't get the chance to eat the actual fruit while we were there. :(

Che said...

I really hear good things about Guimaras but I think our Tourism Dept. lacks promotions on this. Hope they improve on it.

Mai_Flores said...

Siguro po sa tours kailangan mas tutukan pa.. But I'm sure the Department of Tourism will not pass up a chance to improve the tourism in each city in the Philippines. :)

maritel said...

Guimaras is only a few hours away from us...I should make time to see this place people are raving about.

Mai_Flores said...

You should Ms. Maritel! :) I hope to meet you when I visit your hometown. Have fun at the Masskara Festival! :)

Marri Bermudez said...

I wonder who's that guy in yellow rain coat... walking in the slippery road going towards the Guisi Lighthouse. Just curious. He highlights the photograph... :)



Excellent captures, Mai! I super like the 6th picture. Kainggit lang. Soooo CHEESY eh!

Mai_Flores said...

hahaha.. cheesy indeed! And the guy in the yellow kapote was our tour guide, Ms. Marri. :)

Marie Mirage said...

Where were you standing when you took the beachfront photo? Love it most and every single capture of course, I need to refresh my geography knowledge lols, I've forgotten where Guimaras is...

Mai_Flores said...

I was standing sa veranda nung ROCA ENCANTADA House.. okay ba ang angulo ko? Heheh!

Mai Flores said...

Did you go to Guimaras in June? My friends and I will visit Guimaras in June. I hope the weather cooperates. and are there accommodations near the port to Guimaras? We'll arrive in Iloilo late in the afternoon.

- Wanderer Juan

Mai Flores said...

I went last October, which was pretty disappointing on our end since it kept raining when we were there. During the day it would be sunny. But come lunch time, it would start pouring hard. As for Guimaras lodgings near the port -- unfortunately, I did not get to check. We just went straight to Alobihod from the pier.

Mai Flores said...

Thanks sis! :)

Mai Flores said...

They do naman. :)

Mai Flores said...

Okie. :)

Mai Flores said...

Madadala niyo na si baby sa next Guimaras adventure niyo! :)

Mai Flores said...

Hehehe!

Mai Flores said...

Guimaras is not in Iloilo. It's a different city. :)

Mai Flores said...

Time to hit the beach while summer is still here!

Mai Flores said...

When do you plan to visit? :)

Mai Flores said...

Visit kayo soon! :)

Mai Flores said...

Do visit, Pal! :)

Mai Flores said...

Do visit soon!

Mai Flores said...

We did! :)

Mai Flores said...

Truly is beautiful up close. :)