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"Guimaras Island" redirects here. For other uses, see Guimaras (disambiguation).
Province of Guimaras
Official seal of Guimaras
Location in the Philippines
Location in the Philippines
Coordinates: 10°34′N 122°35′E / 10.567°N 122.583°E / 10.567; 122.583Coordinates: 10°34′N 122°35′E / 10.567°N 122.583°E / 10.567; 122.583
Country Philippines
Region Western Visayas (Region VI)
Founded May 22, 1992
Capital Jordan
 • Type Province of the Philippines
 • Congressman JC Rahman A. Nava (LP)
 • Governor Samuel T. Gumarin (LP)
 • Vice Governor Vicente B. De Asis (LP)
 • Total 604.57 km2 (233.43 sq mi)
Area rank 76th out of 81
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 162,943
 • Rank 73rd out of 81
 • Density 270/km2 (700/sq mi)
 • Density rank 28th out of 81
 • Independent cities 0
 • Component cities 0
 • Municipalities 5
 • Barangays 98
 • Districts Lone district of Guimaras
Time zone PHT (UTC+8)
ZIP code 5044 to 5048
Dialing code 33
ISO 3166 code PH-GUI
Spoken languages Hiligaynon, Kinaray-a, Ati, Tagalog, English

Guimaras [ɡimaˈɾas] is an island province in the Philippines located in the Western Visayas region. Among the smallest provinces, its capital is Jordan. The island is located in the Panay Gulf, between the islands of Panay and Negros. To the northwest is the province of Iloilo and to the southeast is Negros Occidental. The island is part of the Metro Iloilo-Guimaras, one of the twelve metropolitan areas of the Philippines.

The province consists primarily of Guimaras Island, and also includes Inampulugan, Guiwanon (or Guiuanon), Panobolon, Natunga, Nadulao, and many minor surrounding islands.[3] Geologists[who?] have concluded that the island once formed one landmass with Panay.

Guimaras, formerly known as Himal-us, was a sub-province of Iloilo until it was made an independent province on May 22, 1992.


Spanish era[edit]

About 1581, Gonzalo Ronquillo de Peñalosa, Spanish governor and Captain-General of the Philippine Islands, established a settlement in Guimaras for the purpose of the Christianising the island's natives. He and his subordinates organized the pueblicitos or villages of Nayup under the patronage of Saint Peter the Apostle, and Igang with Saint Anne as patroness.

Evangelization of Guimaras occurred around the same time the friars were making inroads in Panay. The Augustinians established the visitas (chapelries) of Nayup and Igang as subordinate to Oton, Iloilo. Gómez Pérez Dasmariñas, the 7th Spanish Governor-General, noted in a 20 June 1591 report to King Philip II that the friars of Oton made regular visits to the island.

In 1742, the island came under the jurisdiction of Dumangas – now known as Iloilo, until 1751 when the Augustinian Order was replaced by the Jesuits, after which the Dominican order took over Guimaras. The Jesuits, who had established a school in Iloilo and had missions in Molo and Arevalo, charge of the island. By 1755, it was organized into a regular parish. When the population increased considerably, the island was given its municipal status with a seat of government at Tilad (today Buenavista).

American era[edit]

Under American rule, the Guimarasnons were given the opportunity to elect their municipal president in 1908.[4]

Douglas MacArthur, a fresh graduate from West Point as a Second Lieutenant at the age of 23, came to Iloilo as the head of the company of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. They constructed roads and the Sto. Rosario Wharf, presently named MacArthur's Wharf, which are still in use today. In November 1903, while working on Guimaras, he was ambushed by a pair of Filipino brigands or guerrillas; he shot and killed both with his pistol.[5]

In 1942, Japanese Imperial forces landed on Guimaras Island as the Empire of Japan began its occupation of the country during the Second World War.

In 1945, the combined United States and Philippine Commonwealth forces landed on Guimaras Island, attacking the Japanese and defeating them in the Battle of Guimaras, which led to the liberation of the island.[6]

Provincial status[edit]

Guimaras gained its status as a sub-province of Iloilo by virtue of Republic Act 4667,[7] which was enacted by Congress on 18 June 1966. It was proclaimed as a regular and full-fledged province on 22 May 1992 after a plebiscite was conducted to ratify the approval of its conversion pursuant to Section 462 of R.A. 7160.[8]

Shortly after Guimaras acquired its provincial status, President Fidel V. Ramos appointed Emily Relucio-López as its first Governor.

The province of Guimaras was originally composed up of three municipalities: Buenavista, Jordan, and Nueva Valencia. In 1995, by virtue of Republic Act No. 7896 and Republic Act No. 7897,[9][10] the municipalities of Sibunag and San Lorenzo were created in the province of Guimaras. The two new municipalities officially acquired their municipal status after the May 8, 1995 plebiscite held simultaneously with the local election.

Ernesto L. Gedalanga was the first appointed mayor of Sibunag and Arsenio Zambarrano was also appointed mayor of San Lorenzo. The temporary seat of government of the Municipality of Sibunag is at Barangay Dasal while the temporary seat of Government of the Municipality of San Lorenzo is at Barangay Cabano.

