2019 Ultimate Travel Guide to Guimaras Island
Table of Contents
When you think sweet mangoes in the Philippines, most people would recommend the ones that come from Guimaras Island. Just a boat ride from Iloilo, it used to be part of that province until 1992. It is among the smallest provinces in the country, but it makes up for its small size with sheer lush greenery and natural attractions.
It was formerly Himal-us, a derivation of the word “paghimud-us”, which means to struggle for survival. With its popularity as a destination for both pleasure-seeking tourists and adventure seekers, it no longer has to struggle quite so much. Here is a quick travel guide for those who want o go to the “Mango Capital of the Philippines.”
Guimaras is an island located in Western Visayas which is surrounded by fascinating islets. This island is overflowing with natural attractions that are definitely inviting for the adventure seekers and pleasure travelers.
This island will truly satisfy its visitors. Guimaras has also been blessed with beautiful beaches with white sand. And of course, when you say Guimaras, who can forget the mangoes? After all, their mangoes are one of the reasons that make this province known to almost everyone.
How to get there
There are no straight flights to Guimaras, it’s that small. The easiest way to get to Guimaras from Manila or anywhere else except for Bacolod or Negros Occidental is to fly to Iloilo on any of the daily flights offered by Cebu Pacific or Philippine Airlines. Iloilo is the best jump-off point because it is only a 15-minute ferry ride away from Ortiz Wharf (to Jordon, the capital city) or Parola Wharf (to Buena Vista). The fare is about PhP14, and there is a trip every 15 minutes. Easy peasy.
- Coming from Ortiz Wharf, you can hire an outrigger boat that is bound for Jordan Wharf in Barangay Rizal, Jordan.
- Coming from Parola Wharf, you can hire an outrigger boat that is bound for McArthur’s Wharf in Sto. Rosario, Buenavista. The normal fare is P14 and the travel time is about fifteen to twenty minutes.
Choose which one is nearer to your location.
- You can ride a RORO if you have brought a car with you. You can ride a RORO from Lapaz, Iloilo City going to Port San Jose, Barangay Hoskyn, Jordan.
Best Time to Visit Guimaras
They say that the best time to visit the island is during the summer season (April to June) to better enjoy and indulge in the beaches. This is the perfect time that you will be able to explore the island to your heart’s content.
What You Need To Wear and What You Should Bring
What you will have in your suitcase is an important thing to consider when you have finally decided to go to this wonderful island. You should bring shorts, a set of nightwear, t-shirts and don’t forget your swimsuit. Don’t forget to bring toiletries with you.
Of course, you should also bring undergarments, your gadgets, and diving gears if you are interested in that kind of adventure. Also, don’t forget to bring sunscreen for you will probably get a bit of tan while exploring around.
What To Expect
When visiting this island province, the first thing that you will probably look for is where you can get mangoes and have a taste of the most famous food of the island.
They say that you can explore the island in 2 days by sea and by land.
What To Do
There are several destinations on this island which you will enjoy to your heart’s content. The GUISI Lighthouse is the 18th-century lighthouse that was built for the Mariners. This served as their guide when they are passing the Guimaras and Iloilo Strait. This Lighthouse is almost falling apart but this is the 2nd oldest lighthouse in the country.
You can also drop by the Holy Family. If you feel that stress is hitting you, this is one of the best places to go. Even the not so religious people will appreciate this place as it boasts of a station of the cross with life-sized statues.
Another place you can go is the Taklong National Marine Reserve. This is where you can appreciate the mangroves for yourself. You can also hear the chirping of the birds and the serene sound of the ocean. You can also see the corals because the water is very clear.
Don’t forget to add the Ave Maria Islet in your island hopping itinerary. You will enjoy the fine white sand and get a good view of the reef which has a wide selection of fish and coral. You can also go snorkeling here and a chance to feed the fishes.
Guimaras Island Tours
If you land in Jordan or Buenavista Wharf, you need to register at the tourism office in Jordan. You can also get a tourist map there if you would rather DIY a tour of the island instead of hiring a tricycle driver as a tourist guide. If you booked into a resort, you probably have to go to Nueva Valencia, which is PhP250 per tricycle (good for four people).
Guimaras Land tours
If you decide to hire the driver as a tour guide, the standard rate is PhP1,200 to PhP1,500. If you are a large group, you might want to charter a multicab. The tourism office can help you with that. Attractions that are part of the standard tour are:
- Alubihod Beach (Nueva Valencia)
- Guisi Lighthouse And Beach (Nueva Valencia)
- Mango Research Center (Jordan)
- Museo De Guimaras (Jordan)
- Smallest Plaza (Jordan)
- Trappist Monastery (Jordan)
Special attractions you can request for an additional fee are:
Island Hopping in Guimaras
You might also want to do some island hopping. Get to Raymen Beach Resort via tricycle, where you can charter a boat good for 6 or 10 people. The standard rate is PhP400 and PhP500 for the first hour, respectively, and PhP150 for each succeeding hour. The boat tour covers:
- Ave Maria Island
- Baras Beach
- Fairy Castle
- Isla Naburot
- Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC)
- Turtle Island
You can also request to go to:
- Nagtago Island
- Yato Island
If you want to do your part for sustainability, check out the community-based rural tourism programs of Barangay San Roque in Nueva Valencia. They are offering six non-conventional tours for adventure seekers of all types, going to remote areas seldom seen by regular tourists.
To get there, go to Jordan Wharf, in time for the 6 AM jeep that goes to San Roque. The trip takes about 45 minutes, and you can avail of tour packages at PhP800 for two hours (inclusive of a local guide). For succeeding hours, add PhP150 plus PhP75 (for the guide) per hour. For more information about tours, contact:
Brgy. San Roque Community-Based Rural Tourism (CBRT) Association
Mobile Number: +63 912 414 1797
Where to Eat
One of the most recommended places to eat in Guimaras is “The Pitstop”. This restaurant serves Pizza and Pasta and other dishes. Don’t forget to try their Mango Pizza, it’s really good!
Where to Stay in Guimaras?
- Zemkamps Chalet in Guimaras
- Raymen Beach Resort [Check Rates and Availability]
- Jannah Glycel Beach House [Check Rates and Availability]
- Playa de Paraiso Resort [Check Rates and Availability]
- Cabugan Adventure Resort [Check Rates and Availability]
- Roca Encantada in Buenavista Guimaras
- Dagsaan Ecopark in Buenavista Guimaras
- Day Tripping Awesomeness on Guimaras
- A Trip to Guimaras
- Conserving Mangroves in Guimaras
- Alubijod Beach: Guimaras’ Main Tourist Hub
- San Isidro Labrador Church in Navalas: The Oldest Structure in Guimaras