Part 2 of 2: Guimaras in My Mind

In my previous post, I promised to take you with me to my Guimaras adventure, so here it is.

guimaras island

On our second day in Iloilo, my sister and I woke up bright and early to grab some batchoy.  Yes, batchoy again. We took a Jeepney from our hotel going to La Paz Market. We stopped by the main entrance of the market where you will immediately see a line of mini restaurants offering batchoy. We settled for Deco’s La Paz Batchoy, as it was highly recommended by my some of my friends.

decos la paz batchoy
Scrumptious and rightly seasoned. I can taste the yummy pork, crunchy chicharon, and delicious broth in my mouth while typing this! Arggh, bakit ko ba tinotorture ang sarili ko?

This hearty bowl of batchoy was the perfect meal to fill our tummies and fuel our body for a full day ahead. If my memory serves me right, this bowl cost 70php.

How to Get to guimaras

From the market, we drove off to Ortiz Wharf to catch a 15-minute pump boat ride (15php/head)  going to Jordan Wharf,  the entry point to Guimaras.

PUMP BOAT SCHEDULE (Monday to Saturday)

  • Iloilo to Guimaras: 5:30 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m.
  • Guimaras to Iloilo: 6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m.

Upon arriving at the wharf, we approached the tourism office to register and discuss some tour options.

Guimaras Day Tour

Since Guimaras is on the countryside, it’s difficult to go around the Island DIY style because transporation is rather scarce. The best way to explore is to hire a private transportation and a driver/tour giuide. You have the option to either book a multicab or a tricycle. We took the tricycle route costing us 1,500php for a day tour. I was taken aback at first (because #kuripotproblems), but realizing that we will have ready transportation to all the places we want to go, I decided it was fair.

Smallest Plaza

First on our itinerary was Smallest Plaza. It was called such, because well, it’s literary a small plaza. Once considered as a Guinness Book of World Records awardee, this tiny plaza features only a small statue of Dr. Jose Rizal.

smallest plaza
This is the entirety of the plaza. Tiny it is. 

Holy Family Hills

Located along San Lorenzo, Guimaras, Holy Family Hills is a religious site visited by many, especially during holy week. This 57-hectar land field is managed by Eucharsitic Desciples of St.Pius X. It features life-sized statues of the Holy Family and Stations of the Cross. I reckon, this refuge would serve as a perfect sanctuary for personal or group retreats and other religious activities.

Click image for larger view

I was blown away by the life-sized Stations of the Cross. I gaze at them feeling like I was with Jesus, witnessing his procession on the way to Mt. Calvary. I was embraced with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude to be right there, standing before these statues that reminded of God’s great love for us.

holyfam
Fountain outside the chapel

San Lorenzo Windmills

I didn’t know Guimaras had a windmill site. It didn’t particularly came up when I was doing my research on the places to include in our itinerary. Thankfully, our tour guide was happy enough to stop by the San Lorenzo Windmills. Currently, there are 27 windmills all over Guimaras and we were able to visit two viewing spots.

windmill
Giant electricfan, yo!

I’ve always imagined what it felt like to be near a giant windmill. I was like a kid, spreading my arms and taking in the strong wind and cool breeze touching my face (and ruining my hair).

san lorenzo windmills

National Mango Research and Development Center

We had a quick lunch at The Pitstop where we had the infamous Mango Pizza (which I don’t want to talk about because it didn’t really pleased my palate). After which, we headed to the National Mango Research and Development Center located at the town of San Miguel.

oro verde mango plantation
Lush, green mango trees! 

As soon as we entered the vicinity, I immediately thought of the movie ‘Forevermore’, top billed by Jericho Rosales and Kristine Hermosa. If you’re a batang 90’s, and if you’ve actually seen the movie, you’ll know why. #EchoTinForevermore

It also reminded me of one of my fondest memories in our province in Nueva Ecija, where we would go with Ama (grandfather) to the Tumana (farm) and play under the mango trees.

mango plantation
Hello, tunay na pagibig? Asan ka na?

Syempre, I had to peruse the hacienda view for a quick OOTD. Top and bottom: ukay2x | Floral Kimono:  Tiangge – 150php | Slippers: Havs.

Trappist Monastery

The Our Lady of the Philippines Monastery is known as the only Trappist (a Roman Catholic religious order of cloistered contemplative monastics who follow the Rule of St. Benedict) Monastery in the Philippines. Founded in 1972, the trappist monks produce a number of products including souvenir items, delicacies, and fruit preserves.

trappist

Here’s a fact: I always buy souvenirs from local stores instead of buying in malls or other overrated merchandise shops, because not only are they personally handcrafted, you also help small merchants put food on their plates. I bought most of my pasalubong and souvenir items at Trappist Monastery because they are especially made by the monks.

trappist guimaras

Guisi Point Lighthouse

Farthest in our itinerary and one that I was most excited about was the Guisi Point Light House. From the Trappist Monastery, it took us about 45 mins to arrive at Guisi. Remember? We were just riding a tricyle, so you could imagine the suffering our bums had to deal with. Not to mention, the road going there was not so easy. Some roads where smooth, while others compel you to hold on to dear life.

And it doesn’t stop there.  We had to actually take a 15-minute trek  because the lighthouse is located uphill. Hindi naman  na inform yung muscles ko, but carry on lang. The journey getting there might be an agony, but the view that welcomed us truly made the rough ride worth it!

guisi
Photo courtesy of manong tour guide. In fairness!

Befor getting to the actual lighthouse, you’ll find ruins from a Spanish settlement dating back to the 18th century.

guisi point lighthouse

The Guisi (pronounced as gi-si) Lighthouse is an 18th century Spanish-colonial lighthouse built beside the Guisi Clearwater Beach. It used to serve as a guide for mariners passing the Iloilo and Guimaras strait.

We were told that going to the top of the lighthouse is no longer allowed due to the aged structure, but our mapilit tour guide insisted for us to climb. Of course, we did! Medyo scary going up because the stairs are already rusty. I got a bit paranoid thinking that the steps would crumble and fall apart everytime we take a step higher. Thank goodness, di naman pala kami ganun kabigat! All the anxiousness were washed away when we were greeted by  this overlooking view of the Guisi Clearwater Beach atop the lighthouse.

guisi clearwater
Breathtaking view! Wait, parang andito ata si tunay na pag-ibig!

Alubijod Beach Resort

For our final stop, our tour guide took us to Alubijod Beach Resort . Guimaras is an Island teeming with a number of white sand beaches. It reminded me of Samal Island, which is also just a 15-minute boat ride away from where I live.

alibujod

The clear blue green water and powdery sand were truly inviting. We would’ve wanted to take a quick swim but it was already 4pm when we got there, and besides, we didn’t have spare clothes.

We were hoping to visit the Pawikan Sanctuary, but I was told  we can only get there through island hopping. Well, there’s always a next time.

Guimaras in My Mind

This trip is definitely one for the books. Roaming around Guimaras for a full day while on-board a tricycle was painful (literally) and fun at the same time. Even though it was just me and my sister, we did enjoy each other’s company, and that, I think, made this trip even more memorable. Charotera!

Guimaras is such a quaint, precious island and I do hope it would remain that way  for future generations.

guisi spanish settlement

Now, the question is, where to next?

 

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