For our last day in Guimaras, we decided to wake up early that morning because we’d like to see the sunrise. Probably not such a big deal for other people but to us it is. We knew too well that as soon as we get back to our normal life, we won’t be sitting idle waiting for the sun to rise. Oftentimes, it’s risen long before we wake up!
Anyways, so we did head out early to wait for Mr. Sunshine. Right after that we had our breakfast and then went to visit ‘Mangrove Exploration’ (still a part of the resort). They have bamboo bridges set up within the maze of mangroves itself. So, it’s not like you’re going to have to thread along murky waters. I’m not sure how long it took us to walk around the villa after that, we just saw a tricycle drove by with a couple of guys as passengers. And since the villa is so secluded, you won’t exactly see people pass there by mistake. We somehow knew that it’s our bangkero (boatman) and his sidekick or whatever you called the guy that helps the boatman. So we head back to the main villa and alas, there’s our boat! Ready to take us island hopping!
Waves are quite nasty during some part of the trip, but it did mellows down once we get to the area where the little islands are. We went to see the ‘Bat Cave’, which of course, is expected to have loads of bats.
It’s pretty amazing. The water inside is crystal clear. The cave’s ceiling is full of bats, which of course, we’re not so keen at noticing since it’s quite dark. Plus of course we’re so busy taking pictures. We only realized how many bats are in there when we saw the picture! It’s pretty hair-raising to see those bats hanging up there. Good thing that we didn’t know at the time.
After that, we went to see a couple more islands which names I can hardly remember. Then we went to visit Igang Marine Station of SEAFDEC (I just look it up, no way I’ll remember what it’s called) I do remember though our boatman saying ‘sipdek’ I thought it’s a local name or something, again I just nod and smile…turns out its SEAFDEC.
Have you seen and touch a seahorse? Well, we did! They have a specific cluster there solely for seahorses! Pretty amazing! I can’t seem to find the pictures though, but I’m pretty sure I took a few snapshots. After the seahorses, we get to see a feeding frenzy in one of the fish cages (milk fish), when a staff threw a handful of fish meat (I think). It’s pandemonium, quite scary actually, it’s like if all the fish decided to have one solid move altogether, they can all break free. And when you’re in a floating islet like that, interconnected to the other islets with just floating bridges, it’s easy to imagine Jaws to pop up anytime. And to make my imagination run even crazier, we were brought to this particular cluster with 3 gigantic lapu-lapu (grouper) in it. It’s really big! I’ve never seen such a big fish in real life (well, I’m not counting those fish in the wet market, all gutted out and cut into pieces already), when a staff threw a couple of frozen small fish, one of the 3 just snap on it like crazy! The staff said, people no longer get into the pen unlike before when those three are not that big yet. Well, if you ask me, that’s a good call.
After that, we went to ‘PawCaFS’ (Pawikan Caring and Feeding Station), it’s like a turtle sanctuary. You can have your picture taken with the pawikan (turle). They also sell island souvenirs there, it’s one of their means to help and support the station itself. So after buying a few keepsake, some dried fish and a donation we moved on to our next stop.
We pass by Jordan Marine Reserve and Sanctuary and then proceeded to Ave Maria Island where there’s a small stretch of sand where it’s pretty safe to swim. We have our snorkeling gear with us, so that’s pretty fun. We even get to see a starfish! (We used my cousin’s camera on that island, days after that trip she said all the pictures got deleted. Seriously?!? Oh well, whatever!). We did enjoy a good 30-minute swim I think, we’re on a tight schedule because we’re leaving that same afternoon. So even if we’re still enjoying the water and the island itself, we don’t have much choice but to leave sooner that we hope. We have to allot time for our trip back to the main dock, and it’s quite far from where we are. Plus we still need to stop by the Monastery again to buy some sweets and ‘pasalubong’.
After a quick shower and a full lunch, our ever dearest May-may is once again on time to pick us up and drive us for the last time. After a quick stop at the monastery, we then went straight to the pier. We’re just on time to catch our boat that will take us back to Iloilo City where we’ll be catching our flight back to Manila.
It was really fun, we honestly enjoyed that trip. I won’t be thinking twice going back to Guimaras. (Unlike a couple of ladies we met in Batanes, they seem not that thrilled with the fact that Guimaras is so outback for their taste. Well, what do I expect, ladies of their age are probably more after comfort than adventure. Haha!) Anyways, I just have to remember to allot more days the next time I’m visiting Guimaras.