Guimaras - Guimaras Destinations


Guimaras was known originally as Himal-us. The name was corrupted by the Spaniards and became Guimaras. Augustinian missionaries established settlements on Guimaras under the jurisdiction of the town of Oton.


In 1742, the island became part of the town of Dumangas. The first town organized on Guimaras was Tilad, the old name of Buenavista.The island remained part of the province of Iloilo for most of its history.


Sparsely settled during much of the Spanish period, Guimaras became an important shipbuilding center during the booming days of the sugar economy. Lorchas or single-masted boats plying the routes from Iloilo to Negros were built in Guimaras. During the Filipino-American War, the Americans maintained a military reservation in Buenavista called Camp Jossman that served as the headquarters of the American forces in Panay.


On May 1992, the island became a separate province and the annual Manggahan or Mango Festival coincides with the annual commemoration of the province's birth.


The people of Guimaras are like Ilonggos in both temperament and nature, which is not surprising since Iloilo had dominated Guimaras for most of its history. They also share the same language, although some residents of barangays Nueva Valencia and Jordan speak Kiniray-a.


What is notable about Guimaras is the great number of pilgrimage sites in the island. Jordan is known for its Holy Week presentation--Ang Pagtaltal sa Guimaras, a Visayan version of the passion play. It's culmination is a one kilometer procession of devotees in biblical attire, accompanied by flagellants doing penance, and dramatizing the journey of Christ to Calvary as it ends up nearby Bala-an Bukid (Holy Mountain) to the large cross at the summit.


Another unique feature of Jordan is the Trappist Monk Monastery-- a refuge to the weary and heavy-laden.


One other Good Friday ritual is the Pang-alap in Catiliran Cave in Nueva Valencia. Hundreds of devotees crawl throughout the 500-meter long passage of the cave, while reciting Latin prayers, in the belief that they will acquire supernatural powers that would be useful to ward off evil spirits.


Blessed with beautiful sceneries, and untouched beaches, the province delights the water-sport enthusiasts. Nueva Valencia abounds with white sand beaches, colored corals, fish, and rare red shrimps in Tiniguiban Island. There are also areas for spear fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling. For Buenavista, the Daliran Spring and Cave, Siete Pecados, Roca Encantada, and Pungkok Beach are irresistible.



The Provincial Profile of Guimaras