After the Gigantes adventure that entailed us to do strenuous activities and proactively try different methods of commuting, my friends and I finally sought a much laid-back escapade in the island province of Guimaras.
Situated in between the islands of Panay and Negros, Guimaras is renowned not only for its sweet mangoes, but for its tourist attractions and pretty offshore islets. Of all our itineraries, this trip is my favorite of all. Read along to know more.
How to get to Guimaras from Iloilo City:
1. From Iloilo airport, take a taxi or jeepney going to Ortiz Wharf. Cab fare is around 200-250 pesos.
2. From Ortiz Wharf, take the pump boat going to Jordan Port (14 pesos)
Travel time is 15 mins. The boat going to Jordan Port leaves every 15 minutes from 5:30 am to 7:30 PM daily.
3. At Jordan Wharf, there is a tourism office requiring registration for tourists. You can also ask for pamphlets, fliers and other info related to Guimaras for free. I find this helpful because the receptionist was knowledgeable in suggesting transportation routes, accommodation and other spots to visit.
4. From Jordan Wharf, ride a tricycle going to Nueva Valencia, where most resorts are located. Fare is 250 pesos and travel time is 20-30 mins. There are also multicabs going there, at 450 pesos.
How to get to Guimaras from Gigantes Island:
(We intended to go to Gigantes Island first then to Guimaras because Gigantes is farther, and Guimaras and Iloilo are nearer to the airport)
1. Ride a boat going from Gigantes Norte to Estancia Port. (1.5 hours, 88 pesos)
2. From Estancia Port, ride a tricycle to Estancia Terminal (10 mins, 10 pesos)
3. From Estancia Terminal, ride a van going Tagbak Terminal (2-2.5 hours, 150 pesos)
4. From Tagbak Terminal, ride a tricycle going to Ortiz Port (45 mins, 250 pesos)
5. From Ortiz Port, ride a pump boat going to Jordan Wharf (15 mins, 14 pesos)
6. From Jordan Wharf, ride a tricycle going to Raymen Beach Resort at Alubihod (30 mins, 250 pesos)
*Land tours by tricycle are accessible for a fixed rate of 1,200 for a whole day.
*Tricycle drivers in Guimaras are kind and helpful. They won’t charge you beyond the standard rate.
Where to stay in Guimaras
There are several resorts in Guimaras, but we chose Raymen Resort for its good reviews and inclusion of island tour package. We rented a fan room for a night thinking we wouldn’t be staying that long in Guimaras to overspend on an air-con room.
Alubihod beach has soft, powdery white sands compared to Gigantes that has too many pebbles. Staying at Raymen beachfront was tranquil, relaxing and peaceful. There were not too many guests when we arrived so we enjoyed the privacy at the beach. I loved burying my toes in the fine sands!
Raymen Resort offers island tours at the following: Ave Maria Island, Isla Naburot, Turtle Island, Lamurawan Island, Baras Cave, and Fairy Castle. The standard rate is 400 for the first hour and 150 for the succeeding hours. We skipped the Baras Cave (too tired of caves already, haha!) and instead went to Isla Tatlong Pulo. Tour at other islands outside the set itinerary may depend on the tour guide. The offshore islets can be characterized by black and brown rock formations, with lush trees and man-made stairs to see the overlooking of the islands. Water is mostly emerald green and turquoise, with powdery white sands.
Ave Maria Island
Small sandbar, colorful coral reefs and fishes. This jumpstarted our island tour in Guimaras. There is a rock formation resembling a Groto, hence its name Ave Maria. We also did cliff-diving here.
Lamurawan is a resort intended as a rest house managed by a retired nun . It has a staircase that leads you to the overlooking of Guimaras Island, particularly Isla Tatlong Pulo. The small resort looks old and abandoned, although it has a caretaker. Entrance is 50 pesos, but no caretaker was around that time so we did not pay anymore.
Isla Tatlong Pulo
We had a pretty much enjoyable time at Isla Tatlong Pulo, where we stayed longer to rest. The place was adorned with erected tall coconut trees that became an instant backdrop for our photo shoots. We drank fresh coconut juice, did snorkeling, and paddled a boat to a nearby island and climbed a steep rock formation. Splendid beauty, incomparable to the rest. Spontaneous, unplanned things are indeed the best.
The hot sunny day was cooled down by the fresh coconuts Lino prepared for us that noon. He was so kind he did not ask payment for it and gladly sliced it us. The juice was so refreshing and milky, I almost forgot it was lunch.
My friends enjoyed eating the succulent coconut flesh from the shell.
We reached this island across by padding a small boat while Cath and Cass snorkeled their way out. They told me they saw beautiful corals underneath.
Our tour guide Lino, was one-of-a-kind. He was very gentle, accommodating to our needs and helpful. He was very patient in assisting us in our cliff-diving and went out of his way to make this island tour a memorable and a pleasant one. Some island tours were not part of the itinerary but he managed to create a unique one for us. He was down-to-earth and humble too. He even promised us to send a crate of mangoes when it is in season. (Well I hope he’ll remember it 😀 ) Pleased with his service, we gave him 600 pesos as tip. For island tour bookings, you may reach him at this number: 09956706837.
