After quite some time (I think if you’ve been following my blog you might guess why), it was my first time to spend the whole stretch of summer in the Philippines.
Summer in the Philippines signals the start of several famous festivals around the archipelago. To be honest, I am a little clueless when it comes to major festivals in my own country. I told myself that the moment I’ll have enough time to spare, I will definitely join as many festivals as I can. 2017 entered and months passed, I am still festival-less. I occasionally visit this site to check for festival schedules: http://www.philippinecountry.com/festivals.html, and also asked my friend Potpot, who in my opinion one of the experts on anything about the Philippines.
I arrived back from my trip in Malaysia and lo and behold, I got an email from MG Travel and Tours inviting me to experience a taste (no pun intended) of the Manggahan Festival!
My very first big festival! And the location is perfect, the Western Visayas! The Western Visayas are known for its extravagant festivals. Ati-atihan, Maskara and Dinagyang to name a few.
Manggahan Festival is known to be the provincial identity festival of Guimaras. It is a week long celebration of Guimaras’ Provincehood Anniversary. It highlights the cultural heritage of the province, from its agriculture, traditions, music and ITS MANGOES!
Now on its 25th year, the festival runs from the 11th till the 22nd of May. 22nd being a provincial holiday where the main celebration of its independence will take place (meaning, you shouldn’t miss this date).
THINGS TO DO
ALL YOU CAN EAT MANGOES
Of course, if you are in mango country, you can’t miss eating its world famous mangoes. I must admit that I am not a fan of ripe mangoes (I know, booooooo), but growing up, eating ripe mangoes for me is one type of torture. So the idea that I will be in a province where ripe mangoes are its main agri-product, is a back step from all the excitement I am feeling in traveling to Guimaras.
Even if I avoid it, I surely can’t pass the opportunity of tasting the sweetest mangoes in the world. As part of my itinerary, I got to try their MANGO EAT-ALL-YOU-CAN sesh. If I can eat durian when I was in Malaysia, for sure I will be able to take this task with flying colors.
The idea was, after getting an entry pass (110 php entrance fee), you will have 30 min to consume your unli-mangoes. I asked around and people consumed from 3pcs to 10pcs mangoes in one seating. So if you are a mango fan, you should bring your game face on.
I was so happy because, you can choose between green or yellow mangoes. Although I am not a fan of the ripe one (yellow), I am in love with the green one. I can eat green mangoes all day until my stomach hurts and tongue numbs (basically I can marry a green mango and divorce it once it’s about to get ripe). But, Guimaras is all about RIPE Mangoes, so I have to try it.
“Guimaras mango is distinct for its sweet-sour taste, less fibrous pulp, and thinner skin or epicarp. It is also certified weevil-free.” – Sunstar.com
After 30 minutes, I consumed a total of 3 whole mangoes. 1 ripe and 2 raw. Ok ok ok, so I guess they are right, Guimaras Ripe Mangoes are indeed the sweetest that I ever tasted. In fact, after tasting it, I can see myself eating another batch ( I did but later on — on a special dish haha – find out soon on my next blog/vlog), but I still think that GREEN MANGO IS KING!!! Haha. I love their green mangoes. Perfect sourness and crunch – just the way I want my mangoes hahah.
So at the end this part of the blog, I can say that Guimaras has the best RIPE and RAW MANGOES in the world!
Just a few walks from the Mango Eat All You Can stand, you can find the Agri-Trade booths. Here, you can purchase your “pasalubongs” (gifts), from kilos mangoes, mango by-products (mango ketchup, jams..etc) and even famous handicrafts of the province.
I bought 5 kgs of Guimaras mangoes as requested by my family back in Manila and also a weaved tote bag handcrafted from the municipality of San Lorenzo.
One tip, when booking your flight, if you are flying on a budget airline, avail their check-in luggage add-on or simply fly with Philippine Airline (you’ll get 10kg free check-in luggage).
The main stage located at the food court turned into a concert stage during the nights of the festival. A number of bands entertained the locals and even tourists for the whole duration of the festival. 6-Cycle Mind and Callalily to name a few. There were also celebrities (KAPAMILYA KARAVAN) who serenaded the very warm Guimarasnons.
WESTERN VISAYAS NATIONAL CULTURAL PRESENTATION
One of the main highlights of the festival was the presentations from the different cultural (street) dances of Western Visayas. I missed the first 2 performances because of some logistic problems but I was still very happy to catch some of it.
Participants from 4 Western Visayas provinces paraded the streets of Guimaras and showcased their colorful and up-beat dances.
- Maskara Festival of Bacolod
- Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo
- Binukot of Tapaz, Capiz
- Ati Atihan Festival of Kalibo
Watching their performances really encouraged me to visit every festival in the country.
With the other Western Visayas provinces showed their amazing dance routines, Guimaras saved the best for last. A cultural competition was held on the last day of the festival (which is the day of the provincial anniversary).
3rd day of my Guimaras trip brought me a new realization of how amazing regional dances are. Akala ko basta parada at costume lang..yun pala matinding effort from props to skills super nganga (nganga literal). World class indeed. Now I want to see more of these dances around PH. #manggahanfestival2017 #mangofest2017 #guimaras #itsmorefuninthephilippines
Each municipality the province participated and showcased what they are made of. Everyone had their game face on. I was amazed on their dedication. These (kids) gave all they have, to give the best performance of their lives. AMAZING!
Here’s a youtube video of the winning cultural dance performance from San Lorenzo Hubon Mangunguma!!
For my first Philippine Festival, I thought the Manggahan Festival was a great introduction. I experienced everything I wanted in a festival. Food, dances, music, entertainment and culture. A few days ago I went to my second festival, check out my Instagram to find out where.
For my next blog about Guimaras, I will show you where to go and what to visit around the island.
Want to experience Manggahan Festival or just explore the beautiful Island of Guimaras? Book your trip with MG Travel and Tours. Check out their details below:
MG Travel and Tours
Phone: 09568611889/ 9175527853/ 09484127873
This trip was in collaboration with MG Travel and Tours during the 25th Manggahan Festival 2017.0