Guimaras is a 4th class island province that is located in the Western Visayas area of the Philippines. Also recognized as the City of Golden Mangoes (known to have the sweetest-tasting mangoes in the Philippines), the region is also located between Negros and Panay. It’s also a 15-minute boat ride from Iloilo City’s Parola wharf. You can definitely see and explore several of the island’s tourist attractions in just under a day.
EXPLORING BUENAVISTA, GUIMARAS
Navales Church in Buenavista is a must-see when visiting the northern part of Guimaras. It is said to be the oldest existing Roman Catholic Church in the province, which was built during the 1800’s.
Aside from Navales Church, you can also drop-by the Roca Encantada (Enchanted Rock). It’s a mansion that was built on top of a rock. It is said to be the summerhouse of the Lopez Clan — one of the prominent families in the Philippines. Aside from that, you can also see the El Retiro Beach Park Resort and the famous ‘Siete Pecados’ islands from the summit of the heritage house (was built to honor the late Doña Presentacion Holifena Lopez). An entrance fee of PHP 50 is issued upon entering the premises.
EXPLORING JORDAN, GUIMARAS
Jordan is the capital of Guimaras. Tourists flock to this part of the province to visit the Trappist Monastery, and to send prayers at the Abbey Church to Our Lady of the Philippines. You can also bring home some of the most delicious Mango products directly from the Trappist Monastery souvenir store (i.e. Mango Butterscotch).
Jordan is also known to have the ‘smallest plaza in the Philippines’. The statue that actually sits in the middle of the podium is our very own national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. Now, according to Guinness, the plaza is also recognized as the ‘smallest’ one in the world.
EXPLORING NUEVA VALENCIA, GUIMARAS
Nueva Valencia hosts the ruins of the famous Guisi Lighthouse and Raymen Beach Resort. Upon viewing the lighthouse, one must pay an entrance fee of PHP 20. You’ll need to climb up a steep slope to be able to access the summit, to where the old and rusty edifice stands. It’s a must to climb up the lighthouse (with caution of course), so that you can get a panoramic view of Guisi Beach.
Raymen Beach Resort is considered to be one of the most booked accommodations by Alubihod. The lodging is also just a stone throw’s away from the white sand beach. On top of that, they also offer some of the most affordable rooms, cottages, island hopping tours and food. Their rice meals (especially the Tapsilog) and Mango Fruit Shake is a must-try.
GUIMARAS 101: When you finally reach Jordan Wharf, head out immediately to the Tourism Information Center (if you haven’t arranged any pick-ups from your hotel yet). Ask the staff there for assistance when booking your preferred means of transportation (i.e. tricycle, jeep). Consulting them will certainly help you avoid getting ripped-off by the locals there.
*Guimaras can be reached from Iloilo City. Fly to Iloilo, and then ride the airport shuttle to SM Mandurriao (30 minutes travel). From there, ride a cab towards Parola Wharf (10-15 minute travel). From there, you can ride any of the pump boats that are bound for Guimaras.