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Guimaras Island Philippine

Guimaras is a small island located between Panay Island and Negros Island in Western Visayas and is deemed as one of the exotic islands in the country.

Guimaras is known for its plantation of mango trees, believed to be the one of the best mangoes in the Philippines and in the world. Guimaras is also noted for its excellent white sand beaches.

This island has a total land area of about 605 square kilometers. Initially, it was called Himal-us, but this name was changed to Guimaras subsequent to the myth of the unfortunate lovers Princess Guima and the slave Aras who fought against tradition for their romance.

The non-fictional history of the island, however, holds that a Spanish leader, Gonzalo Ronquillo de Peñalosa was the first to launch the Spanish community in the island for the natives' Christianization purposes. Together with his associates, they arranged the villages of Nayup, having San Pedro Apostol as the patron saint, and Igang, with Sta. Ana as the patroness.

Dumangas, a town in Iloilo province, had control over Guimaras from 1742 until 1751. This was when the Jesuits took over the Agustinian Order. Later on, the Dominicans also took control of the island. As the population increased, the island was given its municipal status and, in 1908, the natives were allowed to vote for their municipal president.

In 1966, Guimaras gained status as a sub-province of Iloilo. In 1992, it was approved as a regular independent province, with Emily Relucio-Lopez as its first appointed Governor. At the outset, the province was composed of 3 towns, but by 1995, the Municipalities of Sibunag and San Lorenzo were also created. At present, the province has 5 towns. Buenavista, the largest town, is composed of 36 barangays. The second largest, Nueva Valencia, has 22 barangays. Jordan, the third largest town, has 14 barangays. San Lorenzo and Sibunag both have 12 barangays each. As of the year 2000, the province has a population of 141, 450 with an average annual growth rate of approximately 2.5%.

At present, Guimaras profits from tourism as one of its major industries. The island's white sand beaches and island coves allure tourists to seek adventure. Popular beaches include the alubihod beach and nagarao beach.

Siete Picados, for example, a group of seven tiny islands beside the main Guimaras Island, is exotic and mystical with a charming legend attached to it. The province also has diving sites with breathtaking coral reefs and marine life.

Guimaras also benefits from its flourishing agriculture industry. It is home of the renowned mangoes in the Philippines. Aside from mangoes, calamansi, coconut, cashew nuts, root crops, vegetables and palay are in bounty. Poultry, livestock and sea foods are also some of the island's chief products. The province also boasts of its handicraft, food processing, mining and lime industries.


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