Guimaras oil spill[edit]

In August 2006, the Guimaras oil spill occurred. The 998-ton M/T Solar 1, chartered by Petron (the Philippines’ largest oil refiner), carrying 2.4 million litres of bunker fuel, sank 17 kilometres off the island's southern coast, contaminating 24 km2.[11] The Philippine Coast Guard called this the worst oil spill in the country’s history. According to officials, 1,000 hectares of mangroves were affected, including parts of the Taklong Island National Marine Reserve.


Guimaras has 5 municipalities. There is only one legislative district of Guimaras which encompasses all five towns.

Municipality Area
(per km²)
No. of

Buenavista 128.26 46,703 364.1 36 5044 2nd 10°41′49″N 122°38′52″E / 10.6970°N 122.6479°E / 10.6970; 122.6479 (Buenavista)
Jordan 126.11 34,791 275.9 14 5045 3rd 10°39′40″N 122°35′27″E / 10.6611°N 122.5909°E / 10.6611; 122.5909 (Jordan)
Nueva Valencia 137.12 37,852 276.1 22 5046 3rd 10°31′35″N 122°32′23″E / 10.5265°N 122.5396°E / 10.5265; 122.5396 (Nueva Valencia)
San Lorenzo 93.04 24,032 258.3 12 5047 5th 10°35′29″N 122°42′09″E / 10.5913°N 122.7024°E / 10.5913; 122.7024 (San Lorenzo)
Sibunag 120.04 19,565 163 14 5048 4th 10°30′10″N 122°37′49″E / 10.5028°N 122.6304°E / 10.5028; 122.6304 (Sibunag)
 †  Provincial capital
Ph fil guimaras.png


Population census of
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 117,990 —    
1995 126,470 +1.31%
2000 141,450 +2.43%
2007 151,238 +0.93%
2010 162,943 +2.75%
Source: National Statistics Office[2]

The people of Guimaras are considered as Guimarasnon and their languages are Hiligaynon and Kinaray-a as it was once a sub-province of Iloilo. Hiligaynon is the major language spoken, although the people can understand and speak Tagalog and English.[citation needed]


Mangoes galore in the Guimaras Manggahan Festival

The province is basically agricultural with mangoes, palay, coconuts, vegetables, livestock, poultry and fishing as major products. Its major industries are tourism, fruit processing, coconut processing, fish farming, handicrafts making, mining, quarrying and lime production.

Guimaras greenery

Guimaras is well known for its agricultural crops, particularly mangoes, where some +50,000 of these trees are planted. The Guimaras Island is famous for producing some of the sweetest mangoes in the world. Guimaras mangoes are reportedly served at the White House and Buckingham Palace.[14][15][16] Guimaras' largest event of the year is the Manggahan Festival (the Mango Festival).[17] The variety of mangoes produced are also best for making dried mangoes, jam and other special delicacies.


From Guimaras, a view of Iloilo City across the Iloilo Strait.

Located southeast of Panay, Guimaras is separated from Iloilo by the Iloilo Strait, a narrow channel which takes about fifteen minutes to cross by pump boat from Ortiz Iloilo to Jordan, Guimaras. Other ferries leave from the Parola wharf in Iloilo to the municipality of Buenavista, Guimaras. The Parola wharf is used exclusively whenever the water is rough and whenever there is a typhoon especially by the ferries from Jordan-Ortiz. There is also a roll-on/roll-off (RORO) ferry that travels around five times a day but mostly it is used to travel cargoes such as hundred and more sacks of charcoals and root crops from Guimaras to Iloilo.


House of Representatives: Joaquin Carlos Rahman A. Nava (Liberal Party)

Governor: Samuel T. Gumarin (Liberal Party)

Vice Governor: Vicente B. De Asis (Liberal Party)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "List of Provinces". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Population and Annual Growth Rates for The Philippines and Its Regions, Provinces, and Highly Urbanized Cities" (PDF). 2010 Census and Housing Population. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  3. ^ Official map of province. Province of Guimaras
  4. ^ "Guimaras History". Islands Philippines. 
  5. ^ Clayton, James, D. (1970). "Volume 1, 1880–1941", The Years of MacArthur. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. pp. 87–89. ISBN 0-395-10948-5. 
  6. ^ "US Army in WW II". Robert Ross Smith. 
  7. ^ "Republic Act No. 4667 - An Act Creating the Subprovince of Guimaras in the Province of Iloilo". Chan Robles Virtual Law Library. Retrieved 20 December 2015. 
  8. ^ "An Act Providing for a Local Government Code of 1991". The LawPhil Project. 
  9. ^ "Republic Act No. 7896; An Act Creating the Municipality of Sibunag in the Province of Guimaras". Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved 20 December 2015. 
  10. ^ "Republic Act No. 7897 - An Act Creating the Municipality of San Lorenzo in the Province of Guimaras". Chan Robles Virtual Law Library. Retrieved 20 December 2015. 
  11. ^ "Guimaras Oil Spill". 
  12. ^ a b c "Province: Guimaras". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 31 January 2013. 
  13. ^ "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010 (Western Visayas)" (PDF). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 31 January 2013. 
  14. ^ Alexander R. Bautista. "The hidden jewel that is Guimaras". Manila Standard Today. 
  15. ^ Stefanie. "Journey of a lifetime". blogspot. 
  16. ^ "Philippine Mangoes Naihain na sa White House at Buckingham Palace". GMA News. 
  17. ^ "Manggahan Festival". 

External links[edit]