Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Guimaras experience

I had never been to Guimaras (ghee-ma-ras) before, a province in the Visayas region of the Philippines. My friend Marnie spent large parts of her childhood there, about a gazillion years ago (har har! She rarely reads this blog, so I have no compunctions about poking a bit of fun at her). Her town in Guimaras was celebrating its annual fiesta, and I was glad to have been invited.

From Manila, we flew south to Iloilo City at 5:30 AM, getting there about an hour or so later. We then had to take a 20-minute ride on a ferry to reach Guimaras.

En route to Guimaras from Iloilo. That's me sticking my tongue out, haha

Once there, we rode a van that took us to Marnie's town. Many modern-day technologies we take for granted were missing on that island, but man, it sure abounded in Mother Nature's gifts. Everyone is glad that the island has recovered nicely from last year's terrible oil spill.

The beaches we went to were once again in pristine condition.

The beach in the pictures above is on an island called Yato, which isn't attached to the town proper. It's still located within the province of Guimaras. To get there, we had to ride a kind of outrigger canoe for about 5-8 minutes. The canoe didn't have any shade and it was damn hot, that's why we're looking like refugees under our towels.

On our way to Yato Island under the blistering sun

There were hardly any tourists, and absolutely next-to-nonexistent commercial establishments (if you don't count the tiny sari-sari stores, or convenience stores). Just Mother Nature at her best. We hiked to some big rocks situated out in the ocean (during low tide) and we could see and feel the fishes swimming between our legs. Sitting on the rocks under the shade of some trees, looking out on the seemingly endless blues and greens, reveling in the salty wind...ahh, indescribable.

Marnie taking a breather

Now I'm hungry for some Guimaras mangoes. I'm also
remembering how bright and clear the stars seemed to be -- and oh so close. It was like I could almost touch them. They were almost within arm's reach; all one had to do was to extend her hand to the heavens and presto! Stardust at your fingertips. Magical. No need to pull up one's skirt.

Pics and stories about the fiesta and some rock-climbing in Guimaras in my next post.


Natalia said...

See, that, minus the blistering sun, is exactly what I need right now. It looks fantabulous.


Matt-Man said...

Looks great Lizza and great pics, and of course you know which one I pobably like the best...Cheers!!

Em said...

This looks like such a beautiful place!

Kiyotoe said...

did i mention how jealous i am? This place looks beautiful.

Photo Cache said...

I second kiyotoe, am turning so green here. glad you found a deserted paradise. more to come i hope. now, i need a holiday.

maggie said...


sis is starting university in UP Viz. i am looking forward to stealing a sideway trip to guimaras when i visit her during school term. im so glad u said theyve finally recovered. i was really worried about the effects of the oil spill to the marine life and the natural beauty of the island's beaches.

kyels said...


White sandy beaches with aqua blue color!

Well, looking at the photos make me drool because more than anything I'd want to be at the beach right now.

Cazzie!!! said...

Stunning, love the images :)

Sanni said...

Wanna go to Yato Island... now! I´d even walk...

Wonderful pictures *sigh*

Have a great weekend, Liz.


Turnbaby said...



There is never too much ocean--so lovely Lizza--and the beach is nice too!


Scott from Oregon said...

Lizza rock climbing?

I'm gonna have to stay up all night waiting for that to post...

You look natural in a towel.

Some people can't pull it off...

Maryanne Moll said...

Aha! You wore a San Miguel Beer t-shirt. :)

Daddy papersurfer said...

OK- you are forgiven-beautiful. Why don't I have to pull up my skirt?

Debo Blue said...

The beach?

Blistering heat?

No modern day conveniences?

Um, I'll take your word for it that you enjoyed yourself:-)

Lizza said...

Natalia: That it was.

Matt: Thanks! And I can make a wild guess. :-)

Em: It's a beautiful place. But people who prefer bright lights, shopping malls and the like will find themselves bored out of their minds. :-)

Kiyotoe: Yes you did. :-) You have to be there to see it in its full glory.

Photo: It was commercially deserted, but lots of local folks were there. Very friendly and helpful people. I hope you take that holiday soon!

Maggie: That's wonderful. There were so many places in Guimaras that we wanted to visit but couldn't because of lack of time. I hear UP Viz has a marine reserve near Guimaras, then there's this island with lots of porpoises; you have to hire a canoe for a day to explore them all. I believe some parts are still suffering effects of the oil spill, but they've recovered for the most part.

Kyels: You shouldn't miss the beaches the next time you come to visit.

Cazzie!!!: Thanks, and glad you stopped by.

Sanni: You seem to love beaches and the water; I'm sure you'd enjoy the sights and sounds here. I met several German tourists both in Guimaras and Boracay, and they seemed to be having a good time. :-)

Turnbaby: Glad you found them lovely! Hugs.

Scott: Well, it wasn't like rock-climbing the sport, haha. What I meant was I had to scramble up some big, big rocks and jump over some minor ravines to enjoy some of the terrific views. These city bones took quite a beating. :-D

Maryanne: I ♥ San Miguel, both the shirt and the beer. :-D

DaddyP: Because you don't wear one. Please don't tell me you do. I'm traumatized enough by thoughts of your purple and fuchsia socks.

Debo: Haha! Yes, I did in spite of the things you mentioned. :-)

Anonymous said...

Welcome back, Lizza. Beautiful pictures. I want to be where you were.

lizza said...

Thank you, Gale. It's a beautiful place. You'd have a good time, if you don't mind roughing it!

Tammie Jean said...

Oh Lizza, this looks and sounds so beautiful! What a fantastic trip!

Lizza said...

That it was, Tammie Jean. Thanks!

allin said...

it was really a nice place.but that oil spill realy change that place, alot of corals died. bt ryt nw its almost back to its old beauty. my family owned some part of that island, the portion that fronts the main island of guimaras, actualy me and my cuzins jst came from there last friday. anyway, if any1 wnts to go there jst feel free and njoy.. bt dnt trash. thanks.:)