Sunday, January 13, 2013

GUIMBAL: An Architectural Gem with a Lively Community Feel

photo by Bombette G. Marin

GUIMBAL, Iloilo offers a great family vacation destination with a number of resorts and sandy beaches along the roadside provides a haven for local tourists. It has an abundance of nature’s delights, as well as many other activities for our visitors as well as year round residents. The friendly laid-back atmosphere is the reason many vacationers make the town their permanent home away from home.

The town is also known for its varied historic attractions with preserved structures that adorn the ancient narrow lanes and bustling thoroughfares with each having a very different story to tell. This historic town has preserved the harmony and unity of the urban landscape. 

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

ST. NICOLAS OF TOLENTINE PARISH popularly known as Guimbal Church occupies an area of 1.22 hectares and was built in the 18th century.  Its outside walls are made of adobe blocks locally known as Igang. The facade of the church is flanked by two round pilasters with white floral carvings. The church belfry of 4-storey high was also built as a watchtower for incoming raids from Moro pirates. Just like any other churches in Panay, it was destroyed during the Second World War and from the 1948 Lady Kaykay earthquake. It had undergone reconstruction and was rehabilitated to its original structure.It was originally facing the street across which is the sea. When the municipal plaza was built at its back, the back side was converted into the front side to make it the church facing the plaza.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes
BANTAYAN or the 17th century Moro watchtower is one of the most valuable ruins built in the area centuries ago. It maintains a noticeable and significant historic integrity to the people of this town. It is one of the sought after attraction of the town that one should not miss when visiting the area. It is considered as a cultural icon of the people of Guimbal, reminding them of their ancestors who died from conflict against the fiercely independent Muslim warriors. The ones remaining here are found in Barangays Tuguisan, C. Colon and Pescadores where one can get an unfettered and more authentic look.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

TAYTAY TIGRE silently guards the town plaza. It is an old stone bridge where tiger stone structures are placed in both sides. Built by Augustinian priests during the Spanish rule, it is the smallest in Iloilo with its 4.5-meter length. It was also known as the Spanish Arch Bridge and is situated along the highway a few meters away from the town plaza. It has become one of Guimbal’s historical landmarks.

photo by Bombette G. Marin

RACSO’S WOODLAND is an inland resort situated along the municipal highway, in Barangay Rizal-Tiguisan, Guimbal, Iloilo. It is a theme park, zoo and a resort. Kids and adults alike will enjoy a variety of exotic animals in the area. The Aviary welcomes visitors and will guarantee enjoyment especially for the kids to see different kinds of birds from the most common type to the rarest species. They have rooms for overnight stay and are located in front of the aviary and at the pool area and may be occupied by a group of 8 people. Its restaurant at the poolside area is open 24-hour and serves all kinds of dishes, from light snacks to heavy meals. Party-throwers may find a novel venue in Racso's Woodland with its function rooms available for 15, 50 or 120 persons while the Pavilion can accommodate 500 seating guests. For more information, please contact (033) 5120013.

BANTAYAN FESTIVAL celebrated every April is a re-enactment of the battle between the Guimbalanons and the Muslim pirates. Guimbal’s ancestral settlement near the sea became the objects of frequent Moro raids. Pirates attacked and enslaved Christian-Filipinos. Their invasions left tracks of death, blood, and ashes. The presentation is in a theatrical dance format and highlights the use of the prop guimba, an ancient instrument that resembled a drum and is beaten by hand to send messages from tower to tower to warn the community of an incoming raid. The bantayan is also featured since it was instrumental in securing the area for defense and to protect the peaceful community from Muslim marauders who were responsible for looting the town and capturing the natives.

The municipality of Guimbal is 29 kilometers away from Iloilo City. It lies along the southern portion of the province and shares borders with Tigbauan on the east; on the northeast by Tubungan; Igbaras on the northwest; and west by Miag-ao. With a land area of 44.61 square kilometers it is politically subdivided into 33 barangays.

To get to the town of Guimbal, located in the southern district of Iloilo Province, one can take a jeepney at the Don Benito Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary Terminal in Barangay Mohon, Oton, Iloilo. Metered taxis are also available at the terminal. For more information, please contact, Mrs. Karen Felicio – Municipal Tourism Officer at 09177222477.

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