Guimaras Island Things to Do Tips by cyndymc Top 5 Page for this destination
Guimaras Island Things to Do: 49 reviews and 182 photos
Yummy, Sweet Guimaras mangoes
Guimaras mangoes are acclaimed to be the sweetest in the country and the world. Don't take my word for it. Have a mango when you go to Guimaras. Your trip to Guimaras will be incomplete unless you got to taste its famous mangoes.
When we went there, I couldn't find ripe mangoes at the fruit stand in Jordan Wharf. Raymen Resort had some half-ripe mangoes, and I was told it would take about 2 days more for the mangoes to ripen. I couldn't wait that long so I ordered sliced half-ripe mangoes for dessert after our dinner. Oh my, they were already very sweet! A German guest at the Resort watched me and hubby eat our mangoes with gusto. He then ordered some for himself. I was happy to see his satisfied look while eating mangoes with his bare hands.
By the way, I love green mango shake but I didn't like it with Guimaras mango. Either the one who prepared it put too much sugar, or the Guimaras mango is really very sweet even though it is still green.
Address: Raymen Resort, Guimaras
The Ruins of The Guisi Lighthouse
If Negros Occidental has the ruins of a mansion in Talisay City, Iloilo Province has the ruins of a Spanish lighthouse in Guimaras. On top of the mountain in Guisi Point in Dolores, Nueva Valencia, you will see the skeletal remains of what used to be a 58-feet high octagonal cylindrical tower built by the Spanish government in 1894 -1896. It was formerly known as Faro de Punta Luzaran which served as navigational aid to the seafarers and fishermen cruising Panay Gulf.
The ruins will hardly give you a picture of how it looked like, what with the lantern of the tower totally gone, as well as the roof of the 1-storey lighthouse keeper’s house also gone. Today, ferns, moss, weeds, aerial roots and branches of trees partly cover the walls, giving a creepy atmosphere at the ruins. It is interesting to learn that in the olden days, the old lighthouse looked like Cape Bojeador of Burgos, Ilocos Norte.
When the Spanish lighthouse became no longer operational, a new one was built sometime after 1920. The 2nd lighthouse is the white-painted structure beside the rusty remains of the old tower. It is a 38-feet high hourglass-shaped metal tower which I mistook for a communications tower. Adding confusion to me is the 3rd lighthouse which our guide pointed to us. Actually, the lantern is not housed in a tower but set on a metal frame so I thought maybe it shouldn’t be called a lighthouse... but that’s just my opinion. In any case, it now serves as the beacon for seafarers.
Entrance Fee: P10/Adult; P5/Child
Address: Guisi, Dolores, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras
Glimpse of Guisi Beach
As we walked up to the Guisi Lighthouse, we heard the sound of splashing waves down the cliff. Peeping through the trees and bamboos, hubby and I were awed by the pristine beauty of the sea and beach. We learned that it is the Guisi Beach, a place that was once a best-kept secret but is now one of the much-talked about tourist destinations in Guimaras. The view was simply breathtaking! I had to stop many times to have a glimpse of the beach.
Guisi Beach is known for its clean, clear waters, fine yellowish sands, beautiful rock formations, small caves and rich marine life. You can do so many things there: swimming, snorkeling, cave exploration, photo shoot, etc. We wanted to go down and explore the area. There is actually a way from the Lighthouse. Just before its entrance is a bamboo gate leading to Guisi Beach.
After a few minutes of photo shoot at the Lighthouse, I went back to the bamboo gate to check on the condition of the pathway. There was a heavy downpour about an hour ago so I wanted to make sure if the sun had dried up the soil and stepping stones. I tried to make a few steps …alas, the heavy rains soaked the soil; the wet stepping stones were muddy and very slippery. It saddened me that we couldn’t go down; it would be very risky...I just had to content myself staring at the view... We’ll definitely bookmark this for our next trip to Guimaras. I hope it doesn't rain when we go there.
Address: Guisi, Dolores, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras
Directions: Aside from going down from the Lighthouse, I was told that you can take a tricycle up to the nearest point to the beach. From there, you'll have to walk some distance.
Boating/Island Hopping Booth at Raymen
This is one activity that we failed to do because of lack of time, but definitely will do the next time we go to Guimaras. There are many interesting destinations you can reach by boat. You can choose where to go since boat fees are per hour, not per destination. Common destinations are: Turtle Sanctuary, Turtle Island, Ave Maria Island, Fairy Castle, Baras Beach Resort & Baras Cave, Lamurawan, Soly Luna, Natago Beach Resort, and Naburot Island. Boat rates would differ according to resorts, but at Raymen, the rates are:
6 persons or less: P400 for 1st hour + P150 per succeeding hour
More than 6 up to10 persons: P500 for 1st hour +P150 per succeeding hour
More than 10 up to 50 persons: P2,000 + P500 per succeeding hour
I talked with some guests and learned that if you go island hopping with stops for snorkeling, swimming and photo shoot, you'll need about 4 hours. I regret that we didn't do this before we went to Navalas Church. This should be your first activity. Skip the swimming at your resort's beach; you can do it in the other islets. Start early after breakfast so you can be back for lunch at your resort; otherwise, order packed lunch for your picnic in one of the islands.
Address: Guimaras Islets
Guimaras Tourism Staff
As soon as you arrive at Jordan Wharf, seek out the Tourism Staff-on-Duty's advise re: transportation, accommodation or tour concerns. You won't miss their office which is near the jeepney and multicab terminal.