Sidetrips not to miss in Guimaras
1. Pitstop – the famous restaurant featuring the best Mango Pizza on earth, along with Mango-infused dishes such as Adobo and Pasta. It’s located in Chavez Bldg., Guimaras Circumferential Rd., Jordan, Guimaras and can be reached by tricycle or jeepney. Pizza is definitely the bomb. Other dishes however are served in small portions and are not as good as we expected.
2. Trappist Monastery- Don’t forget to drop by here to buy your pasalubong, such as mango food products like pastries, jams and jellies. The products are made by the monks. It’s located in Brgy. San Miguel, Jordan, Guimaras. You can ask your tricycle driver to include this in your land tour itinerary.
Guimaras has impressed on me that our country is indeed blessed with the majestic beauty of nature. Overflowing with natural resources, pristine beaches and scenic spots, Guimaras is truly a destination getaway we can all be proud of. But what really made me love it is the certain feeling of connection to the place – you feel at home and at ease. The people are warm, kind and helpful. That is why a re-visit in the near future is never impossible.
Sample Computation of Expenses in an overnight stay at Guimaras: (individual)
Boat going from Gigantes Norte to Estancia Port – 88 pesos
Tricycle to Estancia Terminal from Estancia Port- 10 pesos
Van going to Tagbak Terminal from Estancia Terminal- 150 pesos
Tricycle going to Ortiz Port -250 pesos
Pump boat going to Jordan Wharf from Ortiz Port- 14 pesos
Tricycle going to Raymen Beach Resort at Alubihod from Jordan Wharf 250 pesos/3 = 84
Tricycle going back to Jhordan Wharf from Raymen (with side trips in Guimaras signage, Trappist Monastery and Mango Plantation)- 350 pesos/3 = 117
Fan room at Raymen – 900 pesos/ 3= 300
Entrance fee at Raymen- 25 pesos
Island Tour for four hours= 850 pesos /3 = 284
Tips for Tour guide- 600 pesos/ 3 = 200
Lunch at Pitstop- 200 pesos
Dinner at Raymen- 150 pesos
Pasalubong from Trappist -800
Island Entrance fee- 50 pesos
Toiletries and supplies – 100 pesos
Sample Itinerary for an overnight stay at Guimaras:
09:00-11:00 AM Boat ride going from Gigantes Norte to Estancia Port
11:15-11:30 AM Tryc going from Estancia Port to Estancia Terminal
11:30-2:00 PM Van going to Tagbak Terminal from Estancia Terminal
2:00-2:45 PM Tricycle going to Ortiz Port from Tagbak Terminal
2:45 to 3:00 PM Pump boat going to Jordan Wharf from Ortiz Port
3:00- 3:15 PM Registration at Tourism office of Guimaras
3:30 to 4:30 PM Late lunch at Pitstop
4:30 to 5 PM Tricycle going to Raymen Beach from Jordan Wharf (30 mins, 250 pesos)
5:30-6 AM Wake up, prepare
6:00-6:30 AM Breakfast
6:30 AM-10:30 AM Island Tour
10:30-11:30 Preparation for check out
12:00 PM Check out from Raymen
12:30 to 1 PM Trappist Monastery
1:00 to 1:15 Pictorial at mango plantation
1:30 to 1:45 Pictorial at Guimaras Signage
2:00 to 2:30 Stop-over at Fruitstand
3:00 to 3:15 Pump boat from Jordan wharf to Iloilo City
Raymen Resort Rates:
for more info visit their website: http://raymenresort.com/
|FAN ROOMS (EAST BUILDING)||RATES|
|ROSE (2 rooms) P2,000.00/room – Good for 6 pax||P4,000.00|
|DAISY (3 rooms) P900.00/room – Good for 4 pax||P2,700.00|
|SUNFLOWER (2 rooms) P900.00/room – Good for 4 pax||P1,800.00|
|ORCHID (2 rooms) P700.00/room – Good for 4 pax||P1,400.00|
|YELLOWBELL (2 rooms) P700.00/room – (yellowbell 1 good for 4 pax, yellowbell 2 good for 2 pax)||P1,400.00|
|AIR-CONDITIONED ROOMS (EAST BUILDING)||RATES|
|Good for 8 persons with air conditioned, refrigerator, no TV, no hot shower and four double sized beds.||P2,800.00|
|Good for 4 persons with air conditioned, cable TV, hot & cold shower and two double sized beds.||P2,200.00|
|Good for 4 persons with air conditioned no TV, no hot shower and two double sized beds.||P1,600.00|
|Good for 2 persons (Beach Front, air-conditioned, cable TV, no hot shower and 1 double sized bed)||P1,450.00|
|Good for 2 persons located at second floor, with hot & cold shower, air-conditioned, cable TV, one double bed.||P1,450.00|
|Good for 4 persons with air conditioned, cable TV, hot & cold shower and two double sized beds. (Rm.216)||P2,000.00|
|Additional Payment for Extra Person||P300.00|
|AIR-CONDITIONED ROOMS (WEST BUILDING)||RATES|
|Good for 3 persons with hot & cold shower, cable tv, intercom||P2,700.00|
|Good for 4 persons with hot & cold shower, cable tv, intercom||P2,700.00|
|Family Room with hot & cold shower, cable tv, intercom, refrigerator (Beach Front)||P4,500.00|
|Family Room with hot & cold shower, cable tv, intercom, refrigerator (Mountain Front)||P4,200.00|
|Additional Payment for Extra Person||P450.00|