He joked that we should try something unexpected and different, where we can leave the busy metro (yup, electronics included) and just be spontaneous (without the kiddos)!
And so, after our Singapore-Malaysia trip, without much thought, I booked us a round trip ticket to Iloilo, the gateway to Guimaras.
I haven't been to either Iloilo and Guimaras and thought it would be nice to hit two destinations in one trip.
Iloilo City is a thriving urban city, but still manages to maintain its rural charm.
Meanwhile 15 minute ferry ride away is rustic Guimaras, an enticing island, with pristine glorious beaches (Oh and lots of mangoes ~ delicious-delicious mangoes).
However, spontaneous as I wanted to be, the Miss Planner in me, decided having a confirmed lodging, is still a must: that would mean a comfortable bed, well ventilated or air-conditioned room, and safe!
Sharing here our 4D/3N itinerary (will add links as I finish writing them):
PART I - GUIMARAS
Day 1 ~ Departure from Manila via Cebu Pacific
(It is a common story by now, our 9am flight via Cebu Pacific owned Tiger Air, was canceled. I received the CANCELATION notice about 5 minutes before check-in time. We hurried to the check-in counter and demanded for the next available flight - and luckily got seats in the 1130am flight. Lucky us, since the family after us, got transferred to a much later 2pm flight.)
- 12:30pm - Arrived at Iloilo Airport (beautiful airport, clean and spacious).
From the airport, you can take the air-conditioned shuttle (at P50/pax) to SM Iloilo, then a cab (P100 approximately) to Ortiz Wharf or take a private van (P600) and head straight to the wharf. The wharf is about 30-40 minutes away from the airport.
- 1:20pm - Take the ferry going to Jordan wharf Guimaras. Cost is about P15/pax.
If you travelling as a group, you may want to rent the entire ferry to yourselves for P500. Upon alighting the ferry at Jordan, head straight to the Tourism center and register.
You may also inquire from the tourism center suggestions on where to stay and confer your itinerary if you are not yet sure on what to do. The tourism center, will register as well the name of your driver.
From Jordan to Nueva Valencia, where we stayed mini van rate is P500 and tricycle rate is P250.
- 2:30pm - Arrived at Janna Glycel Beach Resort. Today's itinerary, relax, enjoy the beach, and relax some more!
Day 2 ~Land Tour (am) / Island Hopping (afternoon)
- Morning ~ Land Tour. We started at 7am and arrived at Pitstop at around 11am. The entire tour and back to Jannah took us a little over 5 hours. A wholeday land tour costs P1200.
- Afternoon Tour ~ Island Hopping costs P500 for the first 3 hours, and additional P150 for the succeeding hours.
- SEAFDEC** - a marine animal research facility. Must-must visit!
- Ave Maria Islet
- Turtle Island
We were too tired, from our early morning land tour, we decided to pack-up early. Alas, we were not able to finish our island hopping itinerary.
- Baras Cave / Baras Beach Resort
- Natago Island
- Isla Naburot
- In Guimaras, you need not worry you are being over charged, since rates are regulated and may easily be checked via the tourism office.
- Places of interests, by land from Buenavista to Nueva Valencia is about 50km (or more), driving is hard labor and not easy, please be generous, additional tip is highly appreciated for these hardworking drivers.
- Our driver's name is Sauro (Cellphone #0919-3257672) we also got him for our land tour of Guimaras. He was very helpful, suggesting places to go to and was also our impromptu photographer. He also suggested we get mangoes before heading to Nueva Valencia (he even did the bargaining for us). If you are looking for a dependable driver in Guimaras, I do recommend you get him.
- Attractions in "*" are highly recommended. Note to self, do not try to cram your schedule with same day Island Hopping and Land Tour.
GUIMARAS is a gem waiting to be discovered. The island has so many untapped potential. I love Guimaras now, a laid back beauty, but I would not be surprised to see tourist soon flocking on its doors.
GOAL 1 - to relax: MET 101%
Please check also Part II of our GUIMARAS-ILOILO trip.