Guimaras is south of Panay and north of Negros. It is close to Iloilo City and was once administered as part of Iloilo Province but is now treated as a separate province. It is one of the smaller provinces, with a land area just over 600 km2 (233 mi2) and population around 175,000 as of the 2015 census.
The island is well known for its sweet mangoes, which are one of the main income sources for most families.
Cities, Municipalities and IslandsEdit
Take a 15-minute boat ride from Iloilo City to Jordan, through the Guimaras Strait. Be careful, because there are two ports in Iloilo that have boats going to Guimaras. One goes to Buenavista and the other one is in Jordan. The port going to Jordan is in Ortiz (near SM Delgado and Robinson's Place) and can be reached by cab. As of August 2013, pumpboat fares going to Jordan cost ₱14.
The boat trip may be dangerous, as squalls (pugada or subasko in Hiligaynon) are known to form over the strait during rainy season, and on August 2019, over 30 died after three pump boats capsized under strong winds caused by a severe squall. There are also long-term plans to replace the boat service with a road bridge across the strait, with construction to start by 2020, while an interim roll-on/roll-off ferry service will replace the smaller wooden-hulled boats for the short term until the fixed link is completed.
Upon arriving in Jordan port, proceed to the Tourism Center just a few meters from the drop-off point. From there, you can ask for assistance about budget accommodations and how to get around. There are also several mini-van and tricycle drivers who offer tour rides.
There are several driver-guides who can be contacted prior to arriving in Guimaras:
- Lindon Monreal, ☏ .
- Balaan Bukid Shrine, Balaang Bukid Shrine Trail, Jordan. Hike to the 14 stations of the cross. Take a ferry bound for Jordan Wharf in Ortiz Port (Iloilo City). From Jordan Wharf, take a tricycle ride to the foot of Balaan Bukid. It's a 30-45 min hike to the top. During the Holy Week (Easter), there are special trips that transport visitors directly to the foot of Balaan Bukid.
- Guisi Light House. From Guisi Beach, follow a trail 15 minutes uphill to the Guisi Lighthouse for a great view of the beach. At the top of the hill are the ruins of a Spanish-colonial outpost and the rotting remains of the metal lighthouse structure.
- Trappist Monastery.
- Mango Plantations.
There is a souvenir shop located beside the Guimaras Provincial Capitol where you can buy local delicacies.
The best time to buy mangoes is during summer time (mid-April).
Guimaras' pride are is its mangoes which are known to be among the sweetest. Mangoes are grown in such massive numbers that they are made into dried mangoes, jam and surprisingly, mango ketchup.
- Valle Varde Mountain Resort, Ravina Norte Sibunag. Check-in: 1PM, check-out: noon. Fan double room with own bathroom. Has a nice swimming pool. ₱650 per day.
- J M Backpackers Hometel, JTM Building San Miguel. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. Fan double room with own bathroom and cable TV. ₱995 per night.
- Small Wings Pension Inn, Sam Miguel Jordan. Check-in: 1PM, check-out: noon. A/C double room with own bathroom and cable TV. ₱995 per night.
Nearly anyone leaving Guimaras will start with a ferry ride to Iloilo City. There are no other routes unless you have your own boat or charter one.
Iloilo has an airport, a seaport, and bus connections to anywhere on Panay. It serves as a regional transport hub; from there you can reach anywhere in the Philippines and there are a few international flights as well. One popular destination is the resort island of Boracay, just off Panay and reachable starting with a bus journey from Iloilo to Kalibo.
A short ferry ride from Iloilo gets you to Bacolod, capital of Negros Occidental; from there you can easily reach anywhere on Negros Island or continue to the main urban hub of the entire Visayas region, Metro Cebu.