Guimaras Mango Festival Harvest and Manggahan Eat-All-You-Can Experience!

I've been thinking about going to the Guimaras Manggahan Festival for years. Finally, my long-time dream to go with Jeff has come true! My grandma used to feed the sweetest mangoes during our weekly visits to her and we usually couldn't reach it freely since she would ripen it on top of the warm part of the fridge. Haha. I brought these memories with me and prepared for the Mango Eat-All-You-Can activity (by not eating mangoes for a few weeks)! Luckily, I found about the Mango Harvest and Pay Experience as well, which was the