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Enchanting Guimaras - Philippines Travel

Guimaras is an exotic island situated right at the heart of the Philippine archipelago. Its lush mountains and serene beaches offer refuge to travelers who seek nature’s bosom. At quick glance, Guimaras resembles any other developing province with modern houses and cemented roads. The wonder resides though at the coastlines.

Small-scale resorts took advantage of the island’s picturesque beaches, some of them even bordered by white sands where seashells and multi-colored pebbles can soothe the bare feet.

One major historic point of entry to Guimaras is the Buenavista Wharf, or more popularly called Arthur Macarthur’s Wharf. It was built in Sta. Rosa town in 1903 by General Douglas MacArthur, fresh from the West Point Academy and serving with the US Army Corps of Engineer in the province.

Forty-five minutes from the Jordan Port is Alibuhod Beach where several reports operate. Entrance fees vary from five to ten pesos, while rooms and cottages are rented for as low as P300 per night.

Meanwhile, a two-hour trip from the port will take you to Nagarao, an island off Guimaras and a few minutes boat ride to the province of Negros. Nagarao is a private beach resort owned by a German expat living in Iloilo. One is required to make reservations and is fetched upon arrival at the airport. Guimaras is a haven for diving and snorkeling. Pump boats may take you island-hopping to visit white-sand islets surrounding the main island.

Other attractions of the island are the lone Trappist Monastery in the country and the Bondulan Point—about 40 minutes on foot from Jordan where a giant cross was erected. Bondulan Point attracts many pilgrims during Holy Week, and also offers a scenic view of Iloilo City and the Iloilo Strait.

Other places to visit include the Roca Encantada, Puerto del Mar, Catilaran Cave, Suli Cave and Siete Pecados.

The island also prides itself of producing the sweetest mangoes in the world: the carabao mango. One is apt to notice the mango trees and plantations that abound the place instead of the usual coconut trees that is common sight to most tropical islands. In fact, in one of its towns stands what is believed to be the oldest mango tree in the world. The tree is a famous attraction to visitors.

Carabao Mango is coined after the local water buffalo for its size. This mango variety is known for its hugeness, golden color and superbly sweet flavor. The rest of the globe call it the Manila Super Mango. The locals are very protective of their mango. In Guimaras, it is forbidden to bring seeds of other mango variety into the island to prevent inter-breeding. Through Guimaras, the Philippines now supplies quality mangos to Japan and Hong Kong and may soon compete with other mango-producing countries like China.

The Guimarasnons celebrate the Manggahan Festival during the month of May, and you can feast on various mango delicacies to complete the enchanting experience of this island paradise.


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