1000-Peso Challenge: Guimaras
GUIMARAS – also known as the Philippines’ Mango Capital, is also one of the smallest provinces in the Philippines. Being the 28th province on my Project 81 provinces, this island is more to mangoes and another #1000PesoChallenge awaits!
See also: Things to do in Cebu during a layover
Guimaras: PH’s Mango Universe
Formerly a sub-province of Iloilo, the island is situated between the Panay and Negros islands on the Iloilo Strait. Known around the world for its sweet mangoes, the island province is more to that! Just 15 minutes away from mainland Panay (Iloilo), you can now explore Philippines’ “mango universe.” Thousands of mango trees (some even dating back hundreds of years) sprawl throughout the island and serves as one of the island’s main industries, alongside tourism. Its accessibility makes it easier for tourists to explore the island.
My interest to this province sparked a long time ago when I have heard that they produce the world’s sweetest mangoes. They even hold the world record for having such!
The 1000-Peso Challenge
As my blog “regular,” the 1000-peso challenge aims to test whether you can spend PhP 1000 or less in a destination. Talk about frugality, read along and see if I survived spending PhP 1000 (or less!)
San Lorenzo Wind Farm (FREE)
Scattered around the municipality of San Lorenzo, the present 27 turbines (out of 54) in Guimaras became a huge tourist draw. Little do people know, too, that these windmills provide 54 Megawatts of electricity providing alternative energy to the island (where it is also claimed to have the most expensive electricity in the world). You can actually go near the windmills and snap a photo!
Roca Encantada (PhP 50 (US$ 1))
Literally meaning “Enchanted Rock,” this tourist destination in Buenavista is a Heritage House declared by the National Historical Institute in 2002. Built atop a rocky hill, this house, though modern with its façade, this former rest house of the Lopezes has a generous view of the Iloilo Strait and personally, it is synonymous to paradise. You can stroll around the property (with a beach nearby) but guests are not allowed to go inside the house itself.
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Believed to be the oldest structure on the island, the Navalas Church (a.k.a. St. Isidore the Worker Parish) was built in the late 19th century (circa 1880) and is made from corals and stone. Fenced by stone walls with a watchtower on its front garden, it served as a stronghold during the Spanish colonial period. To date, its facade is only what remains original and its interiors were renovated through the years. Its original belfry on the watchtower was stolen by Muslim raiders and believed to be submerged near Isla del Siete Pecados in the waters of Guimaras. The church can be reached in 5 minutes from Roca Encantada and 40 minutes away from McArthur Wharf.
Museo de Guimaras (FREE)
Built in 2006, Museo de Guimaras is the house of the province’s anthropological, archaeological, geological, and artistic riches. The museum is located just right beside the Provincial Capitol. Unfortunately, when we went here, the museum was closed (I’m not sure when it opened fully to the public) and there are renovations going on inside.
Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Plant Industries (FREE)
This facility is only one of the two agricultural centers of the Bureau of Plant Industries in the Visayas. This plantation is also known as the Guimaras National Crop Research, Development, and Production Support Center. Here you’ll see hundreds if not, thousands of mango trees bearing fruits. It is also where mango trees are cultivated and grown for commercial and research purposes. They also sell and distribute quality planting materials. You can visit the plantation daily, you just have to register upon entering. Note, too, that importing mangoes to Guimaras is strictly prohibited!
Guisi Lighthouse and Guisi Beach (PhP 20 (US$ 0.39))
One of the more interesting places in Nueva Valencia, the Guisi Lighthouse dates back to the late 19th century (between 1894-1896) where this served as a guide for the mariners navigating along the Iloilo and Guimaras Straits in the southwestern part of the island. Formerly known as Faro de Punta Luzaran, this octagonal lighthouse is made purely of iron and is still standing up to this date. Today, there is a more modern lighthouse standing just right beside it. The structures surrounding the lighthouse are that of Spanish architecture bringing you a nostalgia of what the lighthouse felt like before.
One of the famous landmarks in the island and just a few steps away from the lighthouse is the calm Guisi Beach. Because of its location, the waves are much calmer and perfect for people who want to just relax. Its pristine white sand and interesting rock formations make it more interesting to visit. On a clear day, you can see mainland Panay from afar.
Trappist Monastery (FREE entrance, depends if you’ll buy souvenirs)
The only all-male monastery in the Philippines, the Trappist Monastery (a.k.a. Our Lady of the Philippines Monastery) is also known in the island for their home-made products that tourists love to buy. When we visited this place, we were welcome in total silence and I felt very peaceful roaming around the area. The monks here are also known for their strict austerity and follows the rule of Saint Benedict / Cistercian Order.
The monks make products such as jellies, jams, local delicacies such as otap and biscocho (out of mangoes and other fruits), and other souvenirs and religious articles that will make you remember Guimaras. The monastery is also available for retreats or if you just want to find your inner peace. The souvenir store hours are 0800 – 1600 H (Monday-Friday), 0730-1600 H (Saturday), and 0600 – 1600 H (Sunday). They can also be contacted on the following information:
(Contact Person: Fr. Bruno Mendoza)
|+63 928 502 4756 / +63 927 463 4465 / +63 918 421 2852|
|Phone Numbers:||(Landline) +63 33 581 3385
(Fax) +63 33 581 3468
The Pitstop Restaurant (Depends on food items bought)
Probably the most popular restaurant in the island, Pitstop is home to the famous “Mango Pizza.” Spell y-u-m-m-y! As Guimaras is the home to the sweetest mangoes, this restaurant took advantage of it and made a twist and serves probably everything that is mango – from spaghetti, shakes, and even catsup! They use Carabao Mango (the sweetest in the world) in their products earning them the distinction of to go-to restaurant on the island.
