My Most Favorite Province in the Philippines is Guimaras
STORY: I think it's about time i write about this beautiful province in the Philippines called Guimaras. Two years have passed since i set foot on this beautiful paradise. Situated just across Ilo-Ilo is this very quiet municipality of Nueva Valencia. Totally foreign to my ears, all i know is someone i heard from the Pier said she was going there, so was i. I went to Guimaras because it was unheard of, not after the ill fated accident spilling which i rather not discuss. I wanted to go there because of its rustic appeal, its local culture, its innate sensibilities, and its beautiful scenery. Straight from the Ilo-Ilo airport in the city, i went to the ferry to catch a ride to Guimaras. About less than a hour later, and not knowing where i am actually heading, i felt the sudden rush to just settle anywhere. I arrived at the Tourism office and was asked to point where I'm heading.
I HAVE NO IDEA. I am totally clueless.
The lovely girl told me to get a private ride. I insisted that i want to ride with the locals. I waited for about an hour for the jeepney to start traveling. It was maybe - a five or six year old kind of jeepney; silver plated but lost its shine. There were a couple of young teens looking at me. There was a mother with her little baby, milking her breast. There was also an older man with a fighting cock. A woman was holding her plastic bag filled with vegetables in one hand, and a hanky covered to their nose. The jeepney was loud with screeching sounds. In short, it was a terrible ride. But it didn't bother me, not even with the fact that i don't understand a word coming from the driver's mouth.
I asked in Tagalog how much is it to get to Nueva Valencia. He answered about a few pesos. Not bad. I patiently waited as i got to my destination. And then, i was set off to go to the nearest beach resort where i could stay in a shack, eat loads of seafood, use time to think about life, watch the sunrise, watch the sunset, mingle with the locals, and of course eat the sweetest mangoes.
I remembered saying "Oh my God", as i look around where i was. It was the most beautiful place I've been anywhere in the Philippines, even better than Boracay. It's quiet charm easily made me so alive. The water was unbelievably green, the sand was so white it was reflecting the bright rays of the sun. There were rocks, cliff, rock formations to my right. There was also a nearby island to my left. The locals said that during low tide i could actually walk along the sea going there.
This was surreal. You know when you see a place you couldn't imagine you're actually going. This is it. There was no one around when i arrived. I ordered lunch, and settled in my room made of old wood and with a fan attached to the ceiling. A big window opens up to the view of the ocean. The best part... as soon as i step out of my room, down a few steps, is a cove with a beach all to myself.
I spent the days chillin' by the beach, getting myself pampered with a feast, drinking beer, watching the view, taking photos of everything that fancy my eyes. And at night, i go have dinner set up outside as i watch the full moon. It appeared so near almost touching the horizon. I also made friends along the way. Guimaras will always be special to me. It's the one place i know i will go again someday.
As i enter the cave, i see a distant island, untouched by anyone but a few people who happen to live there.
Guimaras' best features are the crevices of the rocks, aquamarine waters and mind-blowing sunset. Its amazing rock formations can picture endless characters in your mind. It's so peaceful and photogenic here that every angle is a good shot. / There's a grotto standing topmost of the mountain. I go there every mid afternoon to pray to the Virgin Mary to bless me and my family with infinite happiness and good health.
This is the short cut i take from one island to the other. Bound by huge rocks and the water depending on the tide, this is the path that will lead you towards the huge cave.
I've never done spelunking before. It was very dangerous at that time because the tide was high and almost every rock i step into gushes with water. But i braved it and went straight to the viewing deck or as i call it.
This is the view. I couldn't put words just because the photo itself speaks of how beautiful this place is.
The next day was more sun and beach for me. The sky was so blue. I took this photo while lying on the sand, watching the day pass by. With coconut trees in sight, clouds in white and the sound of the ocean, i lull myself to sleep.
Then, i woke up to the sound of a sea gypsy selling loads of trinkets, and of course, Guimaras Mangoes. I don't know but i tell you this, it is the sweetest mango I've ever tasted. Its sweetness is pure, very calm to the buds. And eating it with my bare hands while at the beach is just heaven.
I couldn't help but wonder why a lot of people don't go to Guimaras. This is the far left side of the other beach i went to. More popular with a couple of shacks built by the ocean. I found this spot to be somewhat quiet. I set up my iPod, listened to Moby and just watch as the water crashes with the rocks. Calming.
TIP: I say the most essential experience anyone going to Guimaras is watching the sunset. Up until now, i found the sunset by the cliff in Nueva Valencia in Guimaras to be the most touching, loneliest, and most heartbreaking of all the sunsets I've watched. It is so lovely i took a photo every 5 minutes.
REALIZATIONS: As i write this, i felt a bit sad that it's been more than two years since I've been here. I remember telling the caretaker i will go back as soon as possible but things went on a different direction and i was headed out of the country. But by far, still one of the most breathtaking places I've been to will always be Guimaras. Its grace, its poise, its shyness to travelers, its innate charm, its beautiful people and its wild characters. A sudden urge i feel now is to go back in this lovely province in July as i set to go back to Visayas to explore the other provinces. I will always remember.
If there's one photo i took of Guimaras that best represents the province, this would be it. The dying sunset - the most beautiful photograph I've taken anywhere I've been. It's like this..
I think dying and not being able to see this beautiful place is just sad. It's lonely. Only in Guimaras have i cried watching the sunset.
If you want to go to Guimaras and experience paradise... click here to go to the province website - http://guimaras.gov.ph/