Not Just A Beach Holiday
Tired of visiting the same old beach destinations?
The charming island of Guimaras in Iloilo may just be the place for you. Surrounded by sparkling emerald waters and filled with lush, verdant terrain, Guimaras is best known as the center of the Philippines’ mango industry.
It has often been said that the best mangoes are grown and harvested in Guimaras’ fertile farm lands. The luscious, golden yellow fruits are among the sweetest and juiciest crops in the world.
The island’s incredibly healthy export industry bears witness to the craze over its mangoes, but Guimaras is not just an island of fruit orchards. It’s also quickly becoming an alternative beach holiday for people who are searching for another paradise-like setting to enjoy.
Guimaras can be reached via a forty-minute plane ride from Manila to Iloilo. From there, you can take a ferry to either Buenavista town (through Parola Port) or Jordan town (through Ortiz Port).
Your adventure begins as soon as your feet hit dry ground. The good thing about Guimaras is that it’s not just a typical beach destination—it is also home to historical sites, amazing rock formations, agri-tourism spots, mountain resorts, and colorful festivals. You will never run out of things to do or places to see on this vacation.
Beach and rocks
The Guisi Beach and Lighthouse is probably the most renowned of all the resorts around Guimaras. Its stunning rock formations are a sight to behold, and so is the 19th-century lighthouse jutting up towards the Guimaras skyline. The rocks are most visible during low tide, every wind-roughened surface in stark detail against sea and sky.
The lighthouse ruins are found on top of a small hill, which can be reached via a short 15-minute trek. The lighthouse is no longer serviceable, but visitors still flock to the site to take in the view of the beach.
There is also a selection of other historical spots you can visit, notably a number of buildings and wharves built under the supervision of Gen. Douglas MacArthur himself.
Finally, the beach. The sand is an alluring golden yellow, much like the island’s famed crop. It’s no Boracay—the beaches are relatively under-developed and you won’t find all-night parties here—but it’s an extremely charming location. The coastline is bordered by tall palm and coconut trees so there’s a definite tropical island vibe to the place.
So loved is the Guimaras mango that the locals have dedicated a fiesta especially for the fruit, called the Manggahan Festival, which is held sometime in April.
The mango is a tropical fruit that bears the sweetest yield during summer. But in Guimaras, mangoes are grown all year round without a change in quality, thanks to its perfectly balmy weather and fertile soil.
The city government has also established an agri-tourism circuit designed to give visitors a rare peek into their agricultural industry. The tour includes eight of the ten farms in the island and features acres and acres of (what else?) mangoes, calamansi, aquacultural products, salt, and even bees.