Unfortunately, when we were there, there were no mango pizzas available! (A reason for me to go back to this island!) We then tried their coke mango and steaks to make it up for the mango pizza.
|Main Branch:||Chavez Building, Guimaras Circumferential Road, Jordan, Guimaras|
|Telephone Number:||+63 33 581 2310|
|Business Hours:||0700 – 2000 H, Daily|
Guimaras Provincial Capitol (FREE)
The seat of the government of the island, the Guimaras Capitol also is becoming a popular tourist attraction. Not only because of its simple facade and architecture, it is also where you will find the giant letters of “GUIMARAS” that is perfect for your Instagram feed!
As seen on their official website, “Guimaras as the agri-eco-tourism capital of the region with empowered, self-reliant, resilient and healthy families in a progressive economy and safe environment anchored on the principles of sustainable development.”
Smallest Plaza (FREE)
Probably the smallest plaza in the Philippines, the “Smallest Plaza” in Jordan is a must-visit site, too. It once earned such title in the Guinness Book of World Records. The plaza features a statue of Dr. Jose Rizal, the country’s national hero.
Few minutes from Jordan port, you will reach the first tourist drawer of the island. The circular-porched plaza is an attraction on its own and might as well drop by and take a photo!
Mango Vendors (Depends on food items bought)
Your Guimaras tour would definitely not be complete if you will not buy mangoes! Mangoes are the main product of the island and can only be purchased for as low as PhP 100 per kilo if it is in season. When I bought a bunch of mangoes during my visit last August, their price was not lower than P 250 per kilo as it is the lean season and only a few mangoes are harvested. Due to its popularity, some accounts claim that Guimaras mangoes are served in the White House and the Buckingham Palace. You can also visit the island during their Manggahan Festival that happens every April or May.
|1500 – 1515 H||Iloilo Parola Wharf – Jordan Wharf|
|1515 – 1600 H||Travel time (to The Clara Beach)|
|1600||Check in at The Clara Beach (San Lorenzo)|
|1605 – onwards||Rest, wander around the resort|
|0800 – 0830 H||Travel Time (Clara Beach – San Lorenzo Wind Farm)|
|0830 – 0845 H||San Lorenzo Wind Farm (San Lorenzo)|
|0845 – 0915 H||Travel Time (San Lorenzo Wind Farm – Roca Encantada)|
|0915 – 0945 H||Roca Encantada (Buenavista)|
|0945 – 0950 H||Travel Time (Roca Encantada – Navalas Church)|
|0950 – 1000 H||Navalas Church (Buenavista)|
|1000 – 1015 H||Travel Time (Navalas Church – Museo de Guimaras)|
|1015 – 1030 H||Museo de Guimaras (Jordan)|
|1030 – 1040 H||Travel Time (Museo de Guimaras – Bureau of Plant Industries)|
|1040 – 1100 H||Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industries (Jordan)|
|1100 – 1130 H||Travel Time (Bureau of Plant Industries – Guisi Lighthouse)|
|1130 – 1200 H||Guisi Point Lighthouse (Nueva Valencia)|
|Guisi Beach (Nueva Valencia)|
|1200 – 1230 H||Travel Time (Guisi Lighthouse – Trappist Monastery)|
|1230 – 1300 H||Trappist Monastery (Jordan)|
|1300 – 1315 H||Travel Time (Trappist Monastery – Pitstop)|
|1315 – 1430 H||The Pitstop Restaurant (Jordan)|
|1430 – 1435 H||Travel Time (Pitstop – Guimaras Capitol)|
|1435 – 1445 H||Guimaras Provincial Capitol (Jordan)|
|1445 – 1500 H||Travel Time (Guimaras Capitol – Smallest Plaza)|
|1500 – 1515 H||Smallest Plaza (Jordan)|
|1515 – 1530 H||Travel Time (look for sidewalk mango vendors)|
|1530 – 1545 H||Mango Ambulant Vendors – pasalubong buying (Jordan)|
*Places you can also visit: Alubihod Beach, Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) Igang Marine Station, Island Hopping (Turtle Island (Natago Beach), Ave Maria Island, Baras Cave), Guimaras Wonder’s Farm, Sad-Sad Falls, Buho Ramirez Cave, Tatlong Pulo Beach,
|Iloilo Parola Wharf – Jordan Wharf (Boat Fare)||PhP 14 (US$ 0.27)|
|The Clara Beach (Check in, 1 night stay; PhP 494 for 2 pax per room, promo rate)||PhP 247 (US$ 4.85)|
|San Lorenzo Wind Farm (registration only)||FREE|
|Roca Encantada||PhP 50 (US$ 1)|
|Museo de Guimaras||FREE|
|DA – Bureau of Plant Industries Mango Plantations (registration only)||FREE|
|Guisi Lighthouse / Guisi Beach||PhP 10 or 20 (US$ 0.20 – 0.40)|
|Trappist Monastery (expenses depend on items bought)||(Depends)|
|The Pitstop Restaurant (expenses depend on items bought)||PhP 250 (Depends) (US$ 4.91)|
|Guimaras Provincial Capitol||FREE|
|Mango-buying (ambulant vendors)||P 250 (Depends) (US$ 4.91)|
|Tricycle tour (one day charge; PhP 1500 per day / 5 pax)||PhP 300 (US$ 5.89)|
|TOTAL||PhP 1131 (US$ 22.13) ~|
*Excludes other food and souvenir expenses
*This 1000-Peso Challenge is based on a group of six. Maximum capacity of a tricycle is 6 pax. My sample itinerary and expenses are based on a 2D1N itinerary, flexible, and to be discussed with the tricycle/tour driver.
TRAVEL GUIDE TO COMING GUIMARAS SOON! We’re born to travel!