Guimaras, an island not far away from my home city, serves as a treasure box to lot of my memories. The island claimed to be the home of the world’s sweetest Mango. For me, it’s not the Mango that made this island one of the best, it is its unspoiled white sand beach that dotted around the island.
Guimaras can be reached from Manila via plane thru Iloilo. From the Airport in Cabatuan, Iloilo, tourist can hire a van or taxi towards Iloilo City. At the moment, the fare is around Php 50.00 per pax if you’ll choose to take a van and around Php 300-500 via taxi. Once in Iloilo City, head towards Muelle Loney if your destination is Buenavista Guimaras or San Pedro Wharf if you’re going to Jordan, Guimaras. In San Pedro wharf, you can also find outriggers going straight to Alubihod Beach Resort especially early in the morning in summer.
Among its beaches, the most popular and the one that attracts most crowds is Alubihod Beach in Nueva Valencia, Guimaras. It one of the few developed white sand beach in the island with a number of resorts catering for tourist. It is also a jump-off point for tourist heading to a more secluded islands resorts. Island-hopping is one of the favorite activities available in Alubihod. Using an outrigger, you can head towards Ave Maria Island, an uninhabited island with smooth white sand sandbar and literally crystal clear water. It’s a perfect stop for privacy lovers but of course during summer expect tourist to heading on this small strip of white sand beach. Turtle lovers can have a chance to touch and carry a large sea turtle in one of the conservation areas in Guimaras. Baras cave is a small cave accessible by boat. You can swim inside its deep waters together with the fish, just be careful, it’s deep. Minutes away from Baras Cave, is Baras Beach Resorts. Kayaking within this small cove is available. For tourist with bigger budget, they can head to Isla Naburot, higher pay means greater privacy in a white sand beach front.
Another popular destination is Guisi Beach Resort. It offers a white sand beach with lesser people since it is less well known compared to Alubihod. It has also a lighthouse situated near a cliff. You can have a perfect view of live corals below a ruined lighthouse which stands beside its replacement. I remember the night I spent in Guisi, we slept on the beach with the fine sands on our back and above us are shooting stars and fireflies. That was in 2005, I just don’t know right now. Also back in 2005, just a walk away from the beach you can see colourful corals in waters just above your hips. If you are not contented with the sight you can try tickling the sole of your feet with the smooth and slippery colorful corals. It was a one of a kind experience. Back then a small boat that is good for 2 persons can take you to a small cave on the other side of the island. On its side is water dripping from the cliff above. Imagine the scenery, fresh water falling in the edge of the cliff, directly into the sea of salt water and corals. Unfortunately, at that time I don’t have my Cannon PowerShot to capture the scene. The presence of fireflies proved that Guimaras is one of the few places in the world left with fresh air.
On the other side of the island, in Buenavista, a small barangay named Navalas is the home of Navalas Church and Roca Encantada. The small church was constructed from limestone in the Spanish Era. Minutes away from the church is a pinkish to red pebbled beach. The place was called Roca Encantada, meaning Enchanted Rock. On the top of a limestone rock stands the Lopez Summerhouse, a summerhouse of the Lopez clan- one of the elites in the Philippines.
Aside from its beaches, Guimaras also offer something unique to the tourist every summer. An event called Pagtaltal sa Guimaras, a play of the crucifixion of Jesus, was held every Lenten season. In this event, tourist can see real crucifixion, a culture that rooted deeply on the Filipino’s devotion to Catholicism.
Fresh air, white pristine beaches, the worlds sweetest mango and a unique culture. What are you waiting for, book your trip to Guimaras now!