Guisi: A Paradise in Guimaras

Every person deserves a much-needed break from one’s routine. I read somewhere that in order to move forward with what you are doing, you need to take a step backward. So, I took a step back from my work routine and travelled with my partner Glen and his son Selwyn to a paradise called Guisi, a sitio situated in Nueva Valencia, Guimaras.
It was our first time to visit Guisi. It was my first out-of-Iloilo travel in five years.
We opted to pass through Jordan, the capital of Guimaras, so we took the pumpboat from the Ortiz Wharf. We reached Jordan at noon, so we were quite hungry. One tip in travelling: be careful with what you eat. So, we opted to buy Spam and had it cooked at the Paul and Michelle Carinderia instead of buying from its turo-turo.
After lunch, our group took a jeep that’s bound for Nueva Valencia. The trip took us 30 minutes and the fare was 40 pesos for each person. There are also tricycles that can take a traveller directly to Guisi.
Upon reaching Nueva Valencia’s jeep terminal, single motorcycles took us directly to Kenyama Beach Resort. The fare was 40 pesos per motorcycle ride.
Kenyama Beach Resort is nestled on a cliff. The main building has two floors. The ground floor houses the reception, dining, billiards and videoke area. The second floor houses the deluxe and presidential rooms. The de luxe room where we stayed had two single beds, a bathroom, television, refrigerator and air conditioning. From the balcony, guests are afforded a view of the islets, big rocks and the azure waters of Nueva Valencia.
They also have fan rooms. These are located in the cottages erected below the cliff.
The kind-looking man at the reception who also happens to be named Glen, told us to check out the bamboo bridge. That’s when the adventure started. The bridge is made of bamboo poles tied together and erected on top of the rocks. At the end of the bridge is a cottage nestled on a big rock. It is also where one can gradually ease down in order to enjoy a swim in a private area surrounded by rocks.
I’ve seen the pictures of other guests who really threw caution to the wind, jumped off the bridge and enjoyed the cool waters.
After swimming in the lagoon, going up the rough rock to the cottage was the hard part. Adult knees got scraped while going up but somehow it didn’t matter. It was fun. It was a good exercise. It was a new challenge.
The caretaker said that the sunset is so beautiful from the balcony. So, at 5:30 PM, we waited but were not so lucky because there seems to be a storm brewing. The dark cloud just swallowed what could have been a romantic sunset in Guimaras.
At night, Kenyama Beach Resort is very peaceful. A guest lounging at the balcony hear the relaxing sound of the waves hitting the rocks.
At 4 in the morning, we woke up and enjoyed the view of the full moon. We were not so lucky with the sunset, but staring at the moon was more romantic.
A morning at Kenyama Beach Resort is also peaceful. Mary Ann, the cook was already fixing the breakfast table as early as 7 AM. She revealed that Kenyama Beach Resort is only two years old and owned by a Japanese and his wife, a native of Buenavista, Guimaras. She also said that potable water in Guisi is scarce. They have to buy potable water for the resort’s use. The other residents of the sitio had to go to a well and get their water, which is a little salty.
She added that Kenyama Resort is so unspoiled that some rare fishes still thrive in its waters. While Glen and Selwyn were swimming near one of the rocks, they saw a snake-like fish that has black and white stripes. Mary Ann said that this is “indong”, a harmless fish that the natives eat with coconut milk and guava. She also said that if you’re lucky, you’ll find lobsters near the bamboo bridge.
After breakfast, we’re off to the Guisi Lighthouse, which is just a 10-minute walk from the resort. (One will never gain weight in Guisi because of the walking and hiking).
Inside, the old lighthouse and the new one stand side by side. Around them are ruins. Near the lighthouses is the Guisi Heritage Cottage that is for rent for only P1,500 and can accommodate six persons. It’s a humble cottage with a terrace, dining area, and a fan room. Outside is a dirty kitchen and bathrooms. Everywhere in Guisi, you can find a place to swim. Right after we went out of the lighthouse’s compound, we discovered a small clearing at our left. We checked it out and found that there was a makeshift ladder. After a somewhat challenging descent, we were brought to a beach with fine sand. It was swimming time again.
After a swim, one can walk the long stretch of white sand in the area. One of the boys said that we can return to our resort that way as well. As we were walking, we saw some leaves and coconut husks being burned on the beach. The boys said that’s how they rid of the clutter. No wonder some parts of the sand are black.
After a distance, we found the entrance to Guisi Clearwater Resort. Since it was eleven, we decided to have lunch there. However, the lady at the reception said that since we are guests of Kenyama Beach Resort, they cannot serve us food. We were quite disappointed because we wanted to try everything about Guisi, including the food served in the varied resorts there. So, while mumbling phrases like “not good for tourism”, we hurdled the almost hundred steps (they seemed a hundred at that time because we were hungry and tired) upwards in order to get out of the resort. We hiked our way to our own resort but passed by a sari-sari store and had lunch – the most delicious candaba bananas I’ve ever tasted, a junk food called cheese logs and Coke.
Then, it was time to leave Kenyama. We were glad we chose to stay in the resort because we had a complete experience – we swam, we braved and we were treated like royalty.
We took a single motorcycle towards the terminal of Jordan jeepneys for P90 per ride. We took a jeep to the Trappist Abbey, bought pasalubongs and rode a tricycle to the Jordan Wharf and rode the pumpboat back to Iloilo City.
Our Guisi trip will never be forgotten. And for Ilonggos who want to experience paradise day in and day out, Guisi beckons./Marie Katherine Villalon

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