Monday, May 4, 2009

why I need to go back to Guimaras

The limited day I was in Guimaras was a teaser. With just under 24 hours in the island province to finish some business, how could I squeeze some time for a tour?

Inampulugan mangroves
century-old mangroves at Inampulugan island, southeast of Guimaras

The answer is I couldn’t. The good thing is when coming from Iloilo, the fastest route to Guimaras is to catch the 15-minute boat ride between the ports of Ortiz in Iloilo City and Jordan which is in the northwest of Guimaras. Getting to our destination of Sibunag in the southeastern end therefore meant traversing the hypotenuse of island.

water on the highway
the highway out of the Jordan port got deluged by heavy rains and the high tide

The road trip took about 2 hours but the rains poured down heavily. From the little that I and my companions could see through our covered-up jeepney which we rented, Guimaras is largely agricultural. Large tracts of land are devoted to rice, coconut, mango, vegetables, livestock and poultry.

Inampulugan view of Kanlaon
a view of Kanlaon volcano of Negros Occidental, as seen from Inampulugan Island

By 3PM, we were done with work. Next stop was Inampulugan Island’s Costa Aguada Resort where we elected to stay overnight. Again, the choice was logical as we needed to check the seaweed plantations along the coast.

Sabang, Sibunag, Guimaras
the coast of Sabang, Sibunag

Early the next morning, we retraced our route and hopped on a boat and rode the same jeepney back to Jordan. Too bad we did not have much time anymore and we had to miss the one thing I would have loved to photograph, the 17th century Navales Church in Buenavista at the north.

spices for sale
a display of spices at the public market of San Miguel, Jordan

However, when all things fail to align, we still accomplished that thing that matter most: buy our pasalubong (giveaway gifts). At Jordan, a convenient detour is the Trappist Monastery, an enclave run by monks of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance. Their souvenir items are quite reputable and we came home with jellies, jams and candies like the yema, tarts and piyaya.

the OLP Trappist Monastery stained glass
a stained glass window of the OLP Trappist Monastery

And of course, we could not leave without the famed mangoes of Guimaras. I’m not about to dampen or bolster Guimaras’ claim over my favored Cebu mangoes but honestly, the Guimaras mangoes are as tender, as sweet and redolent as the best Guadalupe mangoes of Cebu. However, they do get extra points for consistency as they strictly search and dispose of any non-Guimaras mangoes at the ports. I have to give it to Guimaras for keeping the strain of mangoes “pure” and undiluted with errant varieties.

the mangoes of Guimaras!
mangoes for sale at San Miguel Market, Jordan

Soon: Guimaras’ Inampulugan Island

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1 comment:

coolwaterworks said...

Hi Farl...

Good thing I found out you have a blog... We used to run around the same circles in Flickr when I was still active there...

Very nice images as usual... In particular, I liked your photo of Mt. Canlaon... I was able to visit Guimaras in 1996... Haha! I also wish to go back there soon...

I'll be a regular visitor...