Guimaras Mango Festival
Themed buffets, parades, performances, and competitions dominate this Philippines island every May.
The Philippine province of Guimaras, a small island nestled between Panay and Negros, is renowned for its natural landscape and pastoral farms. On the orchards that cover the island, perfectly sweet mangga, or mangoes, grow in abundance. Throughout the year, a large percentage of these pristine fruits are exported. But for about two weeks each May, Guimaras celebrates the majesty of their mangoes in almost every way imaginable.
At the Manggahan Festival, the streets are filled with mango-shaped, yellow-orange tricycles. Performers wielding mango-like props dance during the mango-themed parade. Competitive athletes register for sporting events such as the Amazing Guimarace, the Tour de Guimaras, and a Motocross Challenge. For the true fruit lover, there’s the “Mango Eat All You Can”: For only 100 Philippine pesos (about $2), participants enter a space filled with a wealth of mango treats. For 30 minutes, it’s a free-for-all buffet.
In 1992, Guimaras was formally recognized as its own province. Locals incepted the first Manggahan Festival in 1993, in honor of their provincial founding. Festivities took place for one week in May. More than two decades later, the festival is still going strong and lasts almost twice as long. All five municipalities of Guimaras leverage the event as an opportunity to showcase the island’s culture. Manggahan also presents an opportunity to celebrate the community and give thanks for the island’s natural bounty.
Even when the festivities end, the island’s mango fever remains. Visitors can get their fix at the Trappist Monastery in Jordan. It’s the country’s only male monastery, and they make all sorts of mango sweets year-round.