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Holy G! The Guimaras Chronicles

The land of sweet mangoes (that’s not Cebu) has always been on my Must-visit-before-I-die-list. Last Holy Week without much research or planning, Guimaras treated me to a well-deserved R & R trip. On most vacations I usually do the planning, coordinating, etc so there’s a bit of “work” involved though fun nonetheless. My friend’s friend took care of our accommodations, itinerary and transportation which meant I could really RELAX!

How to get there:
Our starting point was the Ortiz Port in Iloilo. The funny thing is it didn’t look like a proper port; we were just following the people zigzagging through houses with our bags. Being the TV people that we were, we thought this would actually make for an interesting scene for a teleserye. The boat ride to the Jordan Pier in Guimaras was just 15 minutes though I don’t remember how much it cost; it was definitely less than P50. You’ll be asked to sign the tourist registration book upon your arrival at the pier. I loved that there’s a tourist help desk at the pier and prices are standardized – I felt safer. The multi-cab to your resort is P300-350 depending on the distance. It was a scenic 40 minute ride to our resort.

Accomodations:

We stayed at Kenyama Resort upon the recommendation of friends from Iloilo. The resort is owned by a Filipina and her Japanese husband. It has been running for just a couple of months and has 8 rooms only. We got the deluxe room (P3000) that had 2 twin beds, AC, ref, TV, hot and cold shower, safety deposit box and free breakfast for 2.

The resort sits on top of a hill which gives a beautiful view of the ocean but makes going to the beach quite challenging. Another drawback is it sits right next to a public beach so expect “massives” (hahaha a term I learned on the trip) AKA a lot of people by the shore.

The absolute good thing about Kenyama is the people. They were warm and easy to talk to; the typical Pinoy charm. It felt like we were locals hanging out with them at times.

La Puerta Al Paraiso was our first choice but it was fully booked already. We passed by this resort during our island hopping tour and LOVED the place. The resort felt cozy, comfy and secluded with a lot of space to run around compared to Kenyama. Their rooms were considerably smaller than Kenyama’s though. I swore to reserve here on my next Holy G! trip.

What to do:

We opted to do the land tour (coursed through our resort) on our first day. Our first stop was the Valle Verde (you heard that right!) Mountain Springs upon the insistence of our tour guide where we stayed for 5 minutes. There wasn’t much to see. We really wanted to go to the Our Lady of the Philippines Trappist Monastery because we’ve been hearing good things about the place. The Church was open but the souvenir shop, which was main reason for going, was closed. Too bad, the jam and other products are supposedly fab.

 

We were given the option to visit the old churches but we weren’t in the mood. The Gusi Lighthouse gave us a good view of the ocean and the island. Just be careful when you go because one acrobatic pose can cause you to plummet down. We spent the rest of the afternoon swimming near our resort engulfing the awesome sunset.

The real beauty of the province is the uninhabited islands. The ones we visited were magnificent. We didn’t do much hopping since we fell in love with the first island we visited. The water was insanely clear and sparkled when hit by the sun. The endless blue waters melted my stress away. I felt worlds away from the crap of the city. We wanted to go to the turtle sanctuary but it was too far given our current route.

The island hopping rate on the island is again standardized – P450/pax for the first hour and P150 every succeeding hour. We had the boat for a good 7 hours and we paid P2700 (P675/pax). The math seems tricky but our friend Maik was able to negotiate and get a better rate. This is one of the great things I love about hiring your own boat – you get to travel at your own speed. There’s no one rushing you from one place to another.

What to eat:
Guimaras is not like Boracay where the whole shoreline is shared by all and you can hop from one place to the other. We had all our meals in the resort since there weren’t any establishments nearby. The food was just average but the prices were tourist prices (read, more expensive).

What to buy:

We bought mangoes from the market on our way home. May free taste pa! =) The Trappist Monastery is a popular place for pasalubongs as well. There’s a pasalubong center/store along the main road that everyone knows in the island. It’s a good place to go last minute food pasalubong shopping.

Thanks to Byahilo and Inquirer, the sites I was able to get information from for this trip.
Photos by Rica De Ramos.

A producer by profession, Rica De Ramos is an over-packing pop culture sponge with a penchant for food, travel, fashion and everything lifestyle related. Though often mistaken for a foreigner (Hey Joe!), she's proudly Pinay.

Read more about her adventures at
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