In order to maximize my stay in Iloilo City, I decided to go for a solo day trip to Guimaras Island two days before the Ati Tribe Competition which was the highlight of Dinagyang Festival. I've been to Guimaras Island numerous times since my high school years but never did I hear about Guisi Lighthouse until about recently. Also, another discovery that led me to embark on this trip alone was the island hopping activity, which I'd never heard of before too. The only thing that I knew Guimaras was famous for were the sweet mangoes. :-)
To tell you the truth, this was my first "official" solo trip. However, I have never considered this a "major" or "epic" solo trip because, first, Guimaras is only 15 minutes away from Iloilo City and second, I'm already quite familiar of Guimaras and speak the same dialect. Additionally, it was just a quick day trip. Therefore, the challenges and uncertainties that go with a "solo" adventure never occurred to me somehow. LOL. Well, at least technically, I went there alone.
Moving on, my main goal for this trip was to do the island hopping tour but since Guisi Lighthouse sparked my interest, I decided to go for a land tour first. Normally, travelers would allot two separate days for the land tour and the island hopping tour. There are quite a number of good tourist spots in Guimaras but I was not interested with the other attractions so I chose only the ones that I like which includes Guisi lighthouse and beach, Villa Igang, Sad-sad Falls and Trappist Monastery. Don't get surprised if I tell you that I was able to visit only one of these, which I will explain WHY in awhile.
Getting to Guimaras Island is very easy. It is accessible from Iloilo City via a 15-minute boat ride from Ortiz Wharf. Fare is P14 per person only. I started my day late and arrived at Jordan Wharf, the entry point to Guimaras, at around 11:15AM. The sun was scorching hot at this time.
At Jordan port, I inquired from the Tourism Assistance desk about the transportation. Despite the recommendations from blogs, I never booked for transpo in advance since I know there are available drivers to hire for a day trip when you get there. My original plan was to take a habal-habal (single motorcycle) to save on expenses since I'm traveling alone. However, the staff convinced me to take a tricycle instead. Their reasons - it's too hot and the rate for either of the vehicles is the same. So I gave in.
Alternatively, you can take a public jeepney to go around the island but it will consume most of your time. Jeepneys will drop off and pick up passengers along the way or will wait until it is filled up with passengers.
I met the driver and told him about my itinerary so he could plan which place to go first. Guisi beach and lighthouse were the first stop, then Villa Igang, then Raymen's Beach Resort which is the jump-off point for the island hopping. Trappist Monastery will be visited last since it's on the way back to the port. At the start of the tour, we came to an agreed price of P1,000 for the entire day (already with a P200 discount from the standard rate, according to him). I initially told him that I was going to Raymen's Beach Resort only (which costs P250)...so I thought an additional P750 for the whole-day tour was not bad.
To cut the story short and to my dismay, he refused to bring me to Sad-sad Falls and after visiting Guisi, he skipped Villa Igang. I thought I'd been ripped off because for the same price (based from the experience of other bloggers) we could have visited all these places and more (including Balaan Bukid).
Anyway, I didn't let it ruin my day since I was more excited for the trip than to complain about shortchanging the service. By the way, the tourism office in Guimaras is strict when it comes to providing services to tourists. Abusive drivers could get suspended for a minimum of one week if reported to their office.
From Jordan Port, the drive took almost an hour to get to Guisi which is located in Barangay Dolores in Nueva Valencia. The ride was very uncomfortable, the road to Guisi was very bad and your butt could literally get numb from the long and bumpy ride. If you come in group or don't mind spending a bit, you can rent a multicab jeep instead which can provide a much comfortable ride.
Read more about my Guimaras escapade:
- Part 1 - My Solo Day Trip in Guimaras
- Part 2 - Guisi Lighthouse: Historical and Sightseeing Spot in Guimaras
- Part 3 - Guisi Beach: Guimaras' Well-Kept Secret
- Part 4 - Surpised by Alubihod Beach in Guimaras
- Part 5 - Island Hopping Tour in Guimaras