Guimaras Island has some of the best beaches in Western Visayas. As quick and easy as taking a jeepney ride, it takes only fifteen minutes – and only 14 pesos – for a pumpboat to whisk you away from the downtown sprawl of Iloilo to the pastoral pleasures of Guimaras. Wedged between Panay and Negros, the roughhewn island province boasts farm-fresh delights and hidden beachside retreats, ripe and ready to be relished.
Most visitors, locals and foreigners alike, gravitate to Alubihod Beach, a 200-meter long pocket of white sand shared only by three budget-friendly resorts in Barangay Poblacion, Nueva Valencia – the “tourism capital of Guimaras” located 30 minutes south of Jordan Wharf, the gateway to the province. If you’re not too keen on mingling with the weekender crowds, there’s Jannah Glycel Beach House, an intimate residence and restaurant set in its own tiny cove just next door. While further south, the crumbling 19th century ruins of a Spanish lighthouse peers over Guisi Beach in Barangay Dolores, an even quieter option on the mainland, just like Cabaling Beach Resort with its beautifully secluded turquoise cove in Barangay Espinosa, Jordan.
Hundreds of islets surround Guimaras Island, offering island-hopping and snorkeling opportunities mainly from the municipality of Nueva Valencia. Accessible by a ten-minute boat ride from Barangay Lucmayan, Magic Island Resort is set amidst 50 other limestone islets not unlike the Hundred Islands of Pangasinan. Across the water, Cabugan Adventure Resort has lagoon-side and cliff-side cottages where you can savor baked imbaw (mangrove clams) and sweet-and-spicy sikad-sikad (little bear conches) cooked to finger-licking perfection – easily the best shellfish on the island!
How to Get There
- Pumpboats frequently travel between Ortiz Wharf or Parola Wharf, Iloilo City Proper and Jordan Wharf, Guimaras between 5:00 AM and 6:00 PM. Travel time is only 15 minutes, and the fare is PHP 14 per person. Boats can be chartered for PHP 500 per way.
- The Guest Assistance Center at Jordan Wharf, open daily from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM, can provide tourist information and arrange transportation around the island. For inquiries, contact the provincial tourism office at +63 33 5812021.
- From Jordan Wharf, Nueva Valencia can be reached in 30 minutes by jeepney for only PHP 25 per person. For day tours, vans and jeepneys can be hired at PHP 2,000 to 3,500 per day.
Where to Stay
Magic Island Resort sits in a private islet surrounded by white sand, accessible by 10-minute boat ride from Sitio Dungcaan, Barangay Lucmayan, Nueva Valencia. All-in packages inclusive of overnight accommodation, meals and snacks, boat transfers and island hopping tour starts at PHP 1,300 per head for a group of eight or more. Tel. +63 9106243770
Raymen Beach Resort is a budget-friendly hotel located at Alubihod Beach, Barangay Poblacion, Nueva Valencia. Rates start at PHP 600 for a double fan room. Tel. +63 33 3960248
Cabaling Beach Resort in Barangay Espinosa, Jordan straddles between two beach coves with a secluded stretch of white sand and seaside saltwater swimming pool. Rates start at PHP 2,000 for a fan room, good for two to eight persons. Tel. + 63 9284879644