Day Trip At A Beach Resort
It is not uncommon to see day trippers in Guimaras since travel time from Iloilo City is only about 15 minutes. Tourists do not always check in and stay overnight in a beach resort.
As I walked to the beach area of Raymen Beach Resort, I noticed a lot of cottages within the compound. I learned that these were intended for day trippers who considered Raymen Beach the ideal place for swimming, lounging and playing beach sports/games. This is because it has tranquil, clean and clear waters, and fine pinkish-beige sand. It also offers a beautiful panoramic view of the islets, with colorful paraws occasionally sailing by. There are shower rooms and facilities for cooking food, barbecue/grilling and washing utensils.
- Family Travel
Visit Navalas Church, Oldest Edifice In Guimaras
Navalas Church a.k.a. St. Isidore Parish Church is said to be the oldest structure in Guimaras. Then Parish priest Fr. Francisco Consing initiated the construction of the church in 1880. Local residents provided the labor using coral rocks sourced from the area, then the coral stone blocks were glued together by a mixture lime, tree sap and some sticks.
Don Miguel Jayme and Dona Carmen Javellana donated a piece of agricultural land for the parish and offered financial help, undertaking most of the expenses for the church construction. The church was built from 1880 to 1885 and upon completion was dedicated to San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint chosen by their benefactors, Don Miguel and Dona Carmen. (They were given the privilege to choose the patron saint.)
The belfry was built as a separate structure just a few meters infront of the church. It used to have a huge bell made of alloy silver and gold. The original bell had a diameter of about a meter and a height of more than four feet, resonating far yonder as the town of Dumangas. For a long time, the bell warned the natives of approaching Moro raids.
The church was enclosed with a massive stone fence designed to make it difficult for the attacking Moros to enter the compound. However, one time when Moros raided Navalas, they managed to enter the compound and stole the bell. On the way, perhaps finding it too massive and heavy to carry, they decided to throw it to the sea, somewhere near the Siete Pecados islands.
In 1970, the church structure was reinforced with concrete, then it underwent renovation in 1979. Today, only the façade remains “untouched”. The church interior including the ceilings were already renovated. The church façade was patterned after the façade of Jaro Cathedral. You can visualize the similarities if you “remove” the terrace of Our Lady of Candelaria and the new belfry. This is why some people refer to Guimaras Church as Junior Jaro Cathedral.
- Religious Travel
Solace For The Body & Soul @ Trappist Monastery
Background: The Trappist Monastery is usually the first destination of tourists who have just arrived from Jordan Wharf. Founded in 1972, it is the only monastery for men in the country which is run by the Cistercian Order of Strict Observance. Its church and guesthouse were built in 1997, opening the doors of the Trappist Monastery to anyone who seeks spiritual counseling and guided meditation. Guests are always welcome to spend days or extended period of time for prayer, meditation and retreats.
I want to share that as soon as we entered the compound of the monastery, I sensed an indescribable light feeling on my otherwise tired body. I felt being refreshed and energized by the monastery’s beautiful garden, the swaying tall trees, pliant bamboos and deafening silence of the church. The serene abbey atmosphere was undeniably conducive for reflection, centering and meditative prayer.
I had the pleasure of meeting Brother Peter, the amiable "Keeper of the Gate". He is the monk in-charge of giving medicines to the indigent locals, accepting requests for intercessory prayers and praying over the sick. He is also some kind of "receptionist"; he makes tourists feel the warm welcome of the Trappist monks.
Although the monks are dedicated to a cloistered life, they engage in agriculture for their livelihood. They grow vegetables for their own use and their guests’ consumption. They have a mango orchard and a processing plant where their fruits (mangoes, pineapples and guavas) are processed into dried chips, juices, jellies, jams, cookies, bars, breads and piayas, all of which can be bought at their bakery and gift/pasalubong store.
