Mango Festival of Guimaras Island
MANGO FESTIVAL OF GUIMARAS ISLAND
Summertime here in the Philippines signals the peak season of mangoes and the yellow and green colored fruits are flooding the local markets. In 1995, the Guinness Book of World record listed the Philippine mango as the sweetest in the world.
Mangoes can grow in any part of the Philippine islands, like Zambales where most mangoes in Luzon are coming from. But it has been claimed that the sweetest mangoes in the world can be found in Guimaras Island. This province has been exporting mangoes and its by-products to different parts of the world like the dried mango fruit. Cebu is also exporting dried mangoes around the globe.
Guimaras is an island province located southeast of Panay and Northwest Islands in the Western Visayas. The island is blessed with natural resources, clear white beaches and wonderful islets surrounding the island. Green sceneries prevails the panoramic view of Guimaras comprising mostly of mango plantation. Experts said that the extra sweetness of the Guimaras’ mangoes was derived from the naturally cultivated type of land worthy for mango farming.
Precautionary measure by the local government of Guimaras prohibits visitors to enter mangoes from outside the province to avoid cross breeding into their own seedlings.
It is advisable to visit Guimaras during the Manggahan Festival - festival of mangoes. Mangoes and other produce of Guimaras such as dried mangoes, mango ketchup and more are all in sale at a cheaper price at the main trading center. There are also hand-made and indigenous products that are exhibited in the plaza.
As thousands of tourists including local tourists clustered to Manggahan Festival at Guimaras Islands is a great sign that the island had recovered from the worst oil spill disaster in the country.
Last year production of mangoes rises to around 8.7 metric tons after a two year decline (2008 to 2010) due to extreme climate change. This year’s production is estimated to increase around 10.8 metric tons as reported.
The mango eat-all-you-can feast is the main highlight of the annual festival to mark the province founding anniversary. An estimate of 9 tons of mangoes was dishes out this year Guimaras festival. Visitors are charge with a fee of 70 pesos or 1.65 dollar equivalent for ripe mangoes and 40 pesos or less than a dollar for green mangoes with shrimp paste. Guest can eat as many mangoes they could in 30 minutes. The management of the festival imposed a time limit to accommodate more visitors to join the feast.
The festival is also highlighted by street dancing procession and cultural presentation, a technology fair, painting and drawing competition.
The Navalas Church in Guimaras is considered the oldest edifice in the island, built in around 1880. It was also known as the San Isidro Labrador Church in the municipality of Buenavista and the oldest seat of Catholicism.
The structure of the church is made of coral rocks which was abundant in the area during its construction. It was fenced with old stones and has a watchtower at the entrance where it is used to guard the church from the Moro invaders. It also serves as the belfry of the church which houses a big bell made from an alloy of silver and gold.
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