See the best of Guimaras in ONE DAY
I have to say, one of the most underrated places in the Philippines is the island province of Guimaras. Having been there some seven years ago, I think it has become so much more beautiful now and one will be able to see more of what the province has because roads have now been paved for faster land travel in the mainland.
There are no airports in Guimaras yet (I think there would be no need to have one for now), so you will have to take a short boat ride from either Iloilo City (Iloilo) or Pulupandan (Negros Occidental) to get there. I recently went on a trip to Iloilo and decided to take a daytrip to Guimaras, as it is only a 15-minute boat ride away.
Guimaras is quite small and you'll be able to see all the famous tourist spots in just a day. I was searching for some blogs that may be able to help me design a comprehensive itinerary for a Guimaras daytrip from Iloilo, but most of the articles I found did not really give me what I was looking for. Now, a couple of friends sent me private messages asking for my itinerary -- they probably fell in love with the beautiful picturesque views that I posted in my Instagram stories, all are legit #nofilter!
Here's a suggested itinerary that you may use for a one-day trip to the beautiful Guimaras island:
7:30AM - Be at Ortiz Wharf in Iloilo City (taxis are pretty easy to get by around Iloilo City) and purchase your boat ticket going to Jordan Wharf in Guimaras. It should cost PHP 14.00.
The boat leaves as soon as it gets full; there are no fixed schedules. I think they start operations at 5:30AM, so you can leave Iloilo City a bit earlier if you're the early riser type!
7:30AM-7:45AM - Buy tickets, fill out some forms, board your boat
7:45AM-8:00AM - Boat ride to Jordan Wharf
8:00AM-8:10AM - Go to the Municipal Tourism Office to get a clearance form and ask the officer-in-charge for recommendations of itineraries and tricycle drivers to take you around.
Well good news, you won't need to do that anymore -- I did that for you already, so you only have to read up. :P (PS. Much of your time will be spent in transit as the destinations are quite far from one another so budget your time wisely. I recommend 10-15 minutes per place. Also, you'll be inside a tricycle and some roads are really rough and rocky. Wear something comfortable, take a bag/backpack that you can easily carry (don't bring plenty of things), and bring medicines in case you're the type that gets dizzy easily.)
The officer-in-charge at the Tourism Office referred us to a trike driver/tour guide, who had been so amazing and so kind to us, I promised him I will include him in my blog! You may get in touch with him: ISAGANI TANUTAN (+63 918 450 2025). The tricycle tour for one whole day should not cost more than PHP 1,500.00.
8:15AM-8:20AM - Take a photo in the Jordan signage! Nothing much to see and do there, just a quick picture-taking.
8:25AM-8:30AM - Smallest Plaza (Jordan, Guimaras). Used to hold a Guinness World Record for being the smallest plaza in the world! It is really small though, probably just around 50sqm!
8:30AM-9:15AM - Travel time to Roca Encantada. This is a 45- to 50-minute travel time.
9:15AM-9:30AM - Bask in the picturesque views of Roca Encantada (Buenavista, Guimaras)! Spectacular views in all of the balconies -- such a feast for the eyes!
9:30AM-9:40AM - Travel time to Navalas Church
9:40AM-9:55AM - Explore and take photos in Navalas Church (Buenavista, Guimaras). One of the oldest churches in Visayas!
9:55AM-10:35AM - Travel time to Guimaras Windmills
10:35AM-10:50AM - Stay and marvel in the beautiful 360-degree view in the view deck of Guimaras Windmills (San Lorenzo, Guimaras)! I've never seen windmills ever in my life, so it was a wonderful experience for me!
10:50AM-11:20AM - Travel time to The Pitstop Restaurant
11:20AM-12:10PM - Lunch at The Pitstop Restaurant (Jordan, Guimaras). Try their famous mango pizza!!! (I mean, it's just so-so for me, but you still gotta try it!)
12:10PM-12:20PM - Travel time to the NMRDC
12:20PM-12:30PM - Marvel at SO. MANY. mango trees in the National Mango Research and Development Center (Jordan, Guimaras). So many! They make sure to keep and maintain their mangoes at the best possible quality so mangoes from outside Guimaras are prohibited to be brought in.
12:30PM-12:40PM - Travel time to The Trappist Abbey
12:40PM-12:55PM - Take time to meditate and enjoy the calmness and peace at The Trappist Abbey (Jordan, Guimaras). It's a small church with a souvenir shop where you can get some goodies from!
12:55PM-1:30PM - Travel time to Guisi Lighthouse
1:30PM-1:50PM - Witness some history with an amazing view of the sea in Guisi Lighthouse (Nueva Valencia, Guimaras). Stay for a bit longer for fresh buko (coconut) juice! Their buko juice tastes sweeter than those in the city; they say the juice of the coconut fruit is sweeter when the trees are closer to the waters.
1:50PM-2:00PM - Travel time to the resorts in Alubihod Beach
2:00PM-4:15PM - Beach time! Enjoy the beautiful Alubihod Beach! We stayed in Alubihod Cove Resort (Nueva Valencia, Guimaras), from our tour guide's recommendation.
4:15PM-4:45PM - Travel time to the Guimaras Provincial Capitol
4:45PM-4:50PM - Picture-taking at the Guimaras signage at the Guimaras Provincial Capitol, just because!
4:50PM-5:15PM - Ask your tricycle driver about the places where you can buy souvenir! BUY GUIMARAS MANGOES!!! I repeat: Buy. Guimaras. Mangoes! This is one thing that you should not miss. Take home some of the world's best mangoes!
5:15PM-5:20PM - Travel time to Jordan Wharf
5:20PM-5:30PM - Buy tickets to Ortiz Wharf, fill out forms, board your boat. Say goodbye to the beautiful Guimaras!
5:30PM - Back to Iloilo City, just in time for sunset. <3
Optional to insert Holy Family Hills after Guimaras Windmills on your way to The Pitstop Restaurant, if you wish to see life-size religious images.
Guimaras is one of those must-see places in the Philippines; I hope more and more people will be able to experience its beauty and have a taste of the best mangoes in the world!
Hope you will be able to find my recommendations helpful; have a pleasant stay in Guimaras and experience what we really mean when we say, "It's more fun in the Philippines" :)