Guimaras tops the list of the most accessible white sand beach near Iloilo City. I’ve been there countless times but I’ve never run out of new things to do and new sights to see. We even had a hard time deciding where to stay for an overnight trip. What with around fifty beach resorts to choose from! Props to my boyfriend’s perfect choice – La Puerta Al Paraizo.
We wanted a resort that’s exclusive and private and that’s exactly what we got at La Puerta. They have a wide area, but only around 10-15 rooms. Upon arrival, we were warmly greeted by the staff. While waiting for the check in time, we had an ocular inspection of the whole place. The resort has two white sand beach fronts and two hills that you can explore.
We stayed at one of the hilltop rooms (P3600/night) overlooking the islets and the main beach front. It has a huge sliding window that gives the best sunrise view.
Bringing of food is not allowed at the resort. The menu is quite expensive, but the servings are fairly large and good for two – three persons. And it doesn’t include any pork dishes. Each meal costs around P400-500 for two people.
We were advised to do island-hopping in the afternoon. I have gone to several islets around Nueva Valencia, but not in the side of San Roque so that was as exciting as my past experiences. La Puerta has two small motorboats that you can rent for P500 for the first hour and P150 for every succeeding hour.
For around 2 hours, we have visited a few islands and passed by other tourist spots. First, we bypassed the Sapa/Suba Malawig. I never thought it would be a learning experience as signboards were placed every few meters. They tell tourists of the many purposes the mangroves serve for the environment. The mangroves don’t only help in maintaining the cleanliness of the sea, but they also serve as food, home, and breeding place for many species.
Penned as the Jewel of Guimaras, The Taklong Island National Marine Reserve (TINMR) is a premier eco-tourism destination and is even a Protected Area under a Presidential Proclamation. The Marine Reserve has vast mangroves, seagrass meadows, and coral reefs. It is home to hundreds of fishes, the Tabon Bird, Philippine Hawk Owl, Triton’s Trumpet, Sea Turtle, and the Philippine Duck that I wanted to see soooo bad but failed to. TINMR is composed of the Binabaywan Island, Kalirohan Reef, Sapa/Suba Malawig, Balas Balabag, Piagau Beach, Balabag Sea Cave, Taklong Cave, and Talisay Taklong Island.
We dropped by Talisay Taklong Island next. It is the home of the UP Visayas Fisheries Department. I just had to ask our boatmen if we could come for the sake of memories. Our overnight stay there in high school was unforgettable for me. Can’t forget that we made a music video of “Kiss Me” by the Sixpence None the Richer… at 15.
We spent a good 30 minutes at Balas Balabag before heading back to La Puerta. It is a little sandbar that’s very ideal for dipping. Aside from having fun frolicking, we also were amused with the hermit crabs under the rocks.
We spent the rest of the afternoon chilling at La Puerta’s beaches as we enjoyed yet another round of mango shakes. After dinner that night was probably my favorite and most unforgettable part of the trip. We were supposed to doze off early so we can catch the sunrise the next day. But on our way to our cottage, I looked up and saw the beautiful starlit sky. At one of the terraces of the resort, we devoted about an hour and half just looking up at the constellations. The fresh breeze, meaningful conversations, senseless jokes, clear bright night sky, and tight, warm hugs were perfect to cap off our brief getaway.
Overall, I’d give 4 stars to La Puerta for the lack of cellphone signal, television, and internet connection. Yep, the lack of those stuff even made our trip even more memorable. No distractions – all eyes were on me. Kidding. The serenity of the place even maximized our quality time. Also, the owners and the staff were very accommodating and friendly. Great customer service.
Sunburned skin, sweaty and sticky feeling, unwanted tan lines, bumpy and dusty roadtrips and all, that trip was still well worth it. Thank you, my love.
La Puerta Al Paraiso is located at
San Roque, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras
Tel.Nos.: (033)394-0088; 09275079024