Guimaras is an island province of the Philippines. It is the youngest and smallest of the six component provinces of the Western Visayas Region. 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.
Guimaras is composed of five municipalities, namely: Jordan, the provincial capital; Buenavista; Nueva Valencia; and the newly created Sibunag and San Lorenzo. It occupies about 3% of the regionís total land area. The inhabitants of Guimaras are considered as Guimarasnon. Hiligaynon and Kinaray-a are the native dialects as it was once a sub-province of Iloilo. It has dry and wet season.
Formerly known as Himal-us, Guimaras first gained its status as a sub-province of Iloilo by virtue of Republic Act 4667, which was enacted on June 18, 1996. It was made an independent province on May 22, 1992. Originally, Guimaras is composed of 3 municipalities. In 1995, by virtue of R. A. 7986 and R.A. 7897, the municipalities of Sibunag and San Lorenzo were created in the province. The island suffered an ecological disaster in August 2006 when a chartered oil tanker, M/T Solar 1, carrying 2.4 million liters of oil sank 17 kilometers off the coast. About 1000 hectares of mangrove forests were affected, including parts of Taclong Island Sanctuary, a feeding and breeding ground for fish and other species.
The province is basically agricultural with palay, coconut, mango, 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.
The Guimaras Island is famous for producing the sweetest mangoes in the world. Some 50,000 mango trees are planted in 8000 hectares plantation managed by corporations and individual growers. The 3 major plantations in the province are Oro Verde, Buenavista; Southern Orchard, Jordan; and Guimaras Tree Farm, Buenavista. The variety of mangoes produced is also best for making dried mangoes, jam and other delicacies. The Mango Festival is a yearly celebration of the province which showcases the local culture and products of the province.
Guimaras is blessed with natural and historical attractions. Clear blue waters, white sand and marine life rivals that of Boracay. Commonly visited ones are Roca Encantada, Alubihod and Puerto del Mar. Other natural attractions in the island are its falls, springs, off-shore islets, coves and caves.
The most populous cities and municipalities in Guimaras are: