Manggahan Festival 2018 is coming and it’s going to be an even sweeter fiesta as we celebrate its 25th Anniversary!
Let’s list down 25 reasons why you should go to Guimaras Island and celebrate with us this coming May 11-22.
Seen this gigantic mango around? Or ever had a picture taken with him? He’s not just any costumed personality. He is Bagul, the mango man. Bagul was created in 2010 to become the official mascot of Manggahan Festival. He became the face of Guimaras since then and has graced the photos of both local and foreign tourists. He can be seen roaming the streets and the different expos/fairs during the month-long celebration of Manggahan Festival. Bagul, also known in English as mango seed, is the hard and hairy center of the mango fruit. Bagul is named as such because of the fruit’s finger-lickin’ good sweetness that no one lets go of it until all that’s left is the center. Bagul can also be seen in souvenir items such as keychains and key-holders.
2. MANGO CHANDELIER
Mango Chandelier Nope, mangoes don’t bear fruits this way. And no, mangoes aren’t sold this way either. These are the Mango Chandeliers of Guimaras. Built with precision and finesse, these chandeliers are the masterpieces of various mango farmers and producers during the Manggahan Festival Agri-Trade Fair. They’re not just for mere display and aesthetics; they’re the pride of each booth too. Some even compete for the best mango chandeliers. The bigger and well-arranged the mango chandelier, the more people take pictures with it and more customers buy mangoes from the booth that has it. Mango chandeliers are intricately made with green mangoes freshly harvested along with their stems, which are then tied with plastic straws. The stems allow the fruit to dangle and to be arranged according to the farmer’s style. The mango fruits are chosen according to size and color to complement the producers’ desired design too. Come see the mango chandeliers of Guimaras this Manggahan Festival 2018. They sure are a sight to behold!
3. MANGO TOAST
Mango Toast It’s not what you think it is the first time you’ve heard of it. No, it’s not mango juice. And no, it’s not mango wine either. Mango Toast is the toasting of mango fruits and eating them immediately after the Manggahan Festival has been officially opened. It is done during the gathering of Guimarasnon political leaders, government employees, distinguished guests, and important personalities for the official announcement of the festival’s commencement. It resembles the unity of Guimarasnons and their pride of what their island province is globally known for: mangoes. Experience true Guimarasnon spirit and toast mangoes with them throughout the Manggahan Festival. Be a local; be a Guimarasnon while you’re in Guimaras.
4. AGRI-TRADE FAIR
Agri-Trade Fair May is the time when Guimarasnons’ social media platforms are bombarded with greens and yellows. It’s also the time when all tourists, local and foreign, crowd at the Provincial Capitol Grounds. What for? Manggahan Festival and the Agri-Trade Fair that comes along with it. The Agri-Trade Fair is an expo open to all producers of authentic Guimarasnon products. Displayed in the different booths are products such as bignay wine, cashew nuts, dried fish, calamansi juice, kamote chips, pinasugbu, etc. and, of course, lots and lots of mangoes. Souvenir items like T-shirts, keychains, woven bags, pandan baskets, and wood carvings are likewise found here. Basically, this is where the hashtags for social media posts come from. You were not in Guimaras if you were not able to bring home a box of mangoes. And you haven’t been to Guimaras if you haven’t had a picture at the Agri-Trade Fair. So don’t miss out on the opportunity to experience Guimaras and get a taste of the island province through the Agri-Trade Fair.
5. Strategic Location
When in MNL and other cities, and people ask where Guimaras really is, always have a map in hand or in your phone. You wouldn’t want to miss a chance to sell the province to potential tourists. Guimaras is strategically located in between the islands of Panay and Negros. It can be reached via a 15-minute boat ride from Iloilo City or an hour boat ride from Pulupandan, Negros Occidental. It can likewise be reached via RORO trips from Lapuz in Iloilo and Pulupandan in Negros. So if you’re thinking of having a side-trip while you’re in the City of Love or the City of Smiles, Guimaras is always on top of the list. The island-province boasts of tropical weather that’s ideal for outdoor activities like camping, going to the beach, biking etcetera making Guimaras the island of Mangoes and More! Make your vacation complete and visit the paradise that is Guimaras. You sure wouldn’t wanna miss it!
6. ISLAND HOPPING
Visualizing that vacation feels that you want to sport for your feed goals this summer? Wanna splatter your timeline with blue and white? Guimaras just has the solution for that. Guimaras, apart from its inland and beach front resorts, is surrounded with islets that’ll put your feeds on fleek. From the tiny islands in the surrounding areas of Suba Malawig and Alubihod, to the sandbars at the Floating Cottage and near Magic Island, one couldn’t help but take loads of photos and upload them to curate their desired feeds. Plan now while it’s still early. You wouldn’t wanna be last in the Instagram and Facebook feed tilt.
7. Trappist Monastery
Think Guimaras is all about beaches and mangoes? Explore the other side of Guimaras with its religious and spiritual destinations. On top of the list: Trappist Abbey. Trappist is the only men’s monastery in the Philippines, best known for their extreme strictness that characterizes their discipline. They are the go-to for retreat and reflection as the entire grounds are basked in the monks’ observance of meditation, silence, and prayer. The monks likewise sell their own pasalubong items under the brand Trappist Monastic Food Products. All of their products are made from the ingredients grown in the garden within their vicinity. Buying these monk-manufactured products is also a way of helping them as this is how they earn a living, and for the maintenance of this silent sanctuary. Trappist Monastery Abbey also has guest houses at affordable prices to provide accommodation for those who are seeking a personal and private time amidst a busy life from the city. So if you’re feeling lost, down, or confused, feel free to talk to the monks in the Trappist Monastery Abbey and seek for their help and spiritual guidance.
8. Navalas Church
Now what would make a road trip more memorable and complete? A trip down history and memory lane. And Navalas Church surely doesn’t disappoint.
Navalas Church is the oldest Roman Catholic church and the only heritage church in Guimaras. It is made out of sillar or coral rocks which are shaped into squares and brought into the church grounds by the townspeople in the 1880s when the church was built. These sillars are given in exchange for clothes made of piña fiber which are then worn by the locals when they attend mass. The original watchtower, which is still in front of the church, used to give early warnings for impending pirate attacks then. Navalas Church transports you to way back in time and it allows for you to imagine what life used to be during the Spanish colonization. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience Navalas Church. Experience the contributions of history to Guimaras, and vice versa, while you’re within the island province.
9. ROCA ENCANTADA
Roca Encantada Wanna feel like a haciendera/haciendero or a true blue-blood without paying for anything but the 50 PHP entrance fee? Visit Roca Encantada, the historic mansion atop a hill. Roca Encantada is a famous landmark and summer house of the Lopezes here in Guimaras. It was built in 1910 in honor of Doña Presentacion Hofileña Lopez. It was declared by the National Heritage Institute as a heritage house. Apart from its grandiose architecture , Roca Encantada also offers a picturesque view of the Iloilo Strait, a shadow of Negros Occidental, and a sight of Las Islas de Siete Pecados. Don’t miss the chance to upload a shot of your best rich-kid and señor/señorita post: a backward glance, eyes hooded, mouth pouted, and a whole lotta attitude.
10. DOT-ACCREDITED ESTABLISHMENTS
Two things are definitely on everyone’s to-do list before they go on their well-deserved vacation: travel itineraries and the hunt for the best accommodations. Guimaras sure has a number of DOT-Accredited Tourism Establishments which caters to the various activities sought by tourists. For those who are up for adventures and a short trek, Nature’s Trail Camp and Resort, Villa Igang Beach Resort, and Valle Verde Mountain Resort sure won’t disappointment as they have attractions of their own. For those who wish to bask in a little bit of history, Guisi Clearwater Resort is just a few minutes away from the historic Guisi Lighthouse which is one of the oldest lighthouses built in the island during the Spanish Colonial Era. On the other hand, for those who love resorts with aesthetics and architecture, Neptune Pittman’s Garden Resort & Spa, Raymen Beach Resort, and Jannah-Glycel Beach House offer a pleasing view and a unique landscaping. And for those who love to take moments away from the busy city life, Magic Island Resort, La Puerta el Paraiso, and Costa Aguada Island Resort will take minds away from stress and whisk hearts for the perfect getaway. Whatever your trip may be for the summer, Guimaras has your back. Let the island province transport you to stress-free, fun-filled, and relaxing vacation days.
Are you among the most adventurous of the adventures? Seeking that wanderer feels in the real sense of the word? Guimaras is a rising venue for camping and backpacking today. The island has various locations for the backpackers at heart and for those who wish to travel with open plans and free itineraries. As Guimaras is gifted with diverse land and water features, backpackers can have access to the stunning mountain views and awesome waterfalls scattered around the island province. While exploring the wonders of Guimaras, tourists can choose to stay in hostels and inns located in the heart of the island’s capital of San Miguel, Jordan. Zemkamps Chalet offers the most upscale rooms from among the inns and hostels, but for those who are looking for budget-friendly accommodations without the compromise for comfort and convenience, Jm Backpackers Inn offers an array of rooms to choose from, depending on the number of guests or the space that the guests would like. Moreover, Pine Haven and Sidewalkers Inn also cater to those who wish for decent accommodations while touring the island. Hurry! Pack your bags and get ready to go. The island of Guimaras is ready for you!
They say you’ve never really experienced a place until you’re tight with the locals. So just how can you be closest to the aborigines? Stay with them while you’re at their place. Just like AirBnB, Guimaras is likewise offering homestay accommodations. Experience the Guimarasnons’ hospitality and their warm way of welcoming you into their homes and into their families as you stay with them. Not only that, but experience a Guimarasnons’ generosity as they extend their help in getting you to the possible destinations in the island that you can visit during your stay. Stay with Guimarasnons when visiting Guimaras. Become a Guimarasnon while you’re here. Experience Guimaras, experience being just like a local.
Modes of transportation turned into live brochures and promotional materials for tourism? Yepp, definitely! Pintraysekel is an initiative of the Provincial Government of Guimaras for local artists to display their artworks of the island’s tourist destinations onto one of the most famous and most convenient modes of transportation in Guimaras: tricycles. Pinta (paint) plus traysekel (local term for tricycle); hence, PINTRAYSEKEL. These pintraysekels make people’s stay, visit, tour – their overall experience of Guimaras – more festive and colorful while riding in style, without compromising coolness. So next time you pay Guimaras a visit, make sure to travel with style with these artsy pintraysekels.
14. MOTURTLE RACE
If you think all races are won with speed and who gets to finish first, then you certainly haven’t heard of Manggahan Festival’s new event. Moturtle is a campaign strategy of the Provincial Government to promote road safety. This newest addition to the events in Manggahan Festival is a means of promotion where the slowest rider is hailed as the winner. The rules are easy. The contestant, who should have a professional or non-professional driver’s license duly issued by the Land Transportation Office and must have his motorcycle registered with complete papers, must ride the track at the slowest speed possible without crashing or touching the ground. He must likewise wear complete protective gear. See this unconventional yet unique event take place during the Manggahan Festival. Just how unusual is Moturtle? It’s slogan: The slower, the better. The slowest, the winner.
15. SECTORAL EVENTS
Interested in a specific field or passionate about a specific topic? Manggahan Festival has some pretty awesome topics and fields that just might put your excitement in the high bars! Manggahan Festival, being weeks-long, is composed if multi-sectoral events such as Agri-Eco Day, Social Welfare Day, Economic Development Day, Tourism Day, Integrated Women’s Association Day, People’s Economic Day, Sports Day, and a lot more. Each sector has its own series of activities that locals and tourists sure won’t want to miss. Whatever your profession is, whatever you do for a living, whatever field you are in, and whatever you are fueled and driven for, Manggahan Festival just has the right day and the right activities for you. Check out the Schedule of Activities that we will publish soon and block your planners for a summer escapade that will fill your hearts with joy and excitement!
16. Mutya ng Guimaras & Mr. Guimaras
Now what’s a festival without beauty pageants? It’s like an establishment without a face, an institution without a logo, or an TV ad without an endorser. But these representatives, these symbols, are much more than just the superficial. Two of the highlights of the Manggahan Festival are the coronation night of the Mutya ng Guimaras and the pageant night for Mr. Guimaras. These two provincial pageantry bodies showcase the holistic beauty of Guimarasnons. Not only that, but the winners also become the Ambassador and Ambassadress of Good Will. They likewise help promote Guimaras through participating in exhibits and travel marts. Being a winner for Mutya ng Guimaras and Mr. Guimaras is an honor not just in itself, but a pride. Not only does one get to be a part of the province’s history, but s/he also gets to be a part of people’s lives and people’s stories. Witness the beauty and brains of Guimarasnons. Witness their crowning glories and cheer for your candidates. Witness, and be amazed.
