Guimbal: Modern Amenities and Classic Historic Charm

Text and photos by: Bombette G. Marin

GUIMBAL, Iloilo is a unique blend of old and new that gives a distinctive charm to visitors. Despite its bustling main roads, the town offers a calming and peaceful atmosphere amid historic treasures.

It has fascinating restored landmark buildings found along the way such as Guimbal National High School along the National Highway of the Poblacion.

the Gabaldon Building of Guimbal National High School

Established in June 1946, this huge learning institution sits on an 8-hectare lot at the corner of Rizal and Magsaysay streets. Its centerpiece is the Gabaldon building, the first to be constructed in the school premises. A feature of the first decades of the American colonial rule, Gabaldon buildings are schoolhouses built from 1907 to 1946.

CPU tourism students exploring Guimbal National High School

Made mostly of wood, the building is situated on an elevated area flanked by two 11-step stairs. The building is dominantly painted in white with touches of dark brown and red, contrasting nicely with the bright blue sky behind it. Its frontage bears the name “Mataas na Paaralang Nasyonal ng Guimbal.”

The Guimbal Central Elementary School across the National High School also has its own Gabaldon Building. Facing the main entrance, it is situated in the left side of the main building. The Gabaldon Building is dominantly painted in green with yellow and white patches.

the Gabaldon Building of Guimbal Central Elementary School

It has five front pillars and attached to the middle pillar is a brass plate with the seal of the United States of America and the text, “Rebuilt with the Aid of the People of the United States of America Under the Philippine Rehabilitation Act of 1946.”

On top of the brass plate is the name of the school with an old Philippine seal.

St. Nicholas of Tolentine Parish Church

The picturesque St. Nicolas of Tolentine Parish Church is the most popular attraction for visitors of this town. The Baroque architectural style of the present church is a reconstruction of the first church built in 1774. Its outside walls are of yellow sandstone.

However, it was destroyed in an earthquake in 1787. More reconstructions came in 1893 to 1896 but was again destroyed during the Second World War and the 1948 Lady Kaykay earthquake.

Still big draws for visitors are the 17th century Bantayans found in Barangays Rizal Tuguisan, C. Colon, and Pescadores. These are just a few of the oldest remnants of the original Spanish settlement in Guimbal.

CPU tourism students on high with the Bantayan

The Bantayans remind us of their original function of securing the area from pirates.

The Moros depopulated many of our Christianized coastal towns through their merciless constant attack. They swept the coasts and ravaged everything. Towns are looted and burned and their inhabitants carried off as slaves.

Some areas were almost completely abandoned by their inhabitants and discouraged settlement.

The Bantayans are still impressively intact and definitely worth seeing.

The Guimbal Steel Bridge measuring 348 meters long and almost 11 meters wide is considered the Longest Steel Bridge in Western Visayas. It connects Barangay Bagumbayan to Barangay Bongol. It is made of Pittsburgh Steel from Virginia, USA and was finished in 1932.

Getting around Guimbal is not a problem even if you do not have a car as there are tricycle services throughout the town.

The town is open to everyone eager to explore its rich culture and history. Also known for its quiet beaches, not to mention many accommodation establishments to choose from, Guimbal clearly has a lot to offer to visitors.

Guimbal is a Fourth-Class municipality located 29 kilometers south from the city. The town shares borders with Tigbauan in the east; in the northeast by Tubungan; Igbaras in the northwest; and west by Miagao. It has a land area of 4, 448 hectares politically subdivided into 33 barangays and populated by 33, 820 inhabitants based on the 2015 Census on Population data.

To get to the town, one can take a Guimbal jeepney from the Don Benito Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary in Barangay Mohon, Oton or the Iloilo Terminal Market in Barangay Rizal Pala-Pala I or wait at Arevalo Plaza, Iloilo City.

For more information, please contact Municipal Tourism Officer Karen Felicio at 09177222477.

Know more what do when in Guimbal during the 15th Tumandok Celebration in celebration of Tourism Month on September 18-22, 2019 at the event center and fountain area of Robinsons Iloilo main mall. The event is brought to you by the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism, DOT-VI, Robinsons Place Iloilo and Daily Guardian.