The rugged coastline of Guimaras in Western Visayas, Philippines is framed by lush greenery staring out towards the sea that is riddled with alluring islets. This tiny province is synonymous with mangoes, with more or less 50,000 mango trees (some are over 100 years old) thriving on its fertile soil. But Guimaras is not only home to the world’s sweetest mangoes, it also overflows with natural attractions that lure both pleasure seekers and adventure travelers. This is why I’ve written this Guimaras travel guide blog to help you plan your trip!
HOW TO GET TO GUIMARAS
MANILA TO GUIMARAS VIA ILOILO
From Manila, airlines such as Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific fly daily to Iloilo City. From Iloilo City, you may take a cab to the wharf of your choice (Ortiz Wharf or Parola Wharf).
Ortiz Wharf (Iloilo to Jordan)
This is the typical port used by tourists since the boat ride to Jordan Wharf in Guimaras only takes 15 minutes. Fare is Php 14 (as of 2015).
At Jordan Wharf, there is a tourism office (in the new building) where you need to register (for free). You can ask for a tourist map to help you in getting around.
Iloilo to Guimaras Boat Schedule (Ortiz Wharf)
The boat from Iloilo city to Jordan leaves every 15 minutes from 5:30 AM to 7:30 PM daily. Meanwhile, the boat from Jordan to Iloilo, leaves every 15 minutes from 6:30 AM to 6:30 PM daily.
You can also charter a boat that can accommodate up to 15 people from Jordan to Iloilo or vice versa. Prepare around Php 500 to Php 570 (one way).
At the port, there are several tricycle drivers that offer land tours around Guimaras. Standard rate is Php 1,200 – Php 1, 500. Otherwise, if you just wish to be taken to your hotel or resort, the usual rate to Nueva Valencia (where most resorts are located) is Php 250 (one way).
Tricycle drivers in Guimaras are generally kind and helpful, so I will not write down a specific contact number here to give chance to all drivers in the island.
The boat to Buenavista (Guimaras) from Parola Wharf (Iloilo) leaves every 15 minutes from 5:30 A.M to 7:30 PM. Fare is Php 14.
NEGROS OCCIDENTAL TO GUIMARAS
Take a ferry at Pulupandan Wharf in Pulupandan to San Lorenzo, Guimaras. Travel time is Php 45 and fare is Php 75. Ferry leaves 5 times a day. Alternatively, you can also ride a ferry at Valladollid Wharf to Nueva Valencia. Travel time is 2 hours, fare is Php 150 and the ferry leaves daily.
CEBU TO GUIMARAS VIA ILOILO
Take a ferry or fast craft to Iloilo from Cebu City. Once you’re in Iloilo, head to Ortiz wharf and take a ferry to Jordan, Guimaras.
GETTING AROUND IN GUIMARAS
BY JEEP or MULTICAB
For travelers on a tight budget, it is possible to commute (take a multi-cab or jeep ) in Guimaras, but take note that the jeep only leaves once full and the frequency is not reliable. So if you are pressed for time, I won’t recommend this. I only did this because my good friend, Marcos de Tourist of Explore Iloilo (who is very familiar with Guimaras as he is an Ilonggo) showed me around that time.
For large groups, better to rent a multi-cab to tour around Guimaras. Inquire at the tourism office about the standard rate for chartering a multi-cab for a day.
Most tourists here take the tricycle for land tour around Guimaras. Rate is standard – Php 1,200 but can go up to Php 1, 500 depending on the destination. Again, from Jordan or Buenavista Wharf to your hotel/resort on Nueva Valencia, one-way rate is usually Php 250.
PLACES TO SEE IN GUIMARAS
GUIMARAS LAND TOUR
Guimaras can be explored in two days, by land and by sea (island hopping). The drivers in Guimaras are used to tourists, they know where to take you, and as I mentioned earlier, they are generally kind and helpful. Guimaras is very safe for solo travelers. I traveled here alone during my first trip in 2010.
Here’s a list of the tourist attractions in Guimaras that you can visit during your land tour:
MANGO RESEARCH CENTER (Jordan)
SMALLEST PLAZA (Jordan)
TRAPPIST MONASTERY (Jordan)
MUSEO DE GUIMARAS (Jordan)
GUISI LIGHTHOUSE AND BEACH (Nueva Valencia)
ALUBIHOD BEACH (Nueva Valencia)
Other places to visit in Guimaras by land (not part of the standard tricycle tour)
GUIMARAS WINDMILLS (San Lorenzo Wind Farm)
ROCA ENCANTADA (Buenavista)
NAVALAS CHURCH (Buenavista)
GUIMARAS ISLAND HOPPING TOURS
The standard rate for Island Hopping in Guimaras is:
PHP 400 / USD 8 for the first hour and PHP 150 / USD 3 every succeeding hour. Boat is good for 6 people.
PHP 500 / USD 10 for the first hour and PHP 150 / USD 3 for every succeeding hour. Boat is good for 10 pax.
From Jordan port, you can hire a tricycle to Raymen Beach Resort where you can rent a boat for island hopping. Or you can also charter a tricycle to Brgy. San Roque to avail of the island hopping which is part of their eco-tourism program.
The typical island hopping tour covers the following islands/beaches:
Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC)
Ave Maria Island
Other islands to visit in Guimaras that are not part of the typical island hopping route:
OFF-BEAT GUIMARAS: ISLAND HOPPING IN SAN ROQUE
The community-based rural tourism (CBRT) program of San Roque in Nueva Valencia is now promoting 6 sustainable programs composed of eco-tourism, heritage tours and agri-tourism in largely uncharted barangays. The main advantage of San Roque over its much more visited neighbors is its remoteness, a solitude born out of the lack of paved roads to the mainland. Because it is far less developed, wildlife still thrives on many areas here.
How to get to San Roque, Guimaras
You may take a jeep (leaves every 6 AM) at Jordan Wharf or charter a tricycle to take you to Brgy.San Roque, travel time is about 45 minutes.
Rates of Tour Package in San Roque, Guimaras
PHP 800 / USD 15.93 for 2 hours with local guides
PHP 150 / USD 3 for every succeeding hour
PHP 75 / USD 1. 49 for succeeding hour for local guide
Local Entertainment (Optional) – PHP 300 /USD 4
WHERE TO STAY IN GUIMARAS
New Site, San Miguel,Jordan, Jordan, Guimaras Island
Raymen Beach Resort
Sitio Alubihod, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras Island
Jannah Glycel Beach House
Talisay, Nueva Valencia, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras Island
|DAY 1 :||LAND TOUR|
|8:00 AM||Arrival in Iloilo.|
|9:00 AM||Head to Ortiz Wharf for Jordan|
|9:30 AM||Arrival in Jordan, Guimaras|
|10:00 AM||Start of Guimaras Land Tour : Smallest Plaza, Museu de Guimaras, Mango Research Center, Trappist Monastery, Alubihod Beach, Guisi Beach and Lighthouse|
|5:00 PM||Resort check-in.|
|Day 2:||ISLAND HOPPING|
|7:00 AM||Start of Island Hopping Tour : SEAFDEC, Turtle Island, Ave Maria Island, Baras Cave and Beach, Fairy Castle, Isla Naburot|
|12:00 PM||Lunch (Note: You need to bring your own food and drinks during the island hopping tour as it is not part of the island hopping rate)|
|01:00 PM||Continue Island Hopping|
|06:00 PM||Back to Resort|
WHERE TO BUY SOUVENIRS IN GUIMARAS
Guimaras mangoes at the market or at the fruit stands
Trappist Monastery Food Products
Witness the Manggahan Festival every third week of April.
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