17. CELEBRITIES and BANDS
Groufies with celebrities? Instagram stories filled with photos of actors or actresses? Or a Facebook My Day with minutes after minutes of band concerts? These. These will surely make you the talk of your classmates or officemates. And Manggahan Festival has a lot to offer for these priced snaps. Just like being a fangirl and a fanboy who are given VIP tickets to a meet-and-greet with their favorite artists, Manggahan Festival gifts Guimarasnons and its guests with free passes to see some of the most celebrated names in the show business, and to jam with some of the most famous bands and their most listened to tracks! What more can a fan group ask for? All that’s left to do is to make sure that you come to the event real good-looking; a look that would definitely give you a few seconds to be noticed by your idols. A few seconds-long moment, but one that you’ll remember till your golden days. Fair warning, though. The Kapamilya Caravan is definitely jam-packed. So get ready for some serious crowd OOTDs.
18. Invitational Cultural Presentation
Missed the festivals you have always wanted to go to? Worry not. Manggahan Festival is coming to rescue you from missed-festival blues as it gives you the Invitational Cultural Presentation! The Invitational Cultural Presentation is one of the highlight activities of Manggahan Festival where festival tribes or hubons from different cities and provinces are invited to present their cultural dances at the Manggahan sadsad. Tribes and hubons from various festivals around the country showcase and share their culture to Guimarasnons and its tourist patrons. So hurry up and reserve this day for some well-deserved relaxation and enjoyment. Don’t miss this! No. Just don’t. Not like the other festivals that you’ve doted on going but ended up missing.
19. Bike Paradise
There’s no better way of exercising than exercising with a view while traveling and enjoying sceneries. If you are so up for this, then Guimaras is the island that should be on the top of your trail list! Guimaras is the home of bike trails for adventure lovers. It has 29 bike trails that make cycling enthusiasts experience the province’s tourist destinations. The Guimaras: Bike Paradise of the Philippines Project is an innovative bike tourism project initiated by the John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University which is recognized as one of the best practices of Public-Private Partnership and Sports Tourism. This project is continuously promoted by the province through the hosting of Manggahan Bike Fest, National Enduro Race, and the Tour de Guimaras, which aims to showcase the beauty of Guimaras Island through exploring it via biking, and to impose biking as a safe way of transportation. Thus, by keeping fit and staying in shape, never miss the chance to travel and enjoy some picturesque views too. Bike around the paradise that is Guimaras!
Seen one of these miniature boats in the beach resorts or hotels that you’ve been to? Those could be Guimaras-made! Guimaras is the only galleon or miniature boat making province recognized by the Department of Trade and Industry. Miniature boat-making includes the making of galleons, yachts, frigates, paraws, etc. These miniature boats are exported abroad and are very in-demand locally as they are the main souvenirs used in weddings, conventions, and conferences. When visiting Guimaras, get the chance to see galleon makers in action. Along with DTI, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources has likewise recognized the galleon making industry as miniature boat makers use trees which answer to the regulations of DENR in creating their products. So if you ever see miniature boats and galleons like these, wonder if they are made in Guimaras. And if that question lingers in your mind, why not see the boat making process in person?
21. Arts and Crafts & Souvenir Products
It’s no secret that Guimaras is a resounding name in the arts and crafts and souvenir-making division. But did you know what else Guimaras is known for? Sustainable arts and crafts and preservation of culture and traditions! The Sapal Weaving Association in San Lorenzo, Guimaras is a weaving project and livelihood program that has been supported by the local government because not only does the sale of their products such as bags, laptop holders, placemats, slippers, wine bags, hats, envelopes made out of baryos, pandan, and buri an important source of supplementary income for women’s groups in weaving communities, but because ur also promotes green, reusable, and eco-friendly products. In Sitio Kati-Kati in the capital of Jordan, Maruyog Charms made by the Aeta Community are likewise sought after. Maruyog Charms are three-pieced bangles, regarded as amulets, given a more modern and trendy look. The creation of these bracelets is a vital part of the Ati tribe’s culture as they preserve the culture and traditions of the indigenous peoples. Moreover, the continuous production and sale of these charms help alleviate the high poverty in the Aeta community by providing them with a sustainable income that can gove work to the youth and women. In Concordia, Sibunag, nito, a climbing vine with glossy, wiry stems is used in weaving baskets, bases, food covers, plates, wall decors, trays, lampshades, etc. The production of these nito woven products help reduce the waste related to the use of disposable plates, styrofoam food containers, feeble decors, and breakable vases. Never hesitate in buying these products. You never know how far your few pesos are able to help others. These may be native products, but they sure are aesthetically pleasing. So the next time you visit Guimaras and see these products, buy some. Help the locals through buying local products.
