Mangoes and More


Belle Piccio
Belle Piccio | Jun 13, 2013

Guimaras Island is one of the favorite destinations of tourists every summer. One of its five municipalities is Buenavista, the oldest municipality of Guimaras.

Established in 1775 during the Spanish period, Buenavista comes from from the Spanish word for “good view”. According to historians, a Spanish governor-general on a trip to Iloilo was so astounded by the municipality’s picturesque landscape that he exclaimed, “Buena Vista!” The town of Tilad was thus changed to Buenavista.

Being bordered by the sea on three sides affords Buenavista a breezy and calm climate. For nature lovers, Buenavista has so much abundant plant life that you can see it everywhere- the front yards of homes and the countryside. Another attraction that captivates tourists in Buenavista are its white sand beaches and several caves that are begging to be explored.

Did you know that Guimaras Island is known as the “Mango Country” of the Philippines? Around 8,000 hectares or almost one-fourth of the island’s agricultural land is occupied by mango orchards managed by corporations and individual growers. The province produces some of the best mango varieties in the world and is certified pest-free by the United States Department of Agriculture. Three notable mango plantations in Guimaras are the Oro Verde, the Southern Orchard in Jordan and the Guimaras Tree Farm in Buenavista.

How to Get There

From Manila, you can fly to Iloilo (estimated cost of Php3,000++, round trip, one hour). You can also opt for a bus trip (estimated cost of Php875++ per head, air-conditioned bus and boat fare, 17 hours plus).

Buenavista is situated at the northern tip of Guimaras Island. It is one of the five towns comprising the province.

From Iloilo Airport, take a cab and ask to be taken to Parola which is the jump-off point for Buenavista. From there you can board a motorboat (Php10-20 per head, 15-20 minutes) going to Buenavista Wharf. The island is serviced by ferryboat or motorboat from 6am to 6pm on a daily basis.

For assistance you can inquire at the Office of the Tourism Guest Assistance Center upon arriving, it is just located beside the gate entrance. You can call them at (033) 580-83-85 (Mayor's Office/Information). You can also visit the Buenavista Municipal Town Hall by riding a jeepney, van or tricycle.

Where to Stay

Abelardo’s Beach Resort is a 15-minute boat ride from Iloilo City, followed by a 20-minute van or jeepney-ride from MacArthur’s Wharf. It is located at East Valencia, Buenavista, Guimaras. The resort is a half hectare wide with a volleyball court and a kids’ playground. You can enjoy their karaoke bar, and order food and drinks at the resort’s pavilion. Entrance fee is Php10 per head. For overnight stays, guests can choose from honeymoon cottage (Php650, 2-3 persons), family cottage (Php750-Php1500, 4-10 persons) and private family cottage (Php1500, 4-10 persons) for accommodation. For more information call the resort at (+63) 0915-671-2075.

Carmel by the Sea Beach Resort is a 35-minute boat ride from MacArthur's Wharf. It is located at East Valencia, Buenavista, Guimaras. Its amenities include sports facilities, floating cottage, restaurant, videoke, boat rental and a pavilion. Day trippers can rent picnic huts (Php100), cottages (Php 700, max of 4 persons) or for overnight stays get air-conditioned rooms (Php1350, max of 4 persons). For inquiries call (+63) 920-290-0321 or (+63) 917-964-8888.

El Retiro Beach Park is located at San Miguel, Buenavista, Guimaras. It offers manicure and pedicure services, body massage services, foot spa and foot reflexology, video karaoke, souvenir shop, boat rentals, camping area and a dormitory. Non-air-conditioned and air-conditioned cottages (Php1200-Php1500, inclusive use of amenities, entrance fees & one complimentary room) are available for overnight stays. A pavilion (Php2500-Php3500 for 8-hour rental, max of 100 persons) for seminars or occasions can be rented. For day-trips small picnic huts (Php80) and large picnic huts (Php500, max of 50 persons) can also be rented. Exclusive use of the resort is around Php10,000. Call (033) 320-3075 for inquiries.

Kelapa Gading Beach Resort is a 25-minute boat ride from Iloilo City, then a 30-minute van or jeepney-ride from MacArthur’s Wharf. It is located at East Valencia, Buenavista, Guimaras. The resort has a bar and restaurant, conference facilities, recreational facilities, massage services and laundry services. You can rent shed houses (Php100) during the day. For overnight stays you can get open cottages (Php800, maximum of 10 persons, with one double bed and four single foams), air-conditioned rooms (Php1200, maximum of 4 persons, with bathroom and television) or a two-storey cottage (Php1500, maximum of 15 persons, with three double beds, four single foams, television and bathroom). Contact (+63) 919-781-3295, (+63) 919-368-7719 or (+63) 917-302-7458 for inquiries.

Please note that the indicated rates are subject to change without prior notice. It is dependent on the PH peso- US dollar exchange rates.

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