Guimaras a rising investment frontier in Visayas

Guimaras Gov. Samuel Gumarin

GUIMARAS is rising!

This is the unanimous cry of some private entities that invested in the island province during the Guimaras Investment Forum on July 31, 2019 at Andana Resort in Poblacion, Nueva Valencia town.

Investors from the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) such as CapitaLand Limited, one of Asia’s largest real estate companies and the firm behind Ascott Hotel and Residences; Engie, a French multinational electric utility company; Golden Phoenix Hotels; Nurture Wellness Village, one of the pioneers in the Philippine spa and wellness industry, attended the event.

Governor Samuel T. Gumarin assured future investors of the island’s vast investment potentials being a strategic agri-economic hotspot that is situated between two booming metropolis of Iloilo and Bacolod cities.



“Being called as the island of opportunities, the 95 percent employment rate and the remarkable increase of investment trends noted for the past six years are basic pictures of these positive developments,” Gumarin said.

Elena Quezon, Provincial Economic and Development Officer, said that the province is empowered by strong demographics with agriculture and tourism industry as the pillars of its economic dynamism.

Andana Resort owner Dan Israel Ang, president of DANEA Properties and Development Inc., attested to the rapid economic growth of the island and its great potential with its white sand beaches and the world famous mangoes.

“We believe that the island has a great potential. As Iloilo city continues to flourish, so does Guimaras. The probability of the whole island’s economic growth is very high,” Ang said.

For the young entrepreneur, necessities for putting up a good investment such as transportation, utilities and the community are already in place in the province; thus, future investors need not think twice.

Atty. Sedfrey Cabaluna of DOT-6


Growing “coopetition” (cooperative competition) especially in the hospitality industry in Guimaras, is also one of the reasons to invest in the island according to Ang.

For Madonna Kristine Hilado, manager of the bed and breakfast accommodation Zemkamps Chalet, Guimaras is a perfect place for retirement and an island of opportunity.

Hilado said that this is what her family had in mind when they purchased a property in Guimaras when her parents decided to go back to the Philippines after decades of working and living in Brunei.

The green environment and Guimaras as a religious sanctuary enticed the Hilado family to settle in the island.

“One of the many reasons why he (Hilado’s grandfather) chose Guimaras is because of its environment, its fresh air, virgin forest and beaches. The laid back and simple way of life in Guimaras, although it is away from the city, it is still very feasible. Guimaras for us is also a place for peace, prayer and reflection. It is a religious sanctuary. Guimaras is an island of opportunity. It is hidden treasure for a family and a gem,” she said.

However, it is the Guimarasnons that make investing easy in the province, according to Hilado, as they are the heart and soul of Guimaras.

“The low crime rate and peaceful living in Guimaras was another factor we considered. But more than that, it was its people. The heart and soul of Guimaras truly, are its people. Locals are naturally warm and welcoming, family oriented and naturally hospitable. They make investing in Guimaras easy for us,” she added.

Gabino Ramon Jimea, president of PHINMA Renewable Energy, sited the ease of doing business in Guimaras as one that can attract more financiers.

Peace and order situation, shipping ports, improved road networks and a stable power supply also make the island an investment hub.

“The support of government units from the province, from the municipal level, all the way down to the barangay level, enables the project to finish in record time. The ease of transacting with the government and support of partner communities are really very important especially to us in the private sector,” Mejia said.

The support of the local government unit made PHINMA to finish its 54 megawatt wind project in the Municipality of San Lorenzo ahead of time.

Their business is the product of a successful public-private partnership (PPP) according to Mejia.

As Guimaras positions itself to be the agric-eco tourism capital of Western Visayas, the Department of Tourism (DOT) underscored the importance of PPP for sustainable development.


The province propels five major investment areas comprise of agri-eco tourism facilities, bed and breakfast facilities, integrated terminals, retirement villages, water sports facilities and facilities for the production and export of Guimaras mangoes.

The prospect of Iloilo-Guimaras-Negros bridge that is nearing to be realized, is an added sugar for the investment climate in the province.

Department of Public Works and Highways Region 6 Assistant Regional Director Engr. Jose Al Fruto shared that the CCCC Highways Consultants Co., Ltd, a China state-owned firm, is in the final stage of their feasibility study of the project.

Atty. Sedfrey Cabaluna, Chief Tourism Operations Officer of DOT Region 6, said that the partnership with the private sector is an integral part of achieving the potential of the tourism industry.

Further, DOT reiterates the significance of preserving the environment and the island’s natural resources amidst the economic boom that Guimaras is experiencing, to which, the Provincial Government of Guimaras respond on the affirmative.



Gumarin said that the island is a haven of balance where its natural assets are not compromised for the sake of profits.

“Guimaras is a haven of balance. While there is so much natural assets well protected through the whole of government approach of the Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) Program, our business districts are starting to show up and financial institutions expanding in the main growth center.