THE PROVINCE OF GUIMARAS is an island located in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. Its capital is Jordan, bordered by Panay Gulf, Iloilo to the northwest and Negros Occidental to the southeast. The province is located on the islands of Guimaras and Inampulugan. Guimaras used to be a sub-province of Iloilo until it was made an independent province on May 22, 1992.
In 1551 a Spanish governor-general together with Augustinian friars established Spanish settlement in Guimaras to Christianized the natives of the island. Then in the year 1742, the island fell under the jurisdiction of Dumangas or now known as Iloilo which after a few years led to the Dominicans taking over Guimaras. By 1755 a regular parish was already built, population increased and the Island became a municipality with a seat of government.
During the American occupation in the 19th century, roads and wharfs were constructed. On June 18, 1966, Guimaras became a sub-province of Iloilo. Eventually in 1995 by virtue of Republic Act No. 7896 and Republic Act No. 7897, Guimaras became a separate province and created two additional municipalities of Sibunag and San Lorenzo. In the year August 2006, the beautiful province encountered an ecological disaster after an oil tanker carrying around two million liters of petroleum sank off the coast that affected much of the sea livelihood for its people.
Guimaras has a total land area of 60,465 hectares or 604.65 square kilometers with a population of 141,450. The average annual growth rate is 2.48%. Most of the residents are Ilonggos and their dialect is Hiligaynon and Kinaray-a, followed by Tagalog and English language. The province has a tropical climate with dry season during the months of November to April and rainy or wet season on May to October.
COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY IN GUIMARAS
The economy of the province is agricultural with palay, coconut, mango, vegetables, livestock, poultry and fishing as major products. The Guimaras Island is famous for producing the sweetest mangoes in the world with 50,000 trees planted in the area. Mangoes are also processed to delicacies such as dried mangoes, jam and others. Major industries are tourism, fruit processing, coconut processing, fish farming, handicrafts making, mining, and quarrying and lime production.
ART AND CULTURAL HERITAGE IN GUIMARAS
YEARLY SPECIAL EVENTS
Ang Pagtaltal sa Guimaras A Lenten presentation staged by the townspeople of Jordan patterned after Oberammergau in South Bavaria, Germany. The trip is climaxed by a visit to Balaan Bukid, a pilgrimage site for the Catholics.
This is held every 1st Sunday of March, an open sea competition solely dependent on the wind for its power for motion.
Mountain Bike Festival A multi-event team sports spearheaded by the Guimaras Mountain Bike Association (GUIMBA).
Manggahan sa Guimaras Festiva This is a week-long celebration of the foundation of the province every 22nd day of May, featuring Guimaras products, cuisine, services and pageantry.
The province is famous for handicrafts like woven “buri” bags, mats, hats, baskets; as well as fruit processing, lime and coconut industry. Aside from mangoes, kalamansi and cashew nuts are also abundant.
MUNICIPALITIES OF GUIMARAS
Guimaras is composed of five municipalities:
CITIES AND MUNICIPALITIES
NO. OF BARANGAYS
Found at Bgy. Balcon Maravilla. A big cave full of bats and a good source of guano, a fertilizer for plants.
Costa Aguada Island Resort
Located at the crocodile-shaped Inampulugan Island with clean white sand beaches, a mini zoo and jungle park. Ideal for horseback riding, snorkeling.
This was built in 1903 by Douglas McArthur.
This is a Lopez family summer house built in 1910 on top of a huge rock.
Other places to visit:
HISTORICAL / NATURAL SITES
CHURCHES / MAN-MADE
Baras Beach Resort
Isla Naburot Resort
Nagarao Island Resort
Punta Blanco & Camp Jossman
Raymen Beach Cottages
Villa Encarnacion Mountain Resort
Good Shepherd's Fold Academy
SEAFDEC Research Station
Guimaras can be reached via domestic flights such Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and Air Philippines from Manila, 9 times daily to Iloilo City.
There is a Roll-on-Roll-off (Ro-Ro) service having four trips to Guimaras. There is also a Ro-Ro traveling from Negros to Guimaras and vice-versa.
The Guimaras mainland is close to the Iloilo Harbor and can be reached in 15 minutes by motorboat or ferryboat that services the island. Motorized banca are also available upon special arrangement to the different islets of the Island.