22. Mango-Based Dishes
Ever wonder what mango tastes like in sinigang, adobo, pizza, bulalo, or pasta? Wonder no more! Guimaras has a gastronomic surprise for you. Mango is the province’s main identity and is sure is used creatively and cleverly in local restaurants. Have you tried The Pitstop Restaurant’s wide array of mango-based and mango-infused dishes? The Pitstop Restaurant is among one of the first to concoct dishes with the addition of mangoes. One of the most sought after dishes of tourists when traveling to Guimaras is the Mango Pizza, which is topped with thinly sliced Guimaras mangoes, cheese, crushed cashew nuts, and sliced bell peppers. More additions to their ever-developing menu are Creamy Mango Pizza, Chicken Adobo with Mango Twist, Mango Beef Bulalo, Bangus kr Pork Sisig with Mango Bits, Mango Chicken Curry, and Sinigang na Isda or Hipon sa Mangga. Mango is also used in baked goods and delicacies. Mango Bibingka is one of the most served snacks in Guimaras. It’s a rice cake topped with sugar, cheese, grated coconuts, and filled with mango jam. Products cooked by the monks in the Trappist Monastery are also bestsellers at the mango food industry. They produce dozens of products of various flavors and types. From among these are mango jam, jellies, candies, piaya, macaroons, barquillos, and butterscotch. Did you know that mango is likewise made into ketchup? It may seem weird at first but it’s a delightfully acquired taste. Mango Ketchup is used in making macaroni salad, mango pasta, etc. Be sure to try some, or all, of these mango-based dishes. Try something new and amaze your palates as you get a taste of Guimaras Island.
23. New DOT-Accredited Establishments
Are you addicted of trying new things? how about places? food? What if we tell you can have it all and experience it with quality standard in this island-province called Guimaras? Together with its booming progress and advanced development, newly DOT accredited establishments also added to the list of tourist attraction in Guimaras. And these establishments not only adds to the list but also became one of the reasons why people visit this island-province. Wanna have a gastronomic experience? Why not try eating at our newly accredited restaurant, Pitstop, which offers a variety of mango-based dishes, or Olivias Kitchen & Island Brew where you can experience first-hand service and good food. Finding for a place to relax and unwind? Visit Guimaras Mountain Resort, perfect for friends and family outing. How about first class service? I bet you can have it in Andana Resort which offers luxury rooms and water activities in a white sand beach. It’s time to color your drawing and bring home a new experience that you can share with others!
24. Experience Guimaras Culture
What makes Guimaras different from its neighboring islands and what makes its Manggahan Festival different from others? You get to experience our culture without the hustle and bustle of urban buzz and city traffic! No need to worry about reserving and paying for seats for when you watch our cultural and tribal dances too. Get to witness and experience it for free! Observe how Guimarasnons’ traditional practices and customs are incorporated in various storylines and different choreographies. See for yourself how our Guimarasnon forefathers and ancestors lived their daily lives, spend their time, make a living, and more. Moreover, enjoy the colorful and lively dances while gaining knowledge about our little but striving island province. Plan now while accommodations still have vacant rooms. Book your flight. Plan your itinerary. Experience Manggahan Festival. Enjoy Guimaras!
25. Mango Eat-All-You-Can
There is no doubt that when you hear the word ‘Guimaras’, the first that comes to mind is kaing after kaing of fresh, juicy, and sweet mangoes. But what really excites people when they hear of ‘Manggahan Festival’? Unlimited mangoes! The Mango Eat-All-You-Can Contest started in May (2011?). Local and foreign tourists, along with residents, enjoy a 30-minute eating session of unlimited mangoes. Patrons can choose between ripe, or green mangoes served with bago-ong. So if you’re feeling up to the challenge, head on to the Mango Eat-All-You-Can booth near the Agri-Eco Trade Fair and try to beat the record. Because here in Guimaras, there’s no such thing as too much mangoes!