Guimaras: Welcome To Mango Land And Beyond
Guimaras, its name has always been synonymous to the sweetest mangoes of this planet. With 50,000 mango trees, the small island province is the breeding grounds of the world famous tropical fruit that have reached as far as the dining tables of Buckingham Palace and the White House. Let’s find out how venerated the mangoes are in the province. Furthermore, let’s delve into non-mango-related finds in the gorgeous island of Guimaras.
The Pitstop Restaurant
Too bad mango season has passed but this fast food joint in Jordan, the provincial capital, celebrates the sweetness of mango all year round. The Pitstop Restaurant serves unique pizza and pasta delights visitors who probably haven’t tried or even heard of such as the diner’s bestseller, Mango Pizza. Instead of using tomato paste as base, The Pitstop utilized the island’s number one product and incorporated to their pizza, overflowing with layers of mango-goodness topped with bell pepper and sprinkled with nuts – and of course, don’t forget the cheese. The Mango Pizza is also best when paired with Mango Ketchup – yes, there is a mango ketchup too.
On the outskirts of Jordan, just a few kilometers from the bustling capital, lies a spiritual sanctuary run by the Monks of the Cistercian Order, called the Trappist Monastery. These monks have devoted themselves to a monastic community life and also opened their doors to travelers and visitors who seek retreat, meditation, and communication through prayers. For a sustainable livelihood, the monks sell jellies, juices, and jams made from no other than mangoes grown from their own orchard.
Guimaras visitors frequent a popular beach destination situated on the shores of Nueva Valencia, only less than an hour south from San Miguel, Jordan. Most would find Alubihod Cove a gem with its soft white sand sprawling all over the beach. Moreover, the resorts within the area makes Alubihod convenient for those who wants nothing but complete relaxation and beach-loving.
Faro de Punta Lusaran
Guiding vessels as they voyage through Iloilo Strait and Panay Gulf is the 18th century Spanish-colonial lighthouse called Faro de Punta Lusaran or commonly called the Guisi Lighthouse. Though a replacement was installed, the rusty metal tower stands gloriously as a monumental edifice silently watching the history of Guimaras as it unfold.
Tricycles from Jordan Wharf offered me a P400.00-tour which would cover all these destinations but, as much as I loved to, I’m tight on budget leaving me no choice but to take regular rides. Going to the lighthouse, however, was the quite challenging since no regular transportation goes directly except for chartered rides. Another tricycle from Alubihod offered me P400.00 from Raymen to the Guisi, but I think it was quite overpriced given that a tricycle from Jordan Wharf offered the same price.
I decided to just walk from Alubihod Beach to the junction, and take whatever jeepney heading south, and figure it out from there. Luckily, I met some locals playing cards and plainly hanging out at the jeepney stop. These very hospitable Guimarasnons offered me a habal-habal ride for P150.00, I was so thankful, I treated them with a bottle of rhum and coke after the trip, and we drank the rainy afternoon away. Thank you, my good friends.
Some fast facts that may help you on the trip:
1. Guimaras can be reached by a passenger boat from Ortiz Port or in Parola in Iloilo whcih cost P30.00. Boat leave almost every 15 or 20 minutes.
2. When you get to Jordan Wharf, I would recommend inquiring at the tourism booth. Officers are very nice and would love to assist the island’s visitors. Cheers and keep up the good work.
3. If you’re in a group, I think it’s best to get a chartered tricycle which would take you to all destinations, it’s about P400.00 I think. I was alone, so here’s what I did, it’s tedious and very inconvenient, but my aim was to travel around using the regular transportation as much as possible.
P13.00 – Jeepney from Jordan Wharf to San Miguel (town proper)
P20.00 – tricycle from San Miguel to Trappist Monastery
P20.00 – Going back to San Miguel (jeeps going to other towns come from here. Jeeps passing by Trappist were full)P50.00 – Jeepney from San Miguel to Alubihod
P40.00 – Tricycle (special) from Alubihod junction to Raymen
P150.00 – Habal-habal (single motorcycle) to lighthouse.
4. I stayed at Raymen Beach Resort, its in Alubihod, Nueva Valencia. I think everyone there knows where Raymen is. The cheapest room was P600.00.
5. There is a restaurant in Raymen and some small eateries outside the resort.
6. The Pitstop is located at Chavez Building, Brgy. San Miguel, Jordan Guimaras. It’s also near the Museum (which was under rennovation during my visit)
7. When I get back to Guimaras, I’d prefer camping along Guisi Beach. It looks very quiet, and isolated.
8. There is a P10.00 entrance fee at the lighthouse.
9. This is the third post on my two-week long backpacking journey in Panay Island and Guimaras. Next stop is Nueva Valencia, Guimaras.
10. More Guimaras destinations.
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13. Happy travels and be safe.