24 Hours in Guimaras: A TREK Celebration

September 16, 2015 Travel

Twice or thrice a year, our group, TREK or TRails to Empower Group, goes to isolated communities to reach out. We take voluntourism to heart, especially the part where we go on our side trip.

After our TREK Iloilo, which targeted the Panay Bukidnon cultural group of Calinog, Iloilo, we visited Guimaras.

Guimaras is just a 15 minute boat ride from Iloilo City via Jordan port.  It is an island province, among the smallest and youngest, that is famous for its mangoes.  Of course, there is also a lot to see in Guimaras and here are the places we visited during our 24 hour stay in Guimaras.

Balaan Bukid

We have a lot to be thankful for.  TREK Iloilo is our first outreach outside Luzon so we were very worried about logistics but angels came to help and donations poured in.  We are blessed!  

Before the beach, we decided to do a little pilgrimage.  

Balaan Bukid is where the big cross we see from as far as the Iloilo coast is located.  Alongside its trail are 14 Stations of the Cross and at its summit is the Shrine of Ave Purisima.  

The trek was a bit difficult for me because I still have difficulties walking after a mountain climbing accident more than a year ago, but the view that waited for me at the peak, plus of course the communion with the Lord, made it all worth it.  

We were rewarded with a sweeping view of Iloilo and Guimaras.  I found myself a perfect spot to spend a little quiet moment and to reminisce about our recent outreach.

Trappist Monastery

This is another opportunity for us to give thanks.  After a quick lunch at a seafood restaurant, which ran out of seafood, we visited the Trappist Monastery.

Trappist Monastery grounds is a sacred enclave run by monks of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance, which follow the rule of St. Benedict.  The monks earn a living by selling souvenir items and processed foods.

I bought different food items and their rum balls for me are the best.  I also got rosaries and St. Benedict's medal and had it blessed there.  

Alibuhod Beach

We checked in at Raymen Resort.  We got a room that fits 8 pax for only P 2,200.00, while the rest got their own fan and aircon rooms.  Good thing we had reservations as the resort was full that time. 

Alibuhod has a short stretch of white sand.  It is also a jump-off point for Guimaras island hopping tours.

The sound of the waves, the seats in front of the beach and the cold beer were too inviting but I decided to join an island hopping tour instead.  

We contracted a boat, good for 10 pax, for P 500.00 for the first hour and P 150.00 for succeeding hours.

It was high tide so we were only able to visit a few destinations included in the usual island hopping tour but it was okay.  We enjoyed it.  

I skipped swimming at Ave Maria Beach because it was the time of the month.  It was our first stop.  I was happy just looking at it and admiring it from afar.  Our boat couldn't dock at the beach.  

Then, we went to the SEAFDEC Research Center.  Along the way, we spotted beautiful private islands.  

SEAFDEC Research Center is located on the southwest portion of Guimaras Island.  It is composed of clusters of floating fish cages interconnected by floating food bridges.  

The guide allowed a little bit of interaction with the fishes.  My friends attempted to make it a fish spa.

By the time we finished looking at each cage, it was already late afternoon.  The sea was calm and relaxing.  It was perfect to cap our day.

And, it was already sunset when we reached Raymen Resort.  Our friends who chose to stay were already in their nth bottle of beer.  We caught up with them, shared our little adventure, then started a proper celebration for TREK Iloilo.

We left Guimaras early the following day to catch our flights back to Manila.  We had a good time in Guimaras and we wish to come back for more.  

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