Before Guimaras was widely known for its beach destinations like Alubihod and Guisi, the island was synonymous to its premium mangoes. More than 5,200 hectares of the island – which, surprisingly, is roughly shaped like its iconic fruit – are planted with mango trees. While not officially the world’s sweetest (that coveted Guinness World Record title still belongs to the mangoes of Zambales), locals swear by the superior quality of its homegrown produce, including agriculturist Rhod Orquia of the National Mango Research and Development Center (NMRDC) (Tel. +63 33 5812034) in Barangay San Miguel, Jordan, the best place to learn about the island’s world-class mango industry.
Bred for overseas markets by NMRDC, the fragrant, golden-yellow fruits grown on the island are prized for their large size and exceptional sweetness, owing to the lime-rich earth which provides excellent drainage. “The less water in the soil, the sweeter the mangoes,” Only fresh mangoes from Guimaras are allowed to be exported by the Philippines to USA and Australia, among other countries. They even have been served at the White House and Buckingham Palace!
There are many ways you can bring home the mango goodness of Guimaras. Fresh mangoes can be bought at fruit stalls along the national highway in Jordan. Want to grow Guimaras mangoes in your backyard? The NMRDC sells mango seedlings at PHP 30 each. There are also a variety of mango products to choose from. Our Lady of the Philippines Trappist Monastery (Tel. +63 33 5813468) also located in Barangay San Miguel, Jordan has long been known for mango jam. Try their mango-flavored otap (puff pastry), barquillos (biscuit rolls), butterscotch bars and dried carabao mangoes.
Another must-try on the island is mango pizza! The Pitstop Restaurant (Tel. +63 33 5812310) at Barangay San Miguel, Jordan has become a must-visit for their mouthwatering mango pizza topped with cheese and cashew nuts. There are also mango-fied versions of spaghetti , chicken adobo and beef bulalo!