it takes two to mango
Fresh from the comatose-inducing overnight in Concepcion, we headed back straight to Iloilo City and looked for a place to eat late lunch. Mang Inasal is almost like herpes, they are everywhere. That’s why Jeff got too curious and I let him try its famous barbecue chicken, and it was so cheap it could possibly be fake chicken.
When Monette arrived in the city a day ahead of us she luckily stumbled-upon this new hostel in La Paz while looking for cheaper alternative. So we spared ourselves from exerting the same effort and went straight to Urban Inn. Freshening-up only took 30 minutes and we went back to Smallville for some beer, kinilaw na tanigue (raw mackerel drenched with vinegar) and a night-long man to man talk 😉
The following day started early when we decided to take a day trip to the nearby island province of Guimaras. We took the jeepney to the Ortiz where the pump boats are embarked. It wasn’t the poshest port in the Philippines, but what will you expect if you are only paying PhP 12 for a one way boat ride to Jordan? I swear it was the cheapest I have ever paid for a transportation fare. Twelve third world Pesos.
Life vest is solely used as decoration
It took us about fifteen minutes to cross the Guimaras strait to Jordan. Upon disembarkation, you need to go to their outpost cum tourism office to register and pay minimal amount for tourism tax. The help desk personnel can assist you in plotting your itinerary. And just like any other destinations in the world, like flies on the poop, dispatchers and drivers instantly surrounded us competing for the cheapest tricycle rental.
Most destinations in Guimaras are accessible by public transportation. With less than 12 hours, we decided to rent a tricycle to bring us to our chosen destinations for the price of PhP 600.
Our first stop is the beach in Alubihod. But we decided to just chill and sit. We were toasted enough to take another dip, and the Concepcion sandbar is definitely a hard act to follow.
… So we just sat there, chilled, talked about… People! YES! We were laughing our brains out with some of the random people that we saw on this beach. I’m sorry, we know what we did was bad but we couldn’t help but feast on them. Here’s one example:
The girl was wearing a capri, two layers of tank top and a head band, WHILE SWIMMING! I know it was a guilty pleasure but let me quote Jeff on this one “It was so delicious it got to be fattening”. (Photo by JEFF RIOS).
Then we drove further. The asphalt highway slowly changed into dirt roads and the rough terrain made the tricycle engine struggle and our butts suffer. Guimaras is one of the provinces at the bottom of the rank in terms of population density, so going around has a “siesta” feel on it no matter what time of the day it is.
We reached Brgy. Dolores in the town of Nueva Valencia. Guisi Point has a short coastline of golden-yellow sand beach and azure waters. And perhaps the crown jewel of this island is an 18th century Spanish-colonial lighthouse enclaved in this southern most point of the province.
It is just sad that the condition of this sentinel of the sea is already in disarray, it is literally a tower of rust. There’s even a warning that is written on the weathered steel that says “Guina dili an ang pag saka kay dilikado” which I don’t fully understand but the message clearly came across warning people not to climb due to eminent danger.
Yet still I climbed. I couldn’t let this chance of climbing this lighthouse pass without a fight. It is the second oldest standing lighthouse in the country, next to the one in Aparri, Cagayan.
The ‘Nips’ of time.
You could feel the wind moving the vertical structure, and right up the spiral staircase is an open platform, no railings no handles, noting to harness you when you fall down the cliff while standing on top of it. But the view is breathtaking. I took some shots and immediately crawled down to safe ground.
It was almost high noon during the hottest time of the year, so we hopped on our tricycle and headed back to the Trappist Monastery in Brgy. San Miguel. Run by monks of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance the monks follow the rule of St. Benedict and known for their extreme austerity in their ways of living. The place was so quiet that even a small fart will definitely make waves of echoes.
They earn a living by selling souvenir items, mango preserves, jams, cookies etc. which are all harvested, cooked and packed within the monastery grounds.
And we saved the best for last. Guimaras is known to grow the sweetest mangoes in the world. So we stopped at the National Mango Research and Development Center to check out the mango farm. Yes! We have that in the Philippines. We even have specialized laboratories and research facilities for other things like sisig, balut, KTV acoustics and Hello Kitty stuffed toys…
Is it just me or you can also smell the sweet scent of ripe mangoes just by looking at this pictures? I am literally salivating while uploading these images. The mangoes here in Singapore are nowhere near the goodness of what we have in the Philippines.
The Guimaras mangoes are reportedly the only type of mangoes being served at the White House, Air Force One and Buckingham Palace. So we tried out it’s world famous nectarine goodness and bought some bags to take home.
The research center didn’t rest on having mangoes made piaya, preserves and juice. They innovated this produce to make new products like mango wine, mango polvoron, mango chutney, mango sauce and hot and spicy mango ketchup.
I’m not kidding.