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Guimaras Island – Dec 28-29, 2010

The year-end lakwatsa for 2010 brings me to Guimaras Island just off Iloilo City. I hadn’t gone out for most of December due to holiday-related activities plus, my sister from Florida was in town when I came back from San Francisco and then my brother and family arrived a week after my sister left.

Weeks before, my high-school buddy, Mario Alinea, and I were planning a trip somewhere. The trip had evolved from Cambodia to Palawan. A few days before booking the flights, Mario made the request of going to Guimaras. I had never been to Guimaras, and up until that point, I had no idea where it was. Apparently it is a big island just 15 min away southward from Iloilo City (and east of Bacolod)


View Guiumaras Island in a larger map

We took the second Cebu Pacific flight to Iloilo City. The first flight would have gotten us in at 5am. From experience, I realized that arriving on the first flights which get you into a destination too early can be rather inconvenient, so I suggested we take the next morning flight.

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One must always do the gratuitous “take-the-picture-of-the-plane” shot even though the Cebu Pacific post-landing recording distinctly says that you shouldn’t take pictures.

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From the airport, we took a taxi which took us to the Ortiz Port to catch a boat which would take us Guimaras Island. The taxi ride took around 1 hour from the airport.

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We were dropped of a block from the pier where we bought our tickets. The advertised rate was P13 (P15 for an evening trip) but for some reason, both ways we were only charged P12.50… go figure. I think they really should do something for their signage for “Ticket Booth"”

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I found their system very very efficient. Everyone goes to the ticket booth to buy a ticket. For efficiency, the disburse tickets for a specific boat… the next one to leave. So there is no crowding to get on any random boat. They also disburse a specific number of tickets, thus eliminating overcrowding. For us, we were given tickets to the Inday Mar.

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It was a nice, calm-water, 15-min trip from Ortiz to Jordan Wharf at Guimaras.

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Upon landing at Guimaras, we were greeted at boatside by folks offering tricycle or peficab rides. As obvious non-locals… aka Touriusts, we were escorted to the visitor information center where we logged in and the very helpful guy at the center gave us a map and gave recommendation regarding places to see and go on the way to our resort. Thus far, everyone was very helpful and accommodating.

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Next was transportation. We got a “pedicab” aka small jeep-like vehicle. I asked how much it cost to the Kenyama Resort… he said P600, but since had some stops to make it P700. Without haggling, we agreed to the price. (Prior to this trip, blogs I had read had prices ranging from P900 to P1500 for the one way trip). The trip was roughly an hour.

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Our first stop was at a Pasalubing Center where I did my part in helping the local economy by purchasing a few interesting items. Our next stop was the “National Mango Research and Development Center.”

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Interesting place. Guimaras is supposed to be home to the sweetest mango in the world. However, since it was off season, I didn’t see a single unprocessed mango in the entire island. In the palanke or on trees.

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Interestingly, the roads were very nicely paved. And of course there was no traffic with just a few vehicles around.

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Our next stop before the resort was a Trapist Monk Monestery

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We got to the Kenyama Resort shortly after. We actually just decided on this resport that morning… no advanced booking. While at NAIA3, we browsed through Trip Advisor (www.tripadvisor.com) and we chose this based on ratings and comments. Kenyama Website: http://kenyamaresort.jimdo.com/

The resort is nice and clean, with strong running water (my #1 requirement), and it had a very nice restaurant which served a delicious fried chicken.

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And… it had fantastic views

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There are some stairs below that deck which brings you the beach level. At the great are some great rock formations.

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We walked up and down the beach

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And of course spent a few hours just wading in the clear water.

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Sunset at Guimaras

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The next morning, we walked towards the Guimaras Point Lighthouse. He had walked to it the day before but was confronted with a closed gate.

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After that welcome fish sign, you are greeted on the road by a gnome.

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A short walk in…

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Amidst the ruins, some new high-tech, immaculate-white tower shooting up.

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The inside of the metal tower.

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Interestingly, at the top of the metal tower, there is no light. But the previous night, there was a light from this spot. So where did it come from? Facing back through the front gates away from the coast. There is a small light on top of what looked like a water tower.

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From the tower, we walked backed on the beach and admired the beach at sunrise. Because this beach was on the west, the sunrise (in case you didn’t know rises on the east) cast a shadow on the beach.

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It was soon time to bid goodbye to Kenyama and Guimaras. Our pickup came on time at 10:30am and we were off. A short detour at the Trapist Monastery for a few more items and we were off. We took our lunch in Iloilo City then took a cab back to the airport.

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Back to Manila!

Update:

I would be returning to Iloilo City in less than a month to attend the Dinagyang 2011 Festival