Guimaras: Island Hopping, By The Hour
There’s more to Guimaras than merely being ground zero of the world best tasting mangoes. The small island province is blessed with pristine beaches, hidden gems, and a whole lot more just waiting to be explored, like a ripe mango fruit just begging to be plucked. Through the island hopping tour, travelers can experience, and explore Guimaras’ famed island and islet attractions.
Intense rainfall poured heavily the day I arrived in Guimaras. I sat by the shores of Alubihod hoping for the rough seas to calm down, and just like in Anini-y, no boat carrying tourists dared to brave open water in such conditions. It wasn’t until the next day, the weather slightly shifted and boat operation in Alubihod, the jump-off point, was back on business.
If Guimaras is the breeding grounds of mangoes, the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center, or SEAFDEC, is the breeding grounds for fishes, not for the market, but for study. Researchers tour visitors around the fish pens divided into sections to cater different kinds of aquatic species such as groupers, sea bass, bangus (milkfish) the Philippine National Fish, classified by type, age, breed, etc. Visitors interact with the fishes through feeding demos under careful supervision.
No trace of any shelled-reptile were present at the so-called Turtle Island that day since they were released to sea prior to our visit. However, a cavern, probably a turtle shelter, tucked in limestone rocks can be explored. A few meters across Turtle Island lies Ave Maria Islet, a popular destination known for its tiny patch of soft and powdery white sands and glass clear waters.
“Natago” literally translates to Tagalog as hidden, such as this beach and unfortunately the last destination. Natago Beach sits isolated on this tropical paradise of white sand beach, and huge rock formations where a very nice beach house is poised majestically.
More destinations could also be included in the island hopping tour such as Baras Beach and Cave, Pawikan Caring and Feeding Station, Fairy Castle, and many remote islets waiting to be explored. Unlike most island hopping tours which charges by the destination, here, they charge per hour. As much as I’d love to see each and spend time lazing on its beaches, my tight budget gets in the way. However, I consider myself lucky and truly grateful for bumping into some nice travelers, who turned out to be my fellow Rizaleños, for letting me tag along their trip.
If you’re reading this, thank you very much. I hope we our paths would cross again so I could thank you personally (maybe on the footbridge, or the bus stop).
Some fast facts that may help you on the trip:
1. Alubihod Beach is the jump off point to island hopping tour. You may wish to ask assistance from your resort or you could just look for the boat operators on the beach.
2. Island hopping rates. This trip took over 3 hours, so ask you boat man how fast could his boat take you from one place to another.
P600 – first hour
P150 – per additional hour
3. Donations are gladly welcomed at SEAFDEC.
4. Some islands might charge entrance fees so bringing loose change would be helpful.
5. This is the fourth post on my two-week long backpacking journey in Panay Island and Guimaras. Next stops are Iloilo’s Historical & Religious Landmarks
6. More Guimaras destinations.
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9. Happy travels and be safe.