- Family Travel
- Religious Travel
Explore Guisi Beach
As we walked up to the Guisi Lighthouse, we heard the sound of splashing waves down the cliff. Peeping through the trees and bamboos, hubby and I were awed by the pristine beauty of the sea and beach. We learned that it is the Guisi Beach, a place that was once a best-kept secret but is now one of the much-talked about tourist destinations in Guimaras. The view was simply breathtaking! I had to stop many times to have a glimpse of the beach.
Guisi Beach is known for its clean, clear waters, fine yellowish sands, beautiful rock formations, small caves and rich marine life. You can do so many things there: swimming, snorkeling, cave exploration, photo shoot, etc. We wanted to go down and explore the area. There is actually a way from the Lighthouse. Just before its entrance is a bamboo gate leading to Guisi Beach.
After a few minutes of photo shoot at the Lighthouse, I went back to the bamboo gate to check on the condition of the pathway. There was a heavy downpour about an hour ago so I wanted to make sure if the sun had dried up the soil and stepping stones. I tried to make a few steps …alas, the heavy rains soaked the soil; the wet stepping stones were muddy and very slippery. It saddened me that we couldn’t go down; it would be very risky...I just had to content myself staring at the view... We’ll definitely bookmark this for our next trip to Guimaras. I hope it doesn't rain when we go there.
- Water Sports
- Family Travel
See The Ruins of A Spanish Lighthouse in Guimaras
If Negros Occidental has the ruins of a mansion in Talisay City, Iloilo Province has the ruins of a Spanish lighthouse in Guimaras. On top of the mountain in Guisi Point in Dolores, Nueva Valencia, you will see the skeletal remains of what used to be a 58-feet high octagonal cylindrical tower built by the Spanish government in 1894 -1896. It was formerly known as Faro de Punta Luzaran which served as navigational aid to the seafarers and fishermen cruising Panay Gulf.
The ruins will hardly give you a picture of how it looked like, what with the lantern of the tower totally gone, as well as the roof of the 1-storey lighthouse keeper’s house also gone. Today, ferns, moss, weeds, aerial roots and branches of trees partly cover the walls, giving a creepy atmosphere at the ruins. It is interesting to learn that in the olden days, the old lighthouse looked like Cape Bojeador of Burgos, Ilocos Norte.
When the Spanish lighthouse became no longer operational, a new one was built sometime after 1920. The 2nd lighthouse is the white-painted structure beside the rusty remains of the old tower. It is a 38-feet high hourglass-shaped metal tower which I mistook for a communications tower. Adding confusion to me is the 3rd lighthouse which our guide pointed to us. Actually, the lantern is not housed in a tower but set on a metal frame so I thought maybe it shouldn’t be called a lighthouse... but that’s just my opinion. In any case, it now serves as the beacon for seafarers.
Entrance Fee: P10/Adult; P5/Child
- Historical Travel
Have A Taste Of Guimaras Mangoes
Guimaras mangoes are acclaimed to be the sweetest in the country and the world. Don't take my word for it. Have a mango when you go to Guimaras. Your trip to Guimaras will be incomplete unless you got to taste its famous mangoes.
When we went there, I couldn't find ripe mangoes at the fruit stand in Jordan Wharf. Raymen Resort had some half-ripe mangoes, and I was told it would take about 2 days more for the mangoes to ripen. I couldn't wait that long so I ordered sliced half-ripe mangoes for dessert after our dinner. Oh my, they were already very sweet! A German guest at the Resort watched me and hubby eat our mangoes with gusto. He then ordered some for himself. I was happy to see his satisfied look while eating mangoes with his bare hands.
By the way, I love green mango shake but I didn't like it with Guimaras mango. Either the one who prepared it put too much sugar, or the Guimaras mango is really very sweet even though it is still green.
- Family Travel
Balaan Bukid Shrine
The Shrine Trek, about 30 minutes walk, a religious attraction, a pilgrimage site of Catholics where the image of Mother & Child enshrined at the chapel.
Balaan Bukid, or Sacred Mountain in the Hiligaynon dialect of Panay, is located right at the tip of a short peninsula called Bondulan Point.
- Hiking and Walking
Based on the history of the place, this was established to guide vessels that usually pass through the beach in the early times.
