Sunday, October 25, 2009

The island province of Guimaras

Hopping off from my church hopping sightseeing yesterday, I woke up early today for a day trip to a nearby island - the province of Guimaras. I checked out from where I was staying, rode a jeepney and got off near the Ortiz Wharf where I boarded a motorboat for Guimaras (PHP13).

Boats regularly ply this route of Ortiz, Iloilo - Jordan, Guimaras. The 15-minute boat ride I took was refreshing an uneventful and before I knew it, I was already in Guimaras.

From Jordan Wharf, I rode a jeepney to San Miguel Market (PHP12) and transferred for Our Lady of the Philippines Trappist Abbey, also fondly called locally as Trappist Monastery, via tricycle ride (PHP25). It is the only men's monastery of the Cisterian Order in the Philippines.

The grounds of the monastery is vast and walking through the place gives a peaceful and serene feeling to visitors. Cisterian monasteries are usually located in quite, remote and peaceful places to preserve living of life simple and hidden.


the abbey church

inside the church

Walking around the grounds, I met Bro. Peter whom I learned is tasked to welcome guests in the monastery. I had a half an hour discussion with him on how things work around here as well as contemplations about life. Later on, he invited me to a small house nearby where he was making charcoal.

me and Bro. Peter

Time's up! I rarely noticed that I've stayed more than 2 hours in the monastery but then I had to move on and bade goodbye to Bro Peter. I left and boarded a jeepney to Nueva Valencia (PHP20). For my next destination. Upon arriving in Nueva Valencia however, I realized the jeepney would not take me nearby where I wanted to go so I hired a motorcycle to bring me to Guisi Point. I was dropped off the entrance but for some reason, no one was around so I just continued and went inside without paying the entrance fee. It was a 5-minute trek from the road to the lighthouse.

Guisi Point is a local attraction where one can find ruins of an 18th century lighthouse, and a more recently built one.

This logo says Caminos Canales Puertos. Researching further, and comparing the logo, it seems to refer to a school in Spain, Caminos, Canales y Puertos.

view of the old lighthouse from inside the ruins

the newer lighthouse

the complete view of the old lighthouse

ruins around the lighthouse

Writings and vandalisms on the old lighthouse. One can see the staircase leading to the top but I didn't dare climb up!

On my way down the road where the motorcycle was waiting me, I saw a beautiful view of the beach. It was pristine and untouched! With the help of the motorcycle driver, I was able to find a way to get down to the shore area.

on the way down...

view from the shore

On the way down, I was discussing with the driver as to which beach resort I can stay for the rest of the day before I head down back to Iloilo City for my flight. He suggested Alobijod Cove in Guimaras which is half an hour away from the lighthouses. We negotiated and agreed to pay him PHP200 to include the trip all the way to Alobijod.

The place has facilities for day trippers and rooms who would like to stay overnight. Initially I negotiated for a day use of an airconditioned room for PHP600. Unfortunately no room was available yet and I was asked to wait. I left my things at the reception and went around the area first.

open-air cottages

I then went to the beach side and checked out the shore area.

It was a very sunny day and the beauty of a calm sea and white sand today was very inviting.

There were not a lot of people in the area even if it is a weekend. It is better this way I thought so that the local community can still preserve the place for too much commercialism.

Alas! I gave up the control and gave in to the temptation. I changed clothes and went off for some dipping at the beach. It was past lunch time when I came back. Unfortunately no room was available yet so I rented for a small cottage instead (PHP150).

As I was already hungry, before I rested in the cottage, I ordered for food and the only fish they have is bangus (milkfish). I had it grilled and asked for steamed rice (all for PHP115). Half an hour later, the food came and it was a very fulfilling lunch feast!


An hour or so after, I just rested and took a nap then went off for the Jordan Wharf (around half an hour away) to catch a motorboat back to Iloilo City again via a motorcycle. On the way, I asked if we can pass by some to buy mangoes. Guimaras is also known to produce some of the best mangoes in the country but since it isn't harvest season yet, there weren't much vendors selling mangoes. Somewhere along the way we passed by one selling mangoes for PHP60/kilo, bought 6 kilos of them and have all of it boxed up.

the mangoes

Half an hour later I was sitting on a motorboat already bound for Iloilo City. I had to bid goodbye to this very short trip but promised myself that I will be back.

Back in Iloilo City, I arrived in Ortiz Wharf and hailed a jeepney (PHP7) bound for SM City Iloilo where I boarded a shuttle to the airport (PHP70).

It was still early when I arrived so I had to wait a couple of hours.

gate information

Before total darkness ate the sky, I was already on the plane and bound for Manila. I can't believe this short getaway weekend will take me to lots of places and neither did I plan to cross the sea and go to Guimaras, but I'm sure glad I did that today. The last glimpse of the province by the plane window showed a beautiful sunset scene.


Ian | GoingRoamingWandering said...

Wow,you actually savor the Iloilo-Guimaras trip! Guimaras shouldn't be miss when you visit Iloilo because of its proximity, beaches and mangoes. I'm alsodreaming doing an Iloilo-Guimaras trip... if you have a longer stay in Guimaras it is good to try island hopping and seeing Isla Naburot - the famous resort in Guiamaras...

Pinoy Adventurista said...

naalala ko tuloy ang aming adventure sa Guimaras... given a chance, babalikan kong muli ang Guimaras... thanks for sharing,,

beach goddess said...

I recommend Kuya Michael he is Tourist guide/ Tricycle driver/Multicab Driver(for big groups)/ Photographer, when visiting Guimaras. He is reliable and honest. Feel free to call him next time you visit Guimaras. He will fetch you on time at Jordan Wharf and greeted you with his warm smile. Here is the Contact no. of Kuya Michael Selorico -- 0908 324 6835.

Unknown said...

Same itinerary :) thanks also @beach goddess. Kuya Micheal is our tour guide we really enjoy guimaras. Contact him if you plan going there...:) Michael Selorico 0908 324 6835/09773725074