Look through a tour of Western Visayas, and you will probably see Guimaras in the itinerary. It is a nice side trip if you happen to stay in Metro Iloilo. Just spend 15 minutes onboard a ferry, and you’ll be on your way to this beautiful island paradise. Make your trip unforgettable when you go through these Guimaras tourist spots.
Guimaras tourist spots to discover its natural wonders
1. Wade on Tatlong Pulo Beach’s crystal waters
Being an island province, Guimaras is bound to have gorgeous beaches as far as the eye can see. Tatlong Pulo is named after three islets that face the main beach. It sits only a few minutes away from Jordan Wharf.
While the beach lies only a few minutes away, it can be tricky to travel by road. The roads are steep and undeveloped, which can be troublesome for local public transportation. Good thing that Tatlong Pulo is a beach and that you start off your journey in a port. Water ferries are readily available to take you to this beautiful beach at only half the time while crossing the sea.
Tatlong Pulo is as secluded as it can be. Chances are that you will find a handful of people hanging out on the beach, maybe even less. The lack of electricity and accommodations could be a factor, but for a select few, this is the perfect refuge.
2. Visit the National Mango Research and Development Center to learn about the sweet fruit
You’ll see a lot of mentions of mango as you read on, and for good reason. Guimaras is home to the most delicious mangoes in the world. Some locals believe that their sweetness comes from the sea breeze; others owe it to the island’s rich soil. But one thing is for certain: Even after leaving Guimaras, your memory of their mangoes will stay in mind for a while.
In an attempt to improve this hometown favourite, the Bureau of Plant Industry came up with the National Mango Research and Development Center (NMRDC). It is almost nine hectares filled with buildings, nurseries, and a man-made lake for irrigation. These developments are specialised in keeping Guimaras mangoes consistently tasty. They also make sure to protect these mangoes from infestations, as pests have become a problem for some farms around the island province.
As visiting the NMRDC inspires many tourists to nurture their own mango trees, the research centre also sells scions and grafted mango seeds here.
3. Learn about marine wildlife in SEAFDEC’s Igang Marine Station
If you’re tired of making YouTube your virtual aquarium, maybe this Guimaras tourist spot will reinvigorate your fascination. Igang Marine Station is integral to the studies that the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) conducts. This facility contains multiple species of fish for broodstock, which then serve as specimens for research. They have proper habitats and communities inside the facility to ensure that they are always healthy.
It may sound boring, but the wildlife is a joy to observe, especially when it’s up close. Fish frolicking inside their pens, sea clams chilling on their reefs — all of these are expounded on by scientists who man the facility. You’ll learn a lot about how these animals co-exist, and how important they are in keeping our ecosystem thriving.
While you’re there, don’t forget to acquaint yourself with Mike, a grouper the size of a small car!
4. Get to know about marine biodiversity in Taklong Island National Marine Reserve
If Igang Marine Station encourages you to learn more about marine life in Guimaras, you can also check out Taklong Island National Marine Reserve (TINMAR). It consists of two main islands and 37 other islets. One of the main islands hosts a marine biological station run by the University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV). Guests can stay at the facility overnight but should secure a permit from UPV Miagao Campus’ administration office.
Here, you will find a beach, as well as diving spots that let you observe fish swimming around reefs. A floating cottage can also be accessed for some relaxation and easy access for a swim. If you prefer to stay dry, you can stay at the lighthouse erected on a cliff nearby to get a great vantage point of the island.
5. Relax on the calm waters of Guisi Beach and climb Guisi Lighthouse
One of the more crucial parts of a sea route from the Spanish colonial period also happens to be a beautiful beach. Securely situated in a natural enclave, Guisi Beach is a great spot for a carefree time with sun, sand, and sea. The enclave protects the beach from strong currents and winds, so it has no excuse to not look pretty.
Good for Guisi Beach, then, because not only is it beautiful, but it’s also a standout. It boasts a rugged coastline, extraordinary rock formations, and shimmering jade-coloured waters. You’ll get a gist of its beauty once you take a 15-minute hike to Guisi Lighthouse. This structure was built during the 18th century and is the second oldest lighthouse in the Philippines. This lighthouse is a great vantage point to take in the sights of Guisi Beach.
Guimaras tourist spots to learn about culture
6. Visit a dream house in Roca Encantada
It must be nice to have a seaside mansion. That’s just what the Lopez clan built for their matriarch, Doña Presentacion Hofilena Lopez, way back in 1910. The heritage house atop Roca Encantada is a house that anyone would spend a day in, if not the entirety of their retirement.
While many consider it a heritage house, this mansion looks modern, possibly because of renovations. Its balcony offers a sweeping view of the sea and surrounding islets. A nice beach is also nearby and is open for strolling.
7. Meditate and shop for souvenirs in the Trappist Monastery
As if Guimaras tourist spots can’t get any more peaceful, the Trappist Monastery is a beautiful place to reflect. It is run by monks and nuns of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance. But, don’t let the name intimidate you! They are all very friendly and will even give you advice if you ask them.
There are prayer areas all over the monastery which you can take advantage of for spiritual nourishment. But for nourishment that comes from food, the monastery runs a souvenir shop and its earnings fund their daily needs. Can you guess what they sell here?
That’s right: These monks and nuns not only sell preserved goods from Guimaras mangoes, but they also produce them. They have mango trees that grow on monastery grounds. Its fruit is preserved and then sold as candies, jams, and jellies. If you’re lucky, you might see a bottle of mango ketchup available! It’s really good with fried and roasted food.
8. Taste some delicious pizza at The Pitstop
Bought some Guimaras mangoes to take home? Maybe you’re looking for a recipe to incorporate these lovely fruits. The Pitstop really stretches the Guimaras mango to the limit by making the fruit shine in every dish.
You will fall in love with the Mango Beef Bulalo, especially when every bite of tender beef has hints of sweet mango. The Pitstop also has an alternative answer to the age-old question: Does pineapple go with pizza? Pizza purists will either find enlightenment or be left speechless over the sweet, rich, and tangy flavours of The Pitstop’s famous mango pizza.
This island province, despite its smaller size, has so much to give. Guimaras tourist spots are some of the most peaceful places that you can visit in the Philippines. With all the beauty and the care for nature that permeates all throughout Guimaras, it’s no wonder that the mangoes are much sweeter here.
Featured image credit: pulaw | Flickr