Guimaras
Travel

Travel Tipid Tricks: Guimaras Tour on a Budget

Guimaras TourSpontaneous, budget-friendly trips can be the most fun and memorable travel experiences. This was the case when we, the Accounting Department of South Bacolod General Hospital (SBGH) took an impromptu road trip to Guimaras Island, Philippines.

As part of the hospital’s work-life balance program, the annual summer outing was planned with just a few days’ notice and limited funds. By sharing expenses, finding deals, negotiating prices, and careful planning, the group made the most of their budget. This allowed us to get the full Guimaras experience while still having leftover funds for souvenirs.

The Accounting team’s Guimaras adventure demonstrates how, with some creativity and flexibility, an affordable yet rewarding trip is possible. Their last-minute excursion ended up being a highlight of the year.

Transportation

Traveling via the Bacolod-Iloilo-Guimaras route is both time-consuming and costly. Due to constraints on both time and budget, our team opted for the Pulupandan-route instead, which not only saved us several hours of travel time but also a few hundred pesos.

Negotiating or bargaining, commonly known, in the local dialect as “ayo,” plays a crucial role in managing expenses. We arranged for a van to transport us from the port to the hotel, as well as for some additional side trips along the way, at a cost of P 1,000.00.

However, eager to explore as many tourist attractions as possible, we negotiated an additional P 1,000.00 for extra stopovers. While the standard rate for a day tour with a van rental is P3,500.00, we managed to secure it for P2,000.00, thus saving P1,000.00 on transportation costs.

Resort Accommodation

Making an advance reservation is always worthwhile, especially when a significant portion of our budget is allocated to resort expenses. The team secured our reservation at the resort approximately three weeks before our planned trip, and fortunately, the spacious room capable of accommodating 8-10 individuals was still available.

This air-conditioned room, along with the additional mattresses, provided much-needed rest for our weary bodies after a long day of travel the day before. Beyond securing the best rate for the shared room, it also afforded us the opportunity to engage in meaningful conversations with our colleagues, offering insights into each other’s personal lives.

Furthermore, my wife and I got a separate room. We shouldered the hotel cost, as it was not included in the team’s budget.

Tourist Sites

Guimaras offers so many places to visit – from their famed beach resorts, historical monuments or old churches, or you may opt to try their world’s famous mangoes. Wherever you may want to visit or whatever you want to do, it is always advisable to plan your itinerary ahead of time.  Here are the places worth-visiting while on Guimaras tour:

San Lorenzo Wind Farm

To maximize our time, we headed directly from the port to the town of San Lorenzo, known for its iconic San Lorenzo Windmills. These towering wind turbines, numbering approximately 27 in total, generate renewable energy to power the town and surrounding areas. We took numerous selfies and group photos against the backdrop of these impressive machines.

Guimaras tour
The San Lorenzo Windmill Farm in Valencia is slowly becoming a must-see place while in Guimaras.

Manggahan Festival

Our next destination was the Jordan Capitol Grounds, where the Manggahan Festival takes place. Here, we encountered an agricultural fair exhibit showcasing an array of beautifully arranged mangoes.

The sight tempted both myself and my wife to return in the afternoon for the Mangoes-All-U-Can event. For just P120.00, participants can indulge in an unlimited supply of mangoes, whether ripe or not, served with bagoong on the side, allowing for a hands-on experience.

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The Mango-Eat-All -You-Can is one of the highlights of the Manggahan Festival

Guisi Lighthouse

Following that, the group proceeded to the Guisi Lighthouse, the remnants of a renowned structure that once guided navigators during the Spanish era. Perched atop a hill, the lighthouse offers a panoramic view of the expansive, crystal-clear blue sea.

Descending a man-made staircase comprising approximately 100 steps, tourists can enjoy a refreshing swim in the cool waters of the nearby Guisi Beach Resort.

This signage allows visitors to know the historical significance of the Guisi Lighthouse

Alobijod Cove Resort and Raymen Beach Resort

Our final stopover was at Alobijod Cove Resort and Raymen Beach Resort, conveniently located next to each other. Both resorts provide rooms at budget-friendly rates without compromising on essential amenities typically found in standard hotels.

The beachfront scenery is awe-inspiring, boasting stunning views of both sunrise and sunset against a backdrop of white powdery sand. For those wishing to avoid excessive sun exposure, the optimal swimming times are from 4 PM until nighttime, as well as from sunrise until around 9 AM.

Guimaras Tour
Raymen Beach Resort has various airconditioned rooms and amenities suited to the needs of its visitors.

Island Hopping

Several members of the group opted for island hopping, a popular activity in the area. Small pump boats are available for a nominal fee, providing access to the nearby islands, which are ideal for private swimming, snorkeling, and even cliff diving.

Among the islands waiting to be explored are Ave Maria Islet, Tatlong Pulo Beach, Buho Ramirez Cave, Taklong Island, and many others, offering a diverse range of natural attractions and recreational opportunities.

Trappist Monastery and Gift Shop

Before heading home, we made a stop at the Trappist Monastery and its accompanying gift shop. The monastery provides a serene environment for contemplation, prayer, and lighting candles.

Visitors may have the opportunity to observe the monks during their scheduled prayers, though direct interaction with them is generally not permitted.

At the gift shop, the group purchased various delicacies and souvenirs. Visitors can find a wide array of food items showcasing Guimaras’s specialties, including piayaya, dried mangoes, mango jam, mango crinkles, and mangoscoth (a type of butterscotch) alongside religious and novelty items, perfect for bringing home as pasalubong.

The Trappist Monastery is haven for the weary souls, which is ideal for retreats and teambuilding activities

Food

Every traveler knows the importance of traveling light, but when you’re on a budget, it’s worth making an exception. Bringing along food items and pre-cooked meals can be practical ways to cut costs.It’s also a good idea to dine at the resort’s canteen or purchase meat or fish for grilling.

This approach doesn’t require elaborate preparation and only requires a few ingredients. Plus, spending time together in front of the grill with your team allows for countless bonding moments that are rare to come by in the office.

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We are just a pebble in the ocean called life.

Small but Terrible

Guimaras may be a small province with just five towns, but it boasts an array of tourist attractions that shouldn’t be underestimated. Beyond its renowned mangoes, the province offers pristine beaches with clear waters, uncrowded islands, and the warm hospitality of its people, all contributing to an unforgettable travel experience.

We returned home invigorated. Like Guimaras, we aim to continue bringing smiles to the workplace.

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3 Comments

  1. Emily says:

    I’ve always wanted to visit the Philippines and see this beautiful nation firsthand! Guimaras looks like the perfect place to go on holiday. There’s a lot to do and see while exploring here, and you don’t need to break the bank!

  2. Karen says:

    the place seems very authentic, that is awesome. I don’t visit authentic places with real vibes a lot, I would love to check Ghimaras, it is awesome.

  3. And now I am introduced to a new rejuvenating location! Just the idea of long seascapes and cultural charm makes me so happy, and I can imagine the good times you had. I must say a well-managed, budgeted trip. I’ve made so many bloopers on this for my trips. I would certainly like to try the mangoes and see the monastery and the lighthouse.

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