The Island of Guimaras, Also Known Worldwide For Having The Sweetest Mangoes
The Adventures of The Roving Route #13
This week we got a first-hand look at the Filipino dentistry industry! A cracked tooth of Derek's that was repaired a few years ago decided it was time to break again leaving some work to be done. A quick visit to the dentist resulted in an x-ray, temporary filling, and a second visit 3 days later for the permanent one, the tooth is now back to normal! All this for just over $60! Though aspects were below the standards of back home, they had some pretty funky gadgets we have yet to ever see! The strangest parts of the visit were the dental assistant's obsession with her phone while doing things like using the suction tool and their keen interest in the Miss Universe competition going on while we were there.
Just off the coast of Iloilo is the island of Guimaras known worldwide for having the record for the sweetest mangoes! Though we knew it was not the harvest season (that seems to be in May with its massive mango festival) we still hoped to find all sorts of mango inspired treats. Unfortunately, that was not quite the case but it didn't stop us from exploring one of the best islands we have been to yet! The island's tourism is just starting to take off and you can tell it's poised to explode. Beautiful white sand beaches and hundreds of small islands dot its shoreline. We can tell that the 50,000 mango trees will soon be taken over by the hundreds of thousands of tourists. The government is heavily investing in the area and it even looks like they will be building a bridge across the Iloilo Strait (especially after over 30 people died when 2 boats overturned just this past August during the short 15-minute journey!)
Though there were some little issues with our Airbnb in Guimaras, the owner was super nice and gave us a private tour of the island (for free!) and even showed us the perfect sunset spot before dropping us off at a beach to catch an island-hopping boat. Along with another couple, we bounced between a few islands pocketed with beach coves and the occasional cave. While the island hopping was great as well as the few mangoes we were able to find, the highlight of the island (and maybe even the trip) was the sunset spot that we returned back to. To get to it we needed to wade through knee-deep water, climb through a few rock holes and avoid the sea urchins to get to a large flat rock in the middle of a big cave. We had the place to ourselves and the most amazing view of the sunset. Jacki even saw a dolphin jumping! The struggle was getting out as the tide had risen. The entrance was now about waist deep and with the fading light, the rocks had become a challenge. We made it out but it was a risky situation with all our camera gear.
After a quick stop in Iloilo to finish the repairs on Derek's tooth, it was time to head to Bacolod- "the city of smiles" and the food capital of the country. Once you get away from the pushy tricycle drivers and food vendors, it is clear why it has the claim to fame. Our hotel is very well placed in the new section of town surrounded by more restaurants then we can count! This new area has been developed for the provincial government with a beautiful town hall and square. Our indecisiveness for dinner led us to stumble upon a moms' Zumba competition being held in the square. Ladies of all ages from around the city had up to 15 minute long choreographed dances that they performed in front of judges. Zumba is extremely popular here since Filipinos love to dance and sing! The best part of it all.... it was sponsored by a joint pain drug company!
With Christmas fast approaching and our departure from the Philippines looming over us, we are starting our planning for Thailand. Most of the week will hopefully be spent exploring the food in the city and light sightseeing before ending up back on Cebu Island and the city of Moalboal.
Cheers from Bacolod, The Roving Route