Every time I hear the place Guimaras, there’s only one thing that comes into my mind and that is the fruit mango. Guimaras Island is coined as the Mango Capital in the Philippines because of its more that 50,000 mango trees that are planted in the island. Guimaras is located on the southeastern section of the West Visayas region. It was only a 15 minute ride by a motor boat or a 25 minute ride by a RoRo departing from Iloilo City which amazed me on how you can hop to one island if you want to have a quick getaway.
THE SMALLEST PLAZA
Since we were having a short vacation in Iloilo City, we didn’t miss the opportunity to have a quick tour in this small island. And our first destination was their famous The Smallest Plaza. True to its name, it was really small. This was actually earned a title in the Guiness Book of World Records and it only measures 200-300 square meters. It looks like a small play ground for kids if you’ll imagine it with swings, seesaws and slides.
Aside from the stage, it features a small statue of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. Well, everything was really small. Well, maybe they’ll have small chairs, small tables and small set up during programs.
Our next stop was the Trappist Monastery which is run by the monks who follow the rule of St. Benedict and are best known for the extreme strictness that characterizes their discipline. They sell souvenir items and processed foods with mango as their main ingredient. It could be in a form of jellies, jams, candies, piyaya and more which are sold within the monastery grounds. It was also said that their products are heartily made by the monks and nuns.
The place is very cozy and peaceful. You can tour around the monastery grounds and visit their prayer areas. We were encouraged to talk with the monks and nuns for they are very friendly and accommodating. However, during our visit, there were only few of them I can see around and I was too shy to approach them. This Monastery is located in Brhy. San Miguel, Jordan which is approximately 20-30 minutes from the port.
GUIMARAS ISLAND HOPPING
Alubihod Motor Banca Owners Association (AMBOA) booth or the Island Hopping Station
Since we only allot a half day tour in Guimaras, our tour guide dropped us in a near beach resort which is called Alubihod Beach. This resort is one of the jump off points for island hopping. The sea was very inviting that time however we didn’t bring any swimming attires and it wasn’t really in our plan.
Here are the rates for the island hopping:
10 pax/500php for the first houw plus 150php per succeeding hour
15 pax/700php for the first hour plus 300php per succeeding hour
20 pax/1000pphp for the first hour plus 300php per hour
One of the divers told me that you can actually haggle the price if you come less than 10. He also added that you can visit the islands for a total of 3 hours since they are just near from each other. I heard great reviews about the island hopping and every peso your spend will be worth it.
MANGOES AND MORE MANGOES
There are a lot of stories I have read about the legend of the mango but I here is my favorite one. It is a boy who has a golden heart who was kind and a helpful lad who was nurtured well by his parents. However, one day, the boy got ill and he eventually died. One day, a fairy came to his parents and asked for his heart. His parents agreed and his heart was buried in the faraway mountain which then turned into a fruit-bearing tree and tasted so sweet.
As you can see, the shape of the mango is shape like a human heart. Maybe that is how the legend was crafted into a heartwarming story. Maybe that faraway mountain was one of the mountains of the Guimaras, right? Because their mangoes taste so sweet that it makes me want to get some more. They also had different products made of mango which I recommend for all the tourists to try.
There’s a lot to visit in Guimaras but unfortunately, we only had half of the day to go around because we need to catch the fast craft in the afternoon. Nevertheless, it didn’t compromised the fun we had during the tour because Guimaras is such a wonderful place to visit. And before I forget, you should grab their sweet mango shake that can be bought on the roadside stalls. I assure you that it is different from the other mango shakes you have tasted in your entire life!