This is the second half of our Guimaras adventures.
After our brief stop at the Trappist Monastery, we were asked by our tour guide which would be our next activity, Guisi lighthouse or island hopping. Because we wanted to maximize our time for island hopping, we opted for the Guisi Lighthouse first. Moreover, it is the furthest.
On our way to Guisi, we stopped by a picturesque spot where one can view the mango plantation by the Lopez family, according to our tour guide.
After an hour’s worth of travel, we’ve reached the the furthest point of our travel itinerary, the Faro de Punta Luzaran, or simply the Guisi Lighthouse. A 19th century lighthouse, Guisi Lighthouse is the second oldest of its kind in the Philippines. It was first lit up in 1894.
Aside from being far, the road to the lighthouse is a bit rough and can be uncomfortable for those who are on the tricycle tour. Nonetheless, the challenge is all worth it as the Spanish colonial structure never fails to amaze. The rustic feel of the environs also provide a great place for photographs.
Biding our time, we brought out our cameras and snapped one photograph after the other, knowing cognizant of the fact that it might take years again before we can have the chance to visit this wonderful site. Our fellow travelers were also taking their time capturing the beauty of the place on every angle.
The view of the sea from the lighthouse is as stunning as the structure itself. I guess we were too busy taking our own pictures we failed to take pictures of the view from the lighthouse. 🙂
Last Stop: Island Hopping
Our last stop for the day is Sitio Alubijod, the entry point for our last activity for the day, island hopping. The rate for island hopping is PHP 500.00 for the first hour and additional PHP 150.00 per hour for the succeeding hours. One boat is allotted for one group. Each boat can accommodate at least 10 individuals, give or take a few.
Our first stop is the South East Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDeC) Igang marine station which is around 20 minutes from our jump-off point. SEAFDeC is an Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) funded research center aimed at the development of aquaculture in the Southeast Asianregion. Its research center in Guimaras is just one of the organization’s numerous research stations.
The Igang marine station is concentrated mostly on saltwater fishes and we got to see some of them. We also fed milk fishes, or locally called “bangus”, some of which weighed 10 kilograms. Bangus is the Philippines’ national fish. Another resident of the station is a sea-turtle, or “pawikan”. Pawikans are highly endangered species, thus the need to protect them.
After SEAFDeC, we went to Baras Cave. We skipped Turtle Island and Ave Maria Island all together. The former because the turtle they used to take care off was released to the open sea following complaints from an environmentalist organization and the latter because we were not in our swimming attire.
Baras Cave is but a small cave. The turquoise waters, however, are very tempting to swim in. As previously mentioned, we weren’t prepared with our swimming gear so we had to take a pass on the swimming part.
Our last stop for the island hopping is Natago Beach, a private resort. The entrance fee is PHP 50.00 per person and is separately paid. While the ochre-colored sand is fine, the beach is not suitable for swimming as it is riddled with sharp corals. Natago beach, however, is a great vantage point for taking snap shots of the sunset.
After Natago Beach, we returned to our jump off point to prepare for our journey back to Jordan Wharf and back to Ilo-ilo City. And as the sun sets in Guimaras, it is time for us to wave our goodbye.
Overall, the Guimaras day tour left enough promise to ask for another serving of the province. Given another chance, I’d allot more time to explore every nook and cranny of the Philippines’ Mango Capital.