Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Day in Guimaras (Land Tour)

27 October 2012. Guimaras.

Jas wanted some extreme activities so we proceeded to Camp Alfredo for his zipline. Camp Alfredo is located along the highway of Barangay Ravina, Sibunag. A Php30.00 per person entrance fee will lead you to a scenery of lush greens. The place looked like a big garden with its beautiful landscape. Among its facilities are a 330 meter zipline, rappelling, hanging bridges, cabins, treehouse, and a restaurant and bar. Lucky for Jas because Camp Alfredo was then offering a package of Php465.00 for the zipline, 2 hanging bridges, and the rappel.

Next stop was the Trappist Monastery, also known as Our Lady of the Philippines of the Cisterian Order. It is located in the municipality of Jordan. According to its website, the Cisterian monasteries are located in solitary places in the country in order to lead a more quiet and hidden life in simplicity. According to Maan, the abbey in Guimaras has a retreat house for those who wish to discover themselves through a spiritual journey. The abbey has a large orchard of mango and other fruit-bearing trees, the fruits of which they process into jam. The store located at the abbey's gate also sells cookies and pastries. According to Maan, the monks rarely go outside their abbey, and they are not allowed to talk. There's a designated monk who talks to visitors and accepts their prayer requests. We met Brother Peter when we visited the abbey, and I prayed for my dead, considering that a week later, it would be All Souls Day.

Jas wanted another extreme activity, so we went target shooting at Guimaras Adventure Park. The place is run by one of the children of General Corpuz, Sir Vince, who gave Jas a crash course on the proper handling of a gun for self-defense. The firing range was a good distance from the highway, and it needed a little hike, to get there. The distance was for safety purposes.

We had our snacks and pasalubong shopping at McNester, a mango processing enterprise owned and operated by Rebecca Tubongbanua. We met her in the flesh, and I learned from Maan that she personally supervises the operation of her industry. The industry aims to promote Guimaras through a unique concoction of mango products. Jas and I saw all kinds of products that could be possibly derived fom mangoes - mango polvoron, mango piaya, mango catsup, and their uber addictive mango atsara.
Maan then brought us to the oldest Roman Catholic Church in Guimaras, Navalas Church. Built in 1880, it is the only existing heritage church on the island. In front of the church is a watch tower, which, according to Maan, contained the biggest bell used to warn villagers of impending attacks. The bell was stolen, however, and it was said that due to its heaviness, it sank with the ship that carried it.
Finally, Maan let us experience a Guimaras sunset by bringing us to Roca Encantada or Enchanted Rock. On top of this hill is the summer house of the Lopez Clan built in 1910 in honor of Dona Presentacion Hofilena Lopez. It was considered a Heritage House by the National Heritage Institute. Maan also indulged me in some gossip while viewing the Siete Pecados from the mansion's balcony. It was a perfect view to end a perfect day.
You can contact Maan at 09155555064 or email her at guimaras.island@yahoo.com.
-jrlee