Saturday, January 3, 2015

Iloilo and Guimaras Adventure - Part II

It was my first time to travel alone. And I traveled without any itinerary to follow.  When I boarded the Ceres bus from Kalibo, Aklan going to Iloilo, I prepared myself to be surprised. And the next two days turned out to be amazing.

AT LAST, GUIMARAS!

DECEMBER 28, 2014. I woke up at 7am and had my breakfast at the hotel. It was included in the fee. I asked the receptionist how to go to Ortiz Port (Iloilo) going to Jordan Port (Guimaras). I rode a jeepney (Php 7.50) and a pedicab going to Ortiz (Php 10). Along the way, I saw Robinsons Mall, Gaisano Mall, University of Iloilo, and Ateneo de Iloilo, among others. By the way, I saw countless Coffeebreak outlets in Iloilo City.


What I ate that day from amongst a variety of selection

At the port, I paid Php 14 for the 15-minute pumpboat ride from Iloilo to Guimaras. It was a peaceful sailing, except that the life vests were just hanging, and were not advised to be worn. Upon reaching the port, I went straight to the information center where I asked a tourism personnel for possible itinerary in Guimaras. I was told that there were a number of spots in Guimaras. I told the personnel that I would have to return to the port by 4pm and she customized an itinerary for me. She suggested that I took a registered tricycle driver cum tour guide (Kuya Joseph, who’s fluent in Tagalog) for Php 1,200, inclusive of eight spots. I would say that it’s one of the most “value for money” spending that I did.


The Port of Iloilo in Ortiz
Tricycle, Guimara-style (it has a seat for 2 at the back)


1st stop: Balaan Bukid, Balcon Melliza

The first stop was at the Balaan-Bukid, where there’s a station of the cross leading to a chapel and a cross atop a hill. The tricycle stopped at the fifth station and from there, we just walked to reach the summit. While climbing the hill, we were welcomed by the melodic rustling of leaves! At the summit, I relished the breathtaking view of Iloilo. I just loved the view from the top!

What an amazing welcome
it was!

The chapel at the summit

The Cross

Breathtaking view of Iloilo City

2nd stop: Smallest Plaza

The second stop was at the smallest plaza in Poblacion. I wasn’t sure why it was called smallest - it’s still pretty spacious, I believe. Of course, the monument of Rizal had to be in the plaza!

The Smallest Plaza

3rd stop: Jordan Main Town

We had our lunch at The Grillers, in the Main Town, San Miguel, where they serve the famous Mango Pizza. I ordered a 9-inch pizza at Php 219. It’s my lunch while Kuya Joseph had 2 sticks of barbecue and rice and drinks for Php 79, affordable, indeed!


The Grillers, where they serve the delicious...


Mango Pizza! It has thin slices of mango, topped with cheese, bell pepper and cashew nuts!


Before going to the 4th stop, we passed by the Provincial Capitol and Guimaras Museum.

The Guimaras Museum (just beside Guimaras Provincial Capitol)

4th Stop: Trappist Monastery

Next, we visited the Trappist Monastery where monks are housed. Nearby is a gift shop where tourists can buy pasalubong.

The Trappist Monastery

5th Stop: Mango Plantation

Guimaras is known for delicious mangoes. No wonder the province has a plantation dedicated for mangoes, and a research and development programs for mangoes. From afar, I asked Kuya Joseph to took a photo of me against the backdrop of mango plantation.


And that's me!


6th stop: Camp Alfredo

Camp Alfredo in Ravina, Sibunag was our 6th stop. The place boasts of a verdant environment with villas for rent. Apt for teambuildings, Camp Alfredo has zip line, obstacle courses, and an infinity pool. Entrance fee: Php 50.


Camp Alfredo 
Oh, how I want to stay in these houses!

One of the obstacle courses: hanging steps

7th stop: Guisi Lighthouse

A long drive from our last stop is Guisi Lighthouse that stands amidst the ruins of an old headquarters, I suppose. There were two lighthouses standing by each other. The dilapidated one, of course, is the better attraction for tourists. Entrance fee: Php 10.


The old, rusty, dilapidated light house



8th stop: Raymen Resort

Our last stop was at Raymen Resort, Sitio Alubijod. This is the best resort in town, as locals claim, as it has powdery sand similar to Boracay. Entrance fee is Php 25, but one needs to pay separate fee for the rooms and cottages.


The powdery sand of Raymen Resort

After around 30 minutes of savoring the view and breathing in the air, I returned to our tricycle and asked Kuya Joseph to bring me back to the port.

Along the way, I bought a kilo of mangoes (I just want to taste them) and Mango Piaya (first time to see such!) as pasalubong. I was happy to see other mango products, such as mango ketchup and mango sauce!

Mango Piaya



Mango products

We reached the port at around 4pm, I would be staying in Iloilo City – in a more affordable pension house – that night, and return to Aklan the next day.


Guimaras is divided into 5 towns, namely Jordan, Nueva Valencia, Sibunag,San Lorenzo and Buenavista, but I only went to the first three. There are still more to discover and explore next time. Gala pa more!


The Map of Guimaras and the places I visited! There's more to discover in this island!

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