Desperately seeking paradise in Guimaras Island
Our time at Guimaras island was supposed to be relaxing without any internet connection (meaning, no work). I was really looking forward to relaxing on the beautiful beach, reading books from my new kindle. I had all planned out.
We found a great place from Rough Guide: a pretty little hideaway with fan double cottages on stilts, overlooking the bay and just a few steps away from the ocean. The food, almost all of it grown or caught by the staff, is good; there’s not much of an a la carte menu, but there are ample buffet lunches and dinners for around P200. How can you not picture yourself on this hideaway cottage overlooking the ocean? Everything indicated what we have been wanted in the Philippines.
But the journey to getting to the paradise wasn’t smooth from the beginning. The logic was simple. Just take four-hour long bus ride from Kalibo to Iloilo city, take a short twenty-minute ferry Guimaras and get to the resort by Jeepney. Easy. The trip took twelve hours instead of six hours like we expected. Everything took longer than it was supposed to be (except the four-hour bus ride), and we ran into a rush hour. Nonetheless, it was way more complicated then it appeared in the guide book, and we didn’t even reach the intended destination.
We settled at Raymen’s Beach Resort, right on the west shore of Guimaras Island, after walking two kilometers in the complete darkness. And resting our shocked body for two days, we finally took a step to the last leg of the journey, four days at Baras Beach Resort.
It was a paradise. Our little house (wooden hut) was looking out the emerald color beach. This isolated resort had a private beach, electricity only came for four hours at night, there was a dog family with the cutest puppy, and the view was picture perfect. Inside of the hut was not the cleanest, but it was perfectly understandable considering. We unpacked a little and went out for swim at our little paradise.
Dinner was cooked by the owners (no buffet). While waiting for the meal for two full hours (half strike), we were starting to doubt whether we could stay here for that long with the speed of cooking. But it was fixable by ordering two hours earlier than the meal time. As usual, I was attacked by an army of mosquitos during dinner. After taking another cold shower, I finally saw what was really going on in the room. My high hopes were smashed into the ground.
Everything was started by one cockroach (two strikes). My affair with my paradise was brief. According to my knowledge from childhood (I’ve participated a few cockroach terminating job with my grandmother at our house), there is at least a hundred more if I see one. I saw one running way from the bathroom, and that immediately turned me down. I also found out the charming paint patterns of the wooden beam out in the porch had done by termites.
We were starting to thinking ‘we don’t have to stay for four days’. Because we had to go through so many hoops to get here, we didn’t want to give up so soon. We wanted a quite place for our holiday, and this place was the perfect place. And we are the kind of people who find good things about the destination, rather than bad ones. We wanted to give this place another chance. The decision will be made in the morning after a good night sleep.
Using the four hours of electricity in the evening, we watched a movie in the bed to get things off our minds. Just before bed, we saw a cockroach crossing the bed (two and a half strikes). Things were getting worse. ‘Decisions in the morning, just one good night sleep’, I thought to myself. I constantly felt something fell on my skin during the movie: poppy seed looking something. The bed was covered by similar objects when we got there but we just brushed them off because that was just what people normally do. But there was a reason why the bed was constantly dirty; this object was obviously falling from the ceiling. One word ‘termite’ was crossing my mind but I stopped myself right there. I was pretty grossed out by a lot of aspects of this place, so I didn’t proceed my thoughts much further. I did my best not to move on the bed since I remembered the trace of a cockroach. I could feel the light touch of the small object all night, but I tried to sleep while covering my mouth with my handkerchief.
The next morning, I woke up very early in the morning, covered with sweat and seed looking objects. There was no good night sleep for me. First thing’s first, I jumped in the shower. We were pretty sure that seed looking object was created by termites in the ceiling, either their poop or wood pieces (ten strikes).
The decision was made: we are leaving.
At the same time, the view from the balcony couldn’t be better. Shining sun was enhancing the color of water to greener and bluer, palm trees were dancing with the light sea breeze, and the cute puppy was keep hanging out on our porch. Everything else except the room was perfect. If only I could camp in the sand, I would be a happy girl. We went swimming for the last time. As we were chanting the view of this wonderful place with so much potential, a big boat from Iloilo city with ten or so Filipino travelers pulled out. They brought a lot of booze and cranked up the radio as soon as they reached the shore.
‘More reasons for us to leave, great’ I thought.
This little-isolated resort wasn’t going to be a peaceful and quiet place after all. With the filthiest room and the other customers, we finally had a peace in our mind to leave this place.
I was wondering when did the Rough Guide writers visit this place. Clearly, there was no buffet and the place was quite badly run down. Nature was absolutely stunning but the whole property was not charming as they said. My friend who stayed here six years ago said it was a good place. Maybe that’s when the writers visited last time, I’m not sure. I am a big believer of guide books, and I’ve never been this much disappointed at a guide book. Hopefully, they put little bit more effort when they update the next edition.
So what happened to our holiday?
We left our paradise after only one day, but everything worked out great so far. Thanks to the group from Iloilo, we took an easy trip back to the city with their boat. We made our way to Bantayan Island (our next destination) very slowly and got to experience different parts of Negros Occidental, including much better food options, better transportation system, and beautiful beach (finally) for three days.
Bad things happen. Decisions can cause wrong results. But the important thing is how to move on. There’s no point to pout about the bad things. That’s what we did. We traveled to Bacolod, Silay, Sagay and about to leave to Bantayan Island for the next phase of the trip. We wouldn’t have an opportunity to find out the pleasant town of Bacolod, Silay, and Sagay if we the paradise was really a paradise. I was really sad to leave the paradise and worked so hard to find another oasis, but I guess the true joy was already here; a good time on the road with a good company. Now we are ready to get online after four days of internet de-tox. It was the longest four days, and we found a joy in every moment like we always do.