12 things to do and sites to visit in Guimaras

4/27/2016 Randomly Candid 1 Comments

EVERYONE is complaining about the summer heat. But instead of whining, why you shouldn’t just have fun under the sun, go out, chillax, and give yourself your most needed R&R while the sun is still up?
Summer is the best time to travel and enjoy nature tripping. And speaking about nature trips, the island of Guimaras is one of the best summer places for those who want to connive with Mother Nature.

More than its world-renowned sweet mangoes, this province also boasts its white sand beaches, pristine waters and untouched islands that offer unforgettable summer adventures to every visitor.

If you’re planning to explore Guimaras, summer is the best time. And to help you set your itineraries, here are the 12 places that you should visit and things that you should try to fully enjoy Guimaras’ diverse offerings.

1. Guimaras Wind Farm

One of the newest man-made attractions in Guimaras is the 54-MW wind farm of Trans-Asia Renewable Energy Corp. (TAREC). It is comparable to Bangui Wind Farm which is also one of the tourist destinations in Ilocos Norte.

The P6.7-billion Guimaras Wind Farm traverses three of five municipalities of the province namely, San Lorenzo, Sibunag and Nueva Valencia. It is composed of 27 wind turbines that measures 80 meters tall and 40 meters wide and can generate two megawatts of electricity each, which can accommodate the 13-megawatts power supply demand of the whole province. The excess renewable energy generated by the wind turbines are also used to provide energy to the neighboring island of Panay and Negros.

The gigantic wind turbines form a picturesque view, thus, tourists include it in their itineraries and enjoy another unique experience beyond the Guimaras mangoes.

Just a tip, if you want to see the best view of the wind farm, go to Look out No. 17 located in the town of San Lorenzo.

2. Mango Picking

In Guimaras, mangoes are being sold like streetfood. Kiosks and stalls are found along the highway where tourists can just drop by and buy mangoes. But if you want to by mangoes fresh from the tree, you can try mango picking activities.

There are some mango tree owners who allow tourists to experience mango picking themselves. Pick the mango that you want to take home. You will get the chance to choose the mangoes that you like to buy in a price even lower than those being sold in the market. It can even go as low as P20 per kilo! Sounds unbelievable but it’s true!

3. Seafood Galore

Guimaras is also known for its rich marine resources. As reflected by its pristine sea waters, this island is producing the freshest seafood perfect for summer indulgence. Fresh fishes, gigantic prawns, delicious crabs, and yummy seashells – all of these are found in the abundant marine wealth of the province.

Cooked with love and transformed into various local dishes, these seafood are best shared with your loved ones while enjoying the picture-perfect view of Guimaras’ white sand beaches.

4. Raymen Beach Resort

Speaking about white sand beaches in Guimaras, Raymen Beach Resort in Nueva Valencia is one of the most popular names. Aside from being one of the nearest – if not the nearest – seaside beach from Jordan Wharf, this beach resort offers a Boracay-like scene with its fine white sand.

This is my favorite beach resort in Guimaras as it is very accessible. It takes about 30-minute multicab ride from Jordan Wharf, but once you’re there, you will surely be mesmerized by the shore's natural beauty.

It also serves as a jump-off point of island hopping activities. Tourists usually rent a motorboat from Raymen Beach Resort for only P400 for six persons for the first hour and P150 for the succeeding hours – not that pricey for the beautiful islands that you will see.

5. Igang Marine Station

Island hopping in Guimaras will not be completed without dropping by the Igang Marine Station (IMS) of SEAFDEC Aquaculture Department (SEAFDEC/AQD).

Located at the southwest coast of Guimaras, IMS was established in 1974 primarily for studies on the breeding of tiger shrimp in pens. Now, it is a home of various marine species being studied for research and development purposes.

Giant groupers and milkfishes, among others are to be found in the fish cages interconnected by floating foot bridges. There are also sea turtles which were turned over by the fishermen after catching them in the wild.

Aside from an office, staff quarters and breeding facilities, IMS has also fully furnished guest houses where visitors can stay overnight for only P300 per head.

6. Magic Island Resort

If you want to go to a place where you can free yourself from stress and out of people’s reach while enjoying a close encounter with nature, Magic Island Resort is the best one for you.

Located at Brgy. Tando, Nueva Valencia, this island resort is indeed magical. To reach Magic Island Resort, you need to have a 5-minute pumpboat ride from the mainland if it is high tide. However, if it is low tide, you have to walk along the path formed by mangroves before taking the pumpboat ride. The pumboat ride is already free if you are booked with the resort.

