Guimaras – The Peace and Quiet of San Lorenzo

People need to recharge every once in a while, and what better way to do just that than to go out of town.

More often than not, however, our plans for rest and relaxation get ruined with wrong choices of accommodation and bad weather.

We can, of course, do nothing about the weather especially these days of climate change – when forecasts can say sunny weather but we are given thunderstorms.

But for accommodations, all we have to do is do a little research and shy away from the famous tourist spots if we want peace during our “re-charging” escapades.

I booked a flight to Iloilo ten months ago. It was supposed to be a solo trip but a cousin wanted to go so it became “our trip.”

I really wanted to experience Guimaras and Isla de Gigantes but I later found out we would need more travel days if we wanted to go to the latter via Iloilo. So we crossed that out from our itinerary.

It was not two days before our flight, though, when I booked an accommodation.

I wanted to be away from the crowd so Nueva Valencia (which I have read and eventually proved was very busy even on weekdays) was out of the question.

My cousin initially reserved a room at a resort in San Lorenzo which had a shared bath. That’s when I learned that San Lorenzo is fairly quiet especially on a non-peak season like in the month of June.

But no shared bath for me so we cancelled his booking and I booked a new one at The Clara Beach. It has, of course, a private bathroom as well as a porch and a mini-pool.

We had a different flight going to Iloilo. My cousin’s was at 4 AM. Mine was at 3 PM.

My AirAsia flight was delayed due to poor weather, although I was still lucky that it was not cancelled (unlike my Tagbilaran-Manila flight last year, also with the same airline).

We had no choice but to stay a night in Iloilo City because it was already nighttime and raining hard when I arrived.

We booked a room at One Lourdes Dormitel and we had a very comfortable sleep that it was almost 12 noon when we checked out.

After a little city tour and some shopping, we were ready for Guimaras. We went straight to the wharf in Parola as we were told it’s best to ride a passenger boat there bound for Buenavista if we’re going to The Clara Beach resort in San Lorenzo. We were charged P15 by the boatman, less P5 terminal fee because we went straight to the boat. We didn’t know there was a ticket booth. Sorry.

While the boat ride was a breeze, the jeepney ride to San Lorenzo was long and tiring. We arrived at San Lorenzo around 3 hours later because of various stops.

And then we had to hire a tricycle for P200 to get to The Clara Beach.

The commute paid off when we got to the resort.

I wanted a non-crowded place? I was given a deserted one.

We were the only guests!

The Clara Beach, Guimaras

Upon arrival, we were greeted by the staff who helped us with our bags and led us to the reception where the owner, Ms. Bena, was waiting.

We were given the keys to the room (P100 deposit) and the kind staff took us to our accommodation.

The pool was what caught our attention. It was small, but since there were just the two us at the place, it was very much okay.

It’s also a plus that the pool was almost just in front of our room. We could just jump in whenever. And that’s the first thing we did.

We were given the Chris room. All cottages are given names instead of numbers. There’s also a Bena cottage, etc.

What’s a little disappointing was the beach. The part fronting the resort was a mangrove.

If you liked to swim, you would need to walk a little farther from the resort to get a decent spot.

It was okay, though. I would give up swimming for peace and quiet and just the sound of the waves.

It’s best to take a dip in the morning till mid-afternoon when it’s high tide. It was already low tide when we arrived so we just used the pool that night. After that and a few beers, the bed looked so inviting so we just recharged for the tour the following day that we arranged with the tricycle driver that brought us to the resort.

I woke up around 5 the following morning. I wasn’t able to sleep much because of mosquitoes and the bed. It wasn’t that comfortable compared to the beds at the Iloilo dormitel we slept at the night before that.

The sun was already shining brightly at 5 AM. I went out to check the beach and noticed that high tide was starting.

The mangrove got covered with waist-deep water a few hours after.

Walking along the shore proved that that part of Guimaras was also scenic. The sand was pale brown and the water was clean. Best of all, we owned the beach that time. No other tourist was around even from the neighboring resorts.

We hardly noticed the time until our tummies told us it was time for lunch. We hurriedly went back to the resort because we had a scheduled tour that afternoon.

The tricycle driver/tour guide showed up after lunch. The tour (which would be detailed in another post) took almost 7 hours.

Tours are priced by the Guimaras tourism office at P1,500 per tricycle. As a courtesy, we treated the driver to a meal when we got hungry

It was already dark when we got back from the tour. We were tired and hungry but sleep was what mattered.

After all, we needed to wake up early to pack for our flight back to Manila.

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