Mango... paho... manga... A not so ordinary fruit perfectly cultured in the province of Guimaras.
The island province is subdivided into 5 municipalities, namely: Buenavista, Jordan, Nueva Valencia, San Lorenzo and Sibunag.
Guimaras was once a sub-province of Iloilo, was made independent last May 22, 1992. Guimarasnon languages are Hiligaynon and Kinaray-a.
Guimaras is known for its sweetest mangoes not only in the Philippines but in the world. Its fruit is of export quality and has reached the markets of America, Australia, Canada, Singapore, etc. and even on the dinner tables of known people and institutions like the royals and the rich (reportedly served in Buckingham Palace and White House).
Guimarasnons are so proud of its famous sweet mangoes that it explicitly prohibits the import of any mango product outside the island. This is to protect its own mangoes from genetic degradation and disease. So don't bring any mangoes in Guimaras in respect for its local. Beware! The local government also supports this by banning visitors from importing any type of mangoes to the island.
Before the title "The World's Sweetest Fruit" in the 1995 Guinness Book of World Records, the mangoes in Guimaras were already famous in the Philippines.
Locals are very protective of their mangoes. They are also the most critical as they offer only the best mangoes to their customers and guests by meticulously inspecting each fruit separating or even putting away the crop that is not sweet enough, too small or got any flaws.
If someone from Guimaras gives you a mango, take it as a compliment.
Because of their love for the fruit, they even got a celebration for it: The Manggahan Festival.
Manggahan Festival is celebrated every second or third week of April for the sustained promotion of the mango industry. It is an identity festival of Guimaras. It is a weeklong celebration with activities that showcase and depicting the cultural and history heritage, livelihood, legendary stories and myth, streetdancing and merrymaking.
It is also a venue in promoting its products and services. It showcases its milestones in agri-trade fairs and exhibits, food festival, nightly shows and the Search for Mutya ng Guimaras. It culminates in a grand showcase of cultural festivals in a bid to show the world that there is more to Guimaras than its sweet and pest-free mangoes.
For mango lovers, celebrate this festival on April and join their eat-all-you-can mangoes.
How to Get There
The island of Guimaras is only 10-15 minutes (RORO) away from Iloilo City.
From Manila, you can fly to Iloilo (estimated cost of Php3,000+++ orUS$71.45+++ , round trip, one hour). Hail a cab to go to the Iloilo River Wharf in Muelle Loney. Take a ferryboat from Iloilo to Jordan, the capital of Guimaras.
The daily Iloilo to Guimaras trips are as follows:
• 4 trips a day from Mondays to Fridays - 8:30am, 10:30am, 3:00pm, 5:30pm
• 2 trips a day from Saturdays to Sundays - 8:30am, 5:30pm
Please take note that schedules may subject to change without prior notice, so it is better to contact the following numbers for more information: (F.F Cruz Shipping Corporation)
• Lapuz, Iloilo City - (033) 337-1046 / 336-9329 / 336-4195
• Jordan, Guimaras - (033) 581-1701
TRIVIA: According to the Guinness World Records, the heaviest mango weighed 3.435 kg (7.57 lb) and was presented by Sergio and Maria Socorro Bodiongan (Philippines) at the Sundayag Celebration's Pinaka Contest in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines, on 27 August 2009.