This is part of Running in Guimaras series of posts.
Related Story: BALAAN BUKID 21K & 3K Trail Run: iRunBacolod Ruled but Transcentral Hiway Must be Proud of Me
We decided to head off straight to Guimaras after having not much luck in finding an accommodation in Iloilo City or even in the outskirts because unknown to us, it was Iloilo’s Dinagyang Festival. And, with our stupidity of leaving our ATM back in Cebu, pushing our luck with some expensive hotels was not an option either especially when everyone was on Dinagyang Rate. (Thanks, Karla, for saving our arses!)
You know you’re a runner when you travel basing on race route map
So basing on Balaan Bukid Half Marathon’s race route map, we crossed to Buenavista, Guimaras, which is the starting line of the race we’d be joining.
Mr. & Miss Tourism
But we did not have much luck in Buenavista because we were screaming “touristy” courtesy of the husband’s “bling2x” look. All the “habal2x (motorbike) drivers” aka “tourist guides” were shoving on us their services once we set foot on the port — like touring around the island, or half of the island, or whatever kind of touring service just so we’d hop in to their habal2x (motor bike).
Every time we asked them where we could get some decent place to stay in Buenavista, all we get were vague replies then they would insist again with tour-the-island services.
Since it was hopeless that these “tourist guides” would leave us in peace to think over our next step or give us some helpful answer, we just rode the first jeepney we saw without caring much where really it was heading.
Walking Distance Away
We finally found peace when we’re dropped in another terminal. So after looking at the race route map, and the Guimaras map with all the colorful legends (from Tourism’s office) because google map was made useless by Apple, we thought that staying some 20KM+ away from the starting line was the best option for us.
So we ended up staying at VALLE VERDE Mountain Resort. It’s located in Ravina, Sibunag, Guimaras. It is just 5-6KM away from the Provincial Capitol of Guimaras, which is in San Miguel, Jordan. And, it is some 8KM away from Nueva Valencia where it’s most known for beach resorts among all the towns in Guimaras. It can feel remote. But if you’re used to walking and running, it may look like every place is just a walking distance away from Valle Verde.
Based on the DOT’s map, Nueva Valencia and Jordan have the most colorful legends meaning they have more “destination spots” compared to other towns (Guimaras has 5 towns). Valle Verde is somewhere in the middle of Nueva Valencia and Jordan. So though it was probably some 20KM away from Buenavista, our race’ starting line, it would be the best option for us in the coming days.
I think it’s one of the things I’m thankful for from running because getting around when travelling becomes not a problem. Because I feel confident that whatever the distance of the destination we need to go, we can just walk it if all transportation fails.
Running makes places, far or near, just a walking distance away.
Valle Verde may feel more remote when you need to walk some 1KM of dirt road to reach it from the main road. If you are into running / trekking or biking, you will find the 1KM dirt road more of a bonus. And, the views along the way is not bad!
I don’t know how to classify accommodations since I’ve never stayed in all types. But I could say Valle Verde provides a decent basic physical accommodation you need, a comfortably clean place to sleep and do #2s.
They also have a restaurant in which they serve real home-cooked meals prepared by one of the owners, (Tita) Christy. When I say “home-cooked,” it really feels like it’s a dish prepared by your mother or grandma or favorite aunt. If you just want to dine there, it’s best to call them in advance because they mostly prepare meals based on what ingredients are available.
They have a man-made pool and a spring, which are both perfect for soaking to relax the body every after runs or whatever activity you’re into. If you’re thinking of some ziplines and all those hooplas, you cannot expect that in Valle Verde, which, I think, is a plus.
But I think the first thing you will notice upon arriving at their place is the grand ocean view with mountains which still have trees on the sides. The owners said some visitors would tell them that their view is like that of Lake Taal or of Tagaytay minus the volcano. But seriously, it’s a beauty of its own.
But the best feature for me of Valle Verde is that the owners, sisters Christy and Luisa, are very smart and hands-own. They also have connection with other service providers — from motorbikes, tricycles, and others. So they can give you the best rate both for you and the service providers. They’re knowledgeable of the ins and outs of Guimaras so you can ask them any thing – what to do, where to eat, how to go from one place to another. They were even able to find us an accommodation in Iloilo City.
The main reason why we opted for Valle Verde was because we prefer to stay in a place where there will be trails, roads and forks nearby to explore by foot, more than the entertainment facilities and luxury an accommodation can offer. And, that the owners can provide helpful answers with your questions.
With nothing much entertainment from the accommodation, not even TV, we’ll be forced to go out and scratch the surface of the place. This was the motto of the Nuts Huts, some backpacker place in Bohol we had once stayed. And, I’m trying to copy it every time we’d have a chance to be in a new place!
Few scratches done: Run for the Sunset, Run for the Sunrise
We took the trail nearest Valle Verde, which was just following the dirt road at the back of the resort. It took us to a port in Brgy. Lawi, Jordan, Guimaras, around 6KM (walking distance) away from Valle Verde. Locals said there is a turtle reservation center in that area but it was getting dark so we’re not able to check it.
The one below was more of Run for the Beach, as the sun was already high up when we reached Alubihod, the most popular beach in Guimaras. As such, it can be a bit crowded for a small beach. Alubihod Beach, Poblacion, Nueva Valencia is around 10KM (walking distance) away from Valle Verde.
One thing I learned when setting in Guimaras is that it’s not really much of a beach haven. Maybe because Guimaras is in the region near Boracay that the first thing that pops in my mind is beach. But when we get there, I was wrong. Of course, Guimaras has beaches. But coming from Cebu, their beaches are not that extra special but are still worth visiting. (Note: I only went to 2 beaches in Guimaras. Well 3, if a port can be counted as beach.)
Their beaches do not have long shore lines, thus if part of your travel itinerary is sauntering on the beach under the moon or sun, you might feel “bitin.”
So in this note, unless you really are a beach bum, you might reconsider picking an accommodation near the beach. Guimaras is more of a perfect place for runners, trekkers, bikers, and tri-athletes / duathletes. There are too many forks along the main road which might take a year to explore them all. Guimaras has more of a rolling-hills kind of terrain thus
Bikers are the more common sight, who pops up any time of the day on the road. A few runners can be found early morning along the roads.
More “scratches” stories of Guimaras in separate posts, please watch out for them. To get updated, please like our facebook.com/runroo, or connect with us at twitter.com/gorunroo.
VALLE VERDE MOUNTAIN RESORT Information:
Ravina, Sibunag, Guimaras
* Contact: Cristy – 09187303446; Luisa — 09185940958 (They are the owners, and are sisters. And, they’re the ones who will answer your call.)
* Room accommodation rates: P500-1,000
(P500 – tree-house, no CR; P800 – no aircon; P900 – w/ aircon, good for 3)
* Food Rates — Sandwich is around P38, dinner meal is around P160+-/head
* They’re featured in Lonely Planet.
* Motorbikes for rent at P600/day.
* Resort to San Miguel Guimaras, Jordan fare: P10 – jeepney, P20 – tricycle
* Jordan Port to Resort – P20 – jeepney