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Thursday, July 7, 2011

GUIMARAS: The Island Orchard

        Guimaras is an exotic island province just south of Iloilo located in southeast Panay and northwest of Negros in Western Visayas. Its beautiful spots make local and foreign tourists flock to the place. Dr. Jose Rizal even recommended the place after his visit in 1896. It is separated from Iloilo by the Iloilo Strait and from Negros Island by the Guimaras Strait.
         It is an island but to reach it is not difficult for a prospective trader or investor. From Iloilo harbor to Guimaras Island is only a 15-minute ride by ferry boat. The surrounding islets could could be reached by special arrangement with pumpboat owners ¬¬¬from 5 minutes to 2 hour depending on the distance of the place.
        Agriculture¬ is the chief industry of the people. A great number of people are engaged in crop production because of its tropical climate. The climate is really suitable to farming. Rice, corn and vegetables are the main produce, they being the staple food of the people. Mangoes, coconuts, cashew, citrus, jackfruits and bananas are fast becoming profitable.
        Today most of our commercial fruit planters are interested and concentrated on the production of mangoes. The mango industry is a major income earner for the people of Guimaras since they export it to US, Europe and some places in Asia. The mango industry is picking up because every year there is an increasing demand for the supply of mango for export. Aside from mango, the province is concentrating to produce calamansi and cashew fruits. Cassava too is cultivated in a large scale and converted into starch at a multi million dollar processing plant at Barangay Dasal, Jordan. Because of its huge and various production of varied kinds of fruits the province of Guimaras has earned the distinction as the “Island Orchard of Western Visayas.”
        Guimaras is an island with 5 municipalities namely Buenavista, Jordan, Nueva Valencia, San Lorenzo and Sibunag with Jordan as its provincial capital. It has 98 barangays.
Fishing is another industry common among Guimarasnons. Its commercial fishing catch includes such fish varieties and seafoods as shrimp, mackerel, moonfish, anchovies and lapulapu. But the most sought after is the banagan (lobster) which gets a good prize in Manila.
        Among other industries engaged in by the people in Guimaras are charcoal making, manufacture of hydrated lime, rice milling, basket making and mat weaving.
        Guimaras is an exotic island blessed with picturesque beaches, radiant falls, copious springs and scenic offshore islets. Any day of the week, foreign and domestic visitors flock to the Daliran and Moroboro Caves, Siete Pecados, Roca Encantada, Pungkok, Navalas all in Buenavista; Naburot and Nagarao Islets, Rumagangrang and Cabalagnan beaches, Tiniguiban Island all in Nueva Valencia, and Balaan Bukid (Holy Mountain) at Jordan. These beautiful places help in increasing the income of the island province through the tourism industry.

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