Monday, June 13, 2016

The Guimaras Island Hopping Experience (Part 1)

The Island Province of Guimaras is a favorite summer destination in Western Visayas. Its proximity to Iloilo City (less than 15 minutes by boat) makes it an ideal weekend getaway for tourists, backpackers and wanderers. Aside from its sweet mangoes, wind farm and lighthouse, Guimaras also boasts of exciting island hopping adventures to white sand beaches, coves and rock formations.

We spent a night at Raymen Beach Resort in Alubihod, Nueva Valencia and availed their island hopping package the next day. Standard rate for a boat with a maximum capacity of 10 persons is P500.00 for the first hour and P150.00 per succeeding hour. The rate is definitely cheaper compared to island hopping in other places.

We started at 6 AM and our first destination was the Igang Marine Station (IMS) of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center or SEAFDEC. The fisheries research center is usually the first destination for Guimaras island hopping since it is the farthest in distance from Alubihod.

IMS occupies four islets and has cluster of fish cages interconnected by floating bridges. According to its website, "IMS is host to a mariculture park demonstration and training facility that serves as a model in promotion of a sustainable mariculture technology for marginal fishers. The fully-equipped mariculture park also caters entrepreneurs who are interested to invest in aquaculture."

From IMS-SEAFDEC, we cruised back towards the direction of Alubihod and went past Raymen Beach Resort. We then slowed down as we approached an unnamed islet.

There is really nothing special here, just a rocky outcrop with a cave like opening on its bottom.

Our next stop was the Ave Maria Island. It is actually just an islet with rock formations and a short stretch of white sand beach with crystal clear waters. We spend quite some time here, mainly for taking photos as the shallow waters make it not an ideal spot to swim on.

Ave Maria is a small yet charming islet perfect for photoshoot sessions. However, since there are no cottages or tall trees to shield you from the heat of the sun, it is best to come here early morning or late afternoon.

(To be continued)

How to Get There

1. From Iloilo City's Ortiz Port, take a boat ride to Jordan Port in Guimaras. Travel time is less than 15 minutes.

2. From Jordan Port, hire a tricycle to take you straight to Raymen Beach in Alubihod.

3. Cheaper option would be to ride a passenger jeepney from Jordan Port going to Nueva Valencia. Tell the driver you are going to disembark at the junction road leading to Raymen Beach. From the junction, you may take a tricycle ride to the resort.

Guimaras Island Hopping Rates

4. To maximize your island hopping experience, you can start as early as 6 AM. 

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