In case you arrive very early (like we did) and there is no one yet at the office, take a jeep or tricycle to the Tourism Center in San Miguel and drop off at the provincial Capitol. Look for the Tourism Section of the Provincial Economic development Office at GTIC Building which is at the left side, facing the Capitol building.
Get a copy of Guimaras brochure and their Transportation & Travel Time Guide To/In Guimaras leaflet. The latter is very important to have as reference though it doesn't have the prevailing transportation cost. Just consult the staff re: regular fare from one point to another. If you are in Guimaras only for a day tour, inquire if they can make arrangement for your tour using their eco-friendly e-vehicle. I saw one with foreign tourists while we were at the Trappist Monastery.
Address: GTIC Bldg., Provincial Capitol, San Miguel, Jordan
Other Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 033-2371134 or 033-2371556
Background: The Trappist Monastery is usually the first destination of tourists who have just arrived from Jordan Wharf. Founded in 1972, it is the only monastery for men in the country which is run by the Cistercian Order of Strict Observance. Its church and guesthouse were built in 1997, opening the doors of the Trappist Monastery to anyone who seeks spiritual counseling and guided meditation. Guests are always welcome to spend days or extended period of time for prayer, meditation and retreats.
I want to share that as soon as we entered the compound of the monastery, I sensed an indescribable light feeling on my otherwise tired body. I felt being refreshed and energized by the monastery’s beautiful garden, the swaying tall trees, pliant bamboos and deafening silence of the church. The serene abbey atmosphere was undeniably conducive for reflection, centering and meditative prayer.
I had the pleasure of meeting Brother Peter, the amiable "Keeper of the Gate". He is the monk in-charge of giving medicines to the indigent locals, accepting requests for intercessory prayers and praying over the sick. He is also some kind of "receptionist"; he makes tourists feel the warm welcome of the Trappist monks.
Although the monks are dedicated to a cloistered life, they engage in agriculture for their livelihood. They grow vegetables for their own use and their guests’ consumption. They have a mango orchard and a processing plant where their fruits (mangoes, pineapples and guavas) are processed into dried chips, juices, jellies, jams, cookies, bars, breads and piayas, all of which can be bought at their bakery and gift/pasalubong store.
Address: San Miguel, Jordan, Guimaras
Navalas Church Viewed From Belfry Arch
Navalas Church a.k.a. St. Isidore Parish Church is said to be the oldest structure in Guimaras. Then Parish priest Fr. Francisco Consing initiated the construction of the church in 1880. Local residents provided the labor using coral rocks sourced from the area, then the coral stone blocks were glued together by a mixture lime, tree sap and some sticks.
Don Miguel Jayme and Dona Carmen Javellana donated a piece of agricultural land for the parish and offered financial help, undertaking most of the expenses for the church construction. The church was built from 1880 to 1885 and upon completion was dedicated to San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint chosen by their benefactors, Don Miguel and Dona Carmen. (They were given the privilege to choose the patron saint.)
The belfry was built as a separate structure just a few meters infront of the church. It used to have a huge bell made of alloy silver and gold. The original bell had a diameter of about a meter and a height of more than four feet, resonating far yonder as the town of Dumangas. For a long time, the bell warned the natives of approaching Moro raids.
The church was enclosed with a massive stone fence designed to make it difficult for the attacking Moros to enter the compound. However, one time when Moros raided Navalas, they managed to enter the compound and stole the bell. On the way, perhaps finding it too massive and heavy to carry, they decided to throw it to the sea, somewhere near the Siete Pecados islands.
In 1970, the church structure was reinforced with concrete, then it underwent renovation in 1979. Today, only the façade remains “untouched”. The church interior including the ceilings were already renovated. The church façade was patterned after the façade of Jaro Cathedral. You can visualize the similarities if you “remove” the terrace of Our Lady of Candelaria and the new belfry. This is why some people refer to Guimaras Church as Junior Jaro Cathedral.
Address: Buenavista, Guimaras
Directions: about 45 minutes to 1 hour ride from Alubihod
Area For Day Trippers @ Raymen Beach Resort
It is not uncommon to see day trippers in Guimaras since travel time from Iloilo City is only about 15 minutes. Tourists do not always check in and stay overnight in a beach resort.
As I walked to the beach area of Raymen Beach Resort, I noticed a lot of cottages within the compound. I learned that these were intended for day trippers who considered Raymen Beach the ideal place for swimming, lounging and playing beach sports/games. This is because it has tranquil, clean and clear waters, and fine pinkish-beige sand. It also offers a beautiful panoramic view of the islets, with colorful paraws occasionally sailing by. There are shower rooms and facilities for cooking food, barbecue/grilling and washing utensils.
Address: Raymen Resort, Alubihod, Poblacion, Guimaras
On the way to Raymen, I was surprised why the owner of our multicab (who "volunteered" to be our guide) stopped by the roadside. He pointed to Jordan's Plaza which reportedly earned the title of SMALLEST PLAZA in the Guinness Book of World Records. I wondered why it wasn't included in the list of tourist destinations that I've read about Guimaras. It turned out, another country beat its world record. However, it remains to be the smallest plaza in the Philippines.
Featured in the Plaza is a small statue of Dr. Jose Rizal, our national hero. Actually, it really looks more like a monument rather than a Plaza.
Address: Jordan, Guimaras
Directions: along the national road
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