LOOKING at the map, Guimaras Island seems to be a small island. In fact, with only 60.457 hectares in land area, it is considered as one of the smallest island-provinces in the country. It has five municipalities with Jordan as its capital.
When we roamed the vastness of Guimaras by tricycle, we realized that it is huge. We have not even explored the municipality of Sibunag.
Facing Iloilo City, Jordan is just 10 minutes away by boat. Upon arrival at the Jordan Wharf, we immediately visited the nearest landmarks – the Jordan Municipal Hall and the Smallest Plaza. We had to proceed to Buenavista and San Lorenzo before we came back to Jordan for lunch.
We dropped by the Provincial Capitol in Jordan to get some brochures from the Provincial Tourism Office. We couldn’t resist having our photos taken at the giant letters of Guimaras as we did at the Jordan signage.
Not to be missed when in Guimaras is a visit to the famous mango plantations. We went to the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry Guimaras National Crop Research, Development and Production Support Center to take a look at the mango trees lined up beautifully.
Speaking of mangoes, we bought several mango products at the nearby Trappist Abbey. Mango tarts, mango tamarind candies, mango biscocho, mango macarons, mango jams and other food products, as well as religious accessories and other souvenir items, are available in their gift shop.
This town is at the northernmost tip of Guimaras Island. It faces Siete Pecados, a popular group of islets that we see along the Bacolod-Iloilo sea route. We were able to view Siete Pecados from Roca Encantada, a heritage house of the Lopezes that is built on a rock.
The architecture looks modern though. At the top of the steps, the words “Roca Encantada 1910 In Memory of Doña Presentacion Hofileña Lopez” were engraved. An entrance fee of P50 is paid upon entry in the private property.
Also in this municipality is the Navalas Church or the Saint Isidore Parish Church, considered as the oldest structure in Guimaras as it was built sometime between 1880 and 1885. It was made of limestone but as time and weather affected the edifice, it was renovated to make the building more durable.
The windmills in San Lorenzo are visible from the coast of Negros Occidental and from the plane. It was amazing to see them up close, like giant fans filling the landscape. The turbines were put up to access renewable energy through wind power. They are scattered near the highway of San Lorenzo and they are a pretty sight to behold.
We also entered the Holy Family Hills where life-size religious structures depict scenes from the Stations of the Cross. A gazebo with life-size structure of the Holy Family stands on an elevated portion. There is also a chapel and prayer room within the compound.
Before we headed to Nature’s Eye Resort, we made a stop at the Guisi Lighthouse, where ruins of the old structure are found. A modern lighthouse stood at the ruins but the place has become a favorite pictorial venue because of the rustic feel, along with the view of the sea in the backdrop.
All photos are by this author. Claire Marie Algarme blogs at http://firsttimetravels.com. Follow her as @firsttimetravel on Twitter and Instagram and like her Facebook page First-time Travels.
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on September 08, 2017.
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