My solo backpacking trip to Guimaras was one of the most memorable trips I ever had. It was because I was able to feel a sense of peace in my heart. Guimaras is so calm and quiet. The air is fresh, there are beautiful beaches and the people are so warm. Life is simple in Guimaras. You can feel that the people are proud of their land and they are seeking ways to promote it. I cannot capture the entire beauty of this place through my lens but I hope that somehow I could be able to give you a sneak peek of how beautiful this place is.
I took a 45-minute ride from Ortiz Port in Iloilo to Jordan Port in Guimaras. I paid Php 14 and boarded on a pump boat called Chris Clyde. Most of the passengers are residents of Guimaras who came to Iloilo to buy some of their supplies. It was high noon when I traveled ang my shawl was my only protection against the sun's scorching heat. After a few minutes, I had my first glimpse of Guimaras and I can't help but feel excited. I have done my research and listed my itinerary but I am also ready to be lost in the charm of this place. I am excited how this trip will turn out!
After about 15 minutes, we reached the Trappist Monastery. The monastery is run by monks under the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance also known as the Trappists. They live their monastic lives by being purified and strengthened by a long labor of prayer. They also sell products in which the ingredients were grown on their grounds. The monastery has a lot of trees and the place was super quiet, a perfect place for meditation. I really, really wanted to meet one of the monks here but unfortunately I didn't saw any. My guide told me that there were specific times only when the monk would come and talk to the visitors. Sayang! I just went to their gift shop and bought some mango bars made by the monks themselves.
I passed by a small stall selling fresh mangoes and I told Kuya Jun to stop since I need to take home Guimaras' famous fruit. They grow mangoes here all year round but the peak season is in April. This is also the time when the mangoes were at their sweetest. Kuya Jun taught me how to spot a sweet mango: you have to smell the portion where the bud is, if it smells sweet, then it's sweet. So there I was sniffling each piece and trying to pick the sweet ones. I bought a kilo of mangoes for Php 80.
For the island hopping tour, we went to Raymen Beach Resort. You can rent a boat for Php 400 for the first hour and Php 150 for each of the succeeding hours. I think the boat can take up to 10 people so you could split the cost if you were in groups.
After my close encounter with the turtle, we went to Ave Maria Island and Baras Cave. The boat entered the cave and I had some pictures taken there.
After an hour, we returned to Raymen Beach Resort and headed to our next destination, the Guisi Point Lighthouse. The trail going to the lighthouse is spectacular since you get to see the beach near it.
Our last stop was the Smallest Plaza. It used to hold the title of the Smallest Plaza in the Guinness Book of World Records until another country beats it. But still it's the Smallest Plaza in the Philippines.
We went back to the port at around 5pm to catch the ferry back to Iloilo. I boarded the pump boat satisfied at the day's outcome. One thing that I will be bringing home with me was how special this place is - so peaceful, so quiet, so serene. If there's one place where I would want to settle someday, Guimaras would definitely be on the list!