Before bidding Ilo-ilo goodbye, we decided to make a short side trip to Guimaras. Since the island was just a 15-minute boat ride away from Ilo-ilo City, was asked ourselves, why not? The last 3 days have been tough and we desperately wanted to go out and do something - anything before our faces morph permanently into this....
Luckily enough, we were told that the jetty for Guimaras-bound boats was found right at the back of the hotel. Perfect.
We left the hotel at 9:30 in the morning and took a short (but hot, hot, hot, hot, hot) stroll to the pier. Tickets bound for Jordan (a municipality in Guimaras) are sold in this tiny, yellow stall. Fare: 14 PhP. We heard that this is the shortest route to the island. There is another boat going to Buenavista (another port in Guimaras), but travel time would take around 45 minutes in another jetty somewhere in the city.
|Everything is open-air accommodation. =)|
After docking, we headed straight for the tourism office. This was the very first time for me to visit a tourism office. In Guimaras, what greeted us was a small counter. It's found just a few steps away from the docking area. The ladies in the tourism counter were really helpful. They gave us a suggested itinerary and even helped us decide on a price for the motorcycle tour.
We told her that we wanted to return by 2pm so our site seeing time was limited. She gave us a price of 1500 PhP. SInce there were 5 of us, we shelled out 300 PhP each. Fair enough.
FIRST STOP: The Beaches of Nueva Valencia. This was the farthest spot of the tour. We did nothing here. Seriously. Even Manong Driver was puzzled. Call it a joy ride. There was no public access to the beach. Our sneaky little Rex managed to get into one of the resorts without paying the entrance fee (Yessss, masterssss is tricky..). He went back and told us it was nothing out of the ordinary. So we decided to skip paying the 20-Peso entrance fee and buy mineral water instead. hahaha.
SECOND STOP: Camp Alfredo. I shall remember this place for its Kasuy Trees (becasue we stole a handful of them). I categorize this as a mini-adventure camp with a mini zipline and a mini cafe that sells expensive drinks (a Coke sakto for 35 Pesos!).
But apart from the expensive mini Coke, they had other impressive facilities as well. Their swimming pool for instance, reminded me of the one I spotted from Patty Laurel's blog in Ubud - open air and surrounded by lush greeneries. The large trees around it had pretty lanterns too. I'm guessing this place looks even more beautiful at night. For more photos on Camp Alfredo, you can find it on a separate post here.
THIRD STOP: The Trappist Monastery. This monastery is run by monks of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance. Trappist monks are known to speak only when necessary. The ones living in Guimaras make a living by selling various products to visitors of the monastery. I bought most of my pasalubongs here at their gift shop.
|The Energy Ball finished a box of these in less than an hour. I'm guessing they tasted good.|
I'm not really the religious type but I found this lady selling wood right outside the gift shop. The wood was miraculous, she says. The cross symbol only "appears" during the Holy Week. The holiday was still 2 days away, so I guess miracles have a grace period as well. =) I was a bit intrigued so I decided to buy one.
LUNCH: The Pit Stop. I've read about this in Carla's blog (Blissful Guro) when she featured their Mango Pizza. We decided to order that on top of a rice meal. Bawal mag lakwasta na gutom. We ordered pork sinigang, chicken adobo with mango bits and of course, the mango pizza.
The verdict: the mango pizza was so-so. It had more cheese than mango. The mango ketchup was interesting. What won us over, however, was the chicken adobo with mango bits. The chicken was tender with just the right combination of sweetness and sourness.
FOURTH STOP: Museo de Guimaras. The museum is currently closed for renovation. I have no idea when it'll open. Bummer, yes.
|Ali-baba and the other thieves|
|ROCK SALT. Literally.|
LAST STOP: Roadside Mango Stalls. I made this name up because these are stalls that sell mangoes on the.... oh go figure. haha.
Over-all, we spent 476 PhP on our 5-hour tour - this includes the round trip boat fare, tour and lunch. If you want a complete breakdown of our expenses, click here. Not bad at all, if you ask me. =)