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article imageTraveling to Guimaras Island, Philippines Special

By Daniel Lick     Jul 12, 2010 in Travel
Guimaras Island, Philippines, experienced in 2006 the worst oil spill in the history of the country when the M/V Solar l sank and lost 2.4 million liters of crude. I explored the island recently to learn about its way of life.
Guimaras is a smallish island in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines. It has a reputation for particularity good mangoes. General MacArthur had a base here in World War II and it still remains today as a memorial. There is a mango research station and a Trappist monastery, which may be of interest.
Getting to the island requires a native boat from the port city of Iloilo. These wooden boats range from 10 to 50 feet in length and are notoriously prone to sinking. There is also a boat that connects to Bacolod City, Negros Oriental, if you are feeling adventurous.
Small resorts and guest cottages are scattered around the island. They range in price but most cottages can be had for around $20.00 U.S. Beaches are generally small and often stony, but a few are lovely with fine white sand. The south facing shores have heavy surf and strong prevailing winds.
Nowhere on the island did I see any evidence of the 2006 oil spill, although its obvious that tourism suffered as a result of the disaster.
All of the resorts on Guimaras are small and offer quiet places to relax and slow down. There is no nightlife on Guimaras other than the native festivals and celebrations. People are friendly but reserved, and although most understand English, they are shy to speak it.
You will not see many westerners here. Most of the visitors are Philippinos from Iloilo on day trips.
When you have had enough of the peace and quiet, a taxi can always be found to take you back to busier places. Don't forget your life jacket.
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