Guimaras Island is home to one of the sweetest varieties of mangoes in the world. For travelers, the mere mention of Guimaras is synonymous to mangoes. During summer months, tourists can enjoy “mango eat-all-you-can” festivities during their Manggahan Festival.
Since it’s their main identity, it’s no surprise that the fruit is used creatively in local restaurants and souvenir products.
Here are just some of the must-try mango-based dishes you can feast on in Guimaras.
1. Mango Pizza
The most sought after dish that every tourist visiting Guimaras should try is Mango Pizza, a specialty of The Pitstop Restuarant, a homegrown restaurant with its main branch in Jordan, Guimaras.
The pizza is topped with thinly sliced Guimaras Mangoes, cheese, drizzled with crushed cashew bits and topped with sliced green peppers. It’s a surprisingly good blend of sweet and salty flavors.
2. Mango Beef Bulalo (and more)
Aside from Mango Pizza, The Pitstop Restaurant serves a lot of other savory dishes with a twist making use of Guimaras Mangoes. For a light snack, there’s Creamy Mango Pasta, which uses a blend of fruits in the pasta toppings, similar to salads.
If that’s too tame for you, how about Chicken Adobo with Mango Twist, Mango Beef Bulalo, Bangus / Pork Sisig with Mango Bits, Mango Chicken Curry or Sinigang na Isda / Hipon sa Manga.
3. Mango Bibingka
Bibingka is a type of rice cake traditionally cooked in clay pots lined with banana leaves and topped with sugar, cheese, or grated coconut. In Guimaras, you can find packaged Mango Royal Bibingka which tastes like puto mamon with a sweet filling of mango jam inside.
4. Mango Jam (and more)
For those who want a wide selection of food souvenirs, your main stop should be the Trappist Monastery grounds, which is run by monks of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance. The monks earn a living by selling souvenir items and processed foods such as mango jellies, jams, candies, mango piyaya, mango macaroons and more, which are sold in a small shop within the monastery grounds. All the products make use of ingredients grown in the Trappist grounds.
5. Mango Ketchup (and more)
Fruit stalls also sell interesting treats and drinks like Chocolate Covered Dried Mangoes, Mango Otap, Mango Wine and even Mango Ketchup!
6. Mango Beer
Before heading home, you might want to pass by The Brewery Gastropub in Iloilo for a unique treat: mango beer! Guimaras Gose by The Cebruery (from Cebu) is one of the many local craft beers you can find in this pub and one of the featured drink-all-you-can beers to celebrate Oktoberfest this month.
Every batch of Guimaras Gose makes makes use of raw Filipino sea salt, freshly ground imported Indian coriander, and over 100 kilos of mangoes! It’s a very distinct and intensely flavored beer reminiscent of a beer margarita, with an interesting combination of salty and sour notes. If you like green mango, you’ll find this beer interesting.
The island province of Guimaras is just 15-20 minutes away from motorboat or ferry from Iloilo. AirAsia now services Manila to Iloilo with three flights daily. Promo fares for Manila to Iloilo are now available for booking at airasia.com.