Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Rush of Guimaras

Straight from the Iloilo airport after dropping our luggage to the hotel, we headed to the Ortiz wharf to board the boats that will take us to Guimaras island province. Boat fare is only P13 for adults and P12 for kids. The boat has capacity of 45 passengers, and we were seated at wooden benches below the life jackets that hang on the ceiling.

The boat trip took only 15 minutes to Jordan port, where tourists are asked to register and assisted on their transport needs by the lady in the small tourist counter. Public transport around Guimaras has infrequent trips, while jeep rental of P1000 and multicab rental of P800 are too much for us, so I decided to rent a tricycle for P500 with my 2 kids. 

The roads are generally fine with few bumpy parts. Before we went to Alubihod beach, we took our breakfast at one of the food stalls in the port, where we had our first taste of batchoy in the Visayas region.

I chose Raymen's resort as jump off point to island hopping after paying P10 entrance fee for adults and P5 fee for kids. The resort has small beachfront and I find their cottages too close against each other, but they seem to be organized. Boat rental starts at P400 on first hour, then P150 for each succeeding hour.

Our first stop was the Lawi Marine Turtle sanctuary, where for 10 pesos, guests can hold the turtles that they nurture while undergoing treatments from wounds and illnesses caught in the wild. I asked one staff if those turtles gets stressed with those handlings whenever there are tourists, but he replied that the turtles are used to it. We also saw some varieties of puffer fish on one floating cage.

Second stop was one of the small caves on the group of islands, where we saw bats clinging to stalactites, and a sea snake diving deep into the water. We passed the Baras island with seaside huts of the resort, but we didn't tried the beach there. 

Third stop was the undeveloped Ave Maria islet with its clear water and fine cream-colored sand. We saw some fishes swimming in its shallow waters, as well as a few corals. If this beach didn't have stones and corals that could hurt our feet, we could have lingered there for more than 30 minutes. With a lot of areas cordoned off as marine sanctuary, I'm sure that those few tourists I saw snorkeling are having a goodtime with many variety of fishes and corals in selected areas.

Final stop in our island hopping is the SEAFDEC research center where they study and breed some sea creatures. Adults pay P25 entrance fee while the kids can enter free. The staff showed us their 3 huge garoupa/grouper, estimated to weigh at least 80 kg each after keeping them for 18 years now. 

The kids were also allowed to feed the other fishes in their floating cages like the snapper, pampano, wild milkfish, etc. It was also our first time to see and hold abalones in person, and the kids enjoy the tickling sensation while the expensive gourmet shellfish crawls in their hands. The facility also has houses perched on the small islands where guests can stay for P250 per night.

We were back at Raymen's resort after 2.5 hours and paying P625 to the boatmen, plus P100 tip. It was already lunchtime, but there were too many guests on the resorts' cottages and small beach, so we looked for someplace to eat. Good thing that our boatman directed us to a small eatery just outside the resort, where most locals eat. 

Our lunch meal costed us only P102 total with 2 viands and 3 large portions of rice plus a cold soda drink. Later, a pair of guest from the resort also went to the eatery, but the eatery's food had almost ran out.

Since the kids don't want to swim under the noon heat and wants to rest, we decided to go back to our hotel in Iloilo so that they could freshen up and take a nap. Along the way, we stopped at their famous Trappist Monastery where we bought some cheap souvenirs, cookies, otap, and biscocho with mango flavors. Unfortunately, it was not mango season so we cannot sample the taste of world-famous Guimaras mangoes.   

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  1. Just the basic Guimaras and you only took half of the day. Your second photo is among the most photgraphs formation hehehe. I also have the same one hehehe.
    Good thing you kids are "brave" enough to step out of the boat in side the cave hehehe.
    Hope you enjyoed yoru trip

  2. The kids are already tired so we have to get back to Iloilo asap. If we are all adults, I might have brought them to Guisi beach and lighthouse, as well as in other Guimaras attractions.

    There are many nice rock and island formations in Guimaras, although not as awesome as in Palawan.

    Kids got confident to step inside the cave when they saw me walking inside it. We all enjoyed the adventure. Thanks for your tips at Pinoy Exchange, hehe.

  3. no problem.
    yup medyo tame lang ang Guimaras compared to other destinations. But the good hting is malapit lang pwedeng balikan.
    brave kids nga kasi nugn kami that time yung mga matatanda na takot pang bumaba ng boat hehehe.

  4. hello! my friends and I will be visiting guimaras this October.

    You mentioned about an overnight stay at SEAFDEC for 250/night. is that for the whole house? We were planning on staying at Baras, but if that's for real, we can probably stay at SEAFDEC na lang! :)

  5. Lovel,

    The P250/night at SEAFDEC islet houses are for each person per night. They have kitchen facility on each house so you can bring food to cook there. You can also buy fishes from SEAFDEC's floating cages, from fishermen, or you can do your own angler (hook and line) fishing for free food and another adventure on itself.

    Compared with Baras, there's no beachfront in SEAFDEC islets, so you have to rent a fishing boat to take you to a beach or do snorkeling. They have electricity, but I don't know if they have TV set and refrigerator in the houses. Just google their website if you want to stay there.

    Enjoy your Guimaras trip!

  6. Hello. We are planning to visit guimaras on Feb.1, 2010. We originally have the bacolod trip but as I search the net, It seems that the bacolod citys attractions is very minimal. So my husband and I decided to have a side trip in Iloilo and guimaras. I just want to ask you if the fare in tricycle which is P500 is a round trip or not? From guimaras port vice versa? What are the tourist attractions are included besides the alubihod beach trip in riding the tricycle? I hope you could help us to know the price in renting a tricycle or multicab. And one more thing what is the number of the guimaras port. thanks so much

  7. Sorry it's Feb. 1, 2011... Thanks again

  8. Hi! The trike, multicab, and jeepney fares I indicated above are all round trip rental fees from Guimaras port to Alubihod. We gave a tip of P100 though to the tricycle for waiting for us.

    I don't know the number in Guimaras port, and I never saw a land phone in the area. There is Guisi beach and lighthouse, which is farther than Alubihod, and has some rough roads based on feedbacks. Enjoy Guimaras!

  9. Thank you for your reply. It will help us a lot...

  10. Hi.. nice blog! ;) just wanna ask the trike rental for taking you to Guimaras and other sidetrips. Is it back and forth? How much did you pay for the boat?

  11. At Guimaras tourist kiosk, they have fixed rental fees for trike, multicab, and jeepneys, for each destination within the island. Going to Alubihod beach from Jordan port, the trike rental per way is P250 or P500 if round trip. Island hopping boat rental starts at P400 on first hour, then P150 for every succeeding hour.

  12. i was there last dec at raymen beach resot..i really enjoy the place especially the island hopping..i really enjoy it.. i have plan to come back again to go another place at guimaras... guimaras are not expensive unlike boracay and also not crawded.. so peaceful and relaxing.. good place for honeymoon..

  13. Totally agree, Guimaras is less crowded and inexpensive than Boracay or Bohol's Panglao island.

    If only they could improve the public transport system for tourists, they would attract more visitors.