It is called Magic Island as during low tide, the island seemed to be part of the mainland Guimaras, but during high tide, it becomes a separate island.

The resort is very laid back, but complete with the amenities to accommodate guests. It has spacious rooms, infinity pool, and open cottages perfect for family and barkada outings.

The island has a very poor cellphone signal. So, you will really have a stress-free staycation. But there are some spots where you can access the internet, thus, you can still upload your picture-perfect vacay moments.

7. Suba Malawig Eco Tour

This is one part of Guimaras experience that you shouldn’t miss. The Suba Malawig is one of the best parts of Guimaras tour. It is where you can really see how blessed Guimaras is in terms of natural resources.

Being one of the three major coastal habitats aside from seagrasses and coral reefs, mangroves serve as an important component of marine ecosystem as it purifies water, serves as habitat to marine wildlife and promotes biodiversity.

Suba Malawig is part of Taklong Island Marine Reserve (TINMR) which serves as the home of at least 56 species of wildlife.

Traversing through the shallow waters while passing through the lush green path formed by various mangrove species, you will be surely amazed how the people of Guimaras revived the said area which was almost destroyed by an oil spill in 2006.

8. Balabag Baras Sandbar

I am a lover of sandbars. I love seeing how waves bout in two shorelines facing each other forming a bar of sand.

Guimaras has indeed a lot of hidden gems. One of those is the Balabag Baras Sandbar which is part of Suba Malawig. This sandbar looks like a fine line that divides the sea. It is just a short sandbar located between two island rocks but it is perfect for snorkelling as corals, seagrasses and fishes freely live underneath. Little fishes go swimming with you while you explore their world under – how’s that?

9. Floating Cottage

It is probably one of the best parts of the tour. According to our tour guide, the floating cottage was donated by Gina Lopez for the women of San Roque, Nueva Valencia. Guimaras for them to have livelihood. It is literally floating in the midst of the sea but it’s amazing that you can still swim because of the shallow waters surrounding it.

Visitors can also stay and enjoy good food at the floating cottage as they are also serving some local dishes and native delicacies.

10. The Pitstop Restaurant

The Pitstop Restaurant is known for its mango-based dishes. It was first became popular for its Mango Pizza. Now, the restaurant is serving other dishes all adorned with mango as its main ingredient. 

Its Mango Bulalo, Mango Spaghetti, Bangus Sisig with Mango Bits, and Chicken Adobo with Mango Twist are the dishes that you shouldn’t miss.

The sweetness of the mango adds flavor the dishes, giving it a unique yet nice twist. Every bite will surely remind you that you are indeed in Guimaras.

11. Sapal Weaving

Not known to many, Guimaras has also a community that still practices the traditional way of weaving. The Sapal Weavers Association in Brgy. Sapal, San Lorenzo, Guimaras is still living up this tradition sepal weaving until this modern age.

The women of the village patiently transform every thread of dried “baryos” leaves into beautiful creations. They use baryos which are grown naturally along the streets of the village. The said plant is dried, dyed and pressed for them to weave it into a mat which they use as the primary materials of various products such as bags, slippers, purse, hats, pouches, sheaths and even garments.

12. McNester Food Products

Do you want to know the secret recipe of Mango Spaghetti? Then, you must visit McNester Food Products in San Isidro, Buenavista, Guimaras. Its owner, Rebecca Tubongbanua will demonstrate how to cook the said dish.

McNester Food Products is known for its mango-based products. From producing dried mangoes and calamansi concentrate in 2003, the business has expanded and ventured into making Mango Ketchup and Mango Sauce, the main ingredients of Mango Spaghetti.

With her successful business venture, Tubongbanua was awarded by the Department Agriculture (DA) as Magsasakang Siyentista in 2007; elected as national secretary general of the Farmer Scientists Association and cited as Most Outstanding Agri-Preneur in Region 6 in 2009; and nominated for the Gawad Saka Award and became a finalist in the Search for Outstanding Rural Women both in 2011.

Trivia: McNester came from the names of her two sons, Raymond Michael or Mac-Mac and Ralph Nester.

Guimaras is an island with so much things to offer. The beautiful sceneries, sumptuous food, clean environment and sweet fruits truly give every visitor reasons to explore more.

It is indeed more than what the eyes can see and the mouth can taste. An island full of natural wonders and blessed with hidden gems waiting to be experienced and discovered.

Thank you TMX and Guimaras Provincial Government for letting me discover more of Guimaras.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this very informative write-up. Great help for our next eco-adventure!