An exploration of quiet, beautiful Guimaras Island, Philippines; Alubihod Beach, Raymen Beach Resort, Baras Resort, Isla Naburot Resort, El Retiro Resort, mangrove restoration project and the historic Navalas Church. Guimaras Island is just a short, scenic and inexpensive pump boat away from Iloilo City. Alubihod beach is the best white sand beach that’s close to Iloilo City.
You’ll leave from rather decrepit docks off General Hughes Street (going to Jordan port on Guimaras) or from the north side of Fort San Pedro to Buenavista on Guimaras. This is not one of the safest areas of Iloilo City after dark so our advice is that if you arrive after dark take a taxi, don’t wander the streets in the port area.
Once you get to Guimaras you’ll find pretty rural landscapes dotted with Mango plantations. From Jordan you can take a multicab (small truck with bench seats in back) to Alubihod. You can wait for the muliticab to fill with passengers or you can arrange a “special” multicab trip trip to Alubihod (or elsewhere). The driver will take you to the beach and pick you up at a specified time. There’s a tourism office at the Jordan dock which can help with transportation arrangements.
Alubihod is the best easily-accessible beach from Iloilo City. It can be a little crowded on weekends. When we first visited Alubihod, there were only basic resorts, but now Raymen Beach Resort has expanded.
From Alubihod Beach we arrange for a pump boat to take our party to locations not accessible by road. Generally there are pump boats at Alubihod which can be rented.
Our first stop was some beach front property owned by an Iloilo City family.
While on our walk we saw evidence of charcoal making, a traditional rural enterprise. Even urban residents are using charcoal for cooking because the price of bottled gas has risen steeply. Recently, we were visiting an affluent Iloilo City family. The maid was ironing clothes with a Chinese-made charcoal fueled iron. The explanation; it’s cheaper than using electricity which is very expensive in Iloilo City. The concern is that the deforested, stripped-bare Philippines will suffer further.
Another Philippine economy measure is to avoid the use of electric water pumps on wells and to use hand pumps instead. Even in upscale Iloilo City subdivisions, one of the signature noises I hear on my morning walks is the distinctive clack-clacking of maids pumping water to wash the Pajero and do the laundry.
Next we piled back into our rented pump boat for a trip to Isla Naburot Resort. The resort is on its own island. You can arrange with the resort to be picked up by boat in Iloilo City. Isla Naburot is an upscale, eco-friendly resort priding itself on gourmet meals using fresh local ingredients. By design, there is no electricity, no throbbing generator. The buildings creatively incorporate architectural material salvaged from old buildings.
A few weeks later we took another trip to Guimaras to visit the more northerly part of the Guimaras, Buenavista. Our pumpboat left the Buenavista pier north of Fort San Pedro on the Iloilo City waterfront.
Our first stop was