Hike to the top of a hill near the beach where you can find the ancient lighthouse that was built in the 18th century. Guisi lighthouse is one of the oldest in the Philippines. Just beside the lighthouse are ruins of a settlement during the Spanish era.
- Sailing and Boating
Located on the opposite side of the island where Baras cave is located. It is where the island accommodation Baras beach resort can be found. It is a small beach pocket with huts on rock cliffs. This can be good for those who are seeking solitude and need moments of thinking :)
Visit Daliran Cave
After a short hike and a couple of steps, you'll get to the mouth of Daliran Cave. There's water coming out of entrance - refreshing after that physical activity.
More about Daliran cave here: http://tanggera.blogspot.com/2010/11/falling-in-love-with-guimaras-roca.html
Guisi beach and Lighthouse ruins
After our Island hopping activity we had a quick nap. Then we headed to Brgy. Dolores to see their lighthouse ruins around 4 PM. The trike driver who brought us to Raymen also agreed to take us to Sitio Guisi and paid him P300.00 for the round trip. He also guided us to the lighthouse.
The way to Guisi was smooth on the first 3 kms and the rest was rough especially if you are nearing Brgy. Dolores because of road construction. The travel is 30 minutes from Raymen.
After the Guisi Lighthouse marker, the trike went to a steep hill and from there we walked our way down to the beach. I can tell that Guisi is more beautiful than Alubihod, it has longer and wider shore. The view and landscape is nicer as well. The problem was it is underdeveloped and not maintained properly aside from being far and isolated. But for those who seek tranquility and solitude, this is perfect and Clear Water Beach resort can be your choice of accommodation.
Aside from the beach, our main purpose is to see the Spanish lighthouse ruins during sunset. We walked through the length of the white sandy beach until we reach the left end. From there, we started to trek a stony-not-that-safe-path with bamboo bridges connecting the stones until we reached a bamboo ladder that lead us to the hill. Taking a photo of the beach from this point is very beautiful. The hill is surrounded by green vegetation and a little walk to the summit will show you the ruins with the new and old light house. I saw plants living on the walls of the ruins and trees surround the whole place making it like a hidden lost village. I checked all sides of the ruins and took pictures of the old and new lighthouse. I like the contrast of the 2. The colorful Sunset is perfect and everything is panoramic.
Go down before total darkness to avoid accident. This place is worth visiting when you are in Guimaras. It worth the rough journey and the long walk.
This is our last destination. We didn't expect it to be far from the rest of the attractions but is a 35 minutes travel from Natago Island. This one is also a breeding center of some variety of fish like Lapu-Lapu and Milkfish. The breeding center is also built in an open sea out of plastic containers that were put together as floaters. We had a little walk to a floating wooden path towards the station where we logged our name. Then they fed the fish on each cage and they came out of the deep. We are able to take some photo of the 80 kg Lapu-lapu because it swims so slowly but other species is impossible.
Nothing fancy about SEAFDEC to be honest but we are curious to see it. You can skip this one to save time if you like.
Natago Beach/ Natago Island
We headed to Natago Island after Baras beach. This island is beautiful and it's very inviting especially as you go near it. I am not sure but it is like a 2 small islands connected by the white sandy beach. There's a resthouse built on top of a rock cliff. At the far end of this small island is a stair that will lead you to the top of the island where you can have a better view of the surrounding islands but this one is private so there's an entrance fee.
Snorkeling can be part of your island hopping activity, it depends on you. We love snorkeling so we decided to include this in our activity... The snorkeling area is not that far from the Ave Maria beach. There are plenty of corals but we are not lucky to see much fish because of poor visibility cause by the heavy rain the other night they said. We rented the snorkeling gear from our boatman for P100.00 per piece.
- Diving and Snorkeling
Ave Maria Islets/Ave Maria Beach
It’s our second destination. We passed by numerous islets in which some are part of the Jordan marine sanctuary reserve. Different rock formations can be seen along the way like an island that resembles like a turtle. There are 2 beaches but only one is public. We had a quick swim and photo session with some of the islets as our background. The private one can be seen from the public beach.
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