The second day we were in Iloilo for the 2010 Blog Summit, I, Doi and Edcel decided to tour Guimaras. I brought with me a trusted Lonely Planet 2006 edition which I borrowed from my friend. I made the itinerary for the three of us, but the problem was, we could not follow instructions on how to get to the port. We missed the port by half a kilometer and the stinginess in us did not want to pay for fare so we walked.
We made an early turn before the actual corner to the port and we reached a dead-end. People were pointing to a narrow alley telling us that it would lead to the port. We did follow the pathway and led us deep into a neighborhood. Portions of the alley was tight and we saw tables and chairs right on the passage way – a sort of extension perhaps for some of the houses there as their living room. We passed by people eating, women washing their clothes, kids sweeping, and these people were looking at us quizzically. We were people who obviously were lost!
Finally, we came out to a paved road and saw people with bags coming our way. We followed suit among the incoming flow of people and arrived at the port eventually.
It was a quick boat ride, probably less than twenty minutes. When we arrived at Jordan port in Guimaras, we rented a tricycle and planned to visit two religious sites: the Trappist monastery and the Navalas church.
It took us about thirty minutes to reach the Trappist monastery. We spoke with one of the monks there and he welcomed us warmly. He even served us coffee at no charge. We interviewed him how they live as a religious person in this peaceful sanctuary and he told his story to us patiently.
They live a solitary life of prayer. They tend to different chores and tasks; some of them assigned to entertain guests, some were assigned to the gift shop, some assigned to take care of the chapel, among others. They grow and make goods to sell at the gift shop – there were dried mangoes, assorted food, and assorted gift items ranging from hand woven bags to small nothings.
The place was very cool as trees abound. There were only a few people and only later did the place get another set of tourists.
We went around and saw their chapel and their gift shop. Inside the shop, we observed silence though it was not the chapel. The whole area just felt serene and it would be out-of-place to have fun here.
In the afternoon, we went to Navalas church. It was located on the northern tip of the Guimaras island so it was a long trip coming from the south.
We were a bit disappointed when we saw the church. It was renovated! The only remaining old-looking was its façade. Inside the church, everything looked very modern. Walls were cemented and door grills were in place. They even painted the rims of the main wooden door with white! What were they thinking? A wooden, heavy-set, brown door is a signature of any old church here in the Philippines. Not to mention huge.. They could have just replaced it with some white internal doors, but that would have been overkill. As you can see from the picture, there were powerful fans on the walls ant the old chandeliers had energy saving light-bulbs.
The Loney Planet Philippines book I carried said that the bell tower does not have roof, but it already had one as what you can see from the picture. Maybe I need to buy the newly updated May 2012 11th edition.
We found the field across the church more interesting. We played around there until it was getting dark and it was time to head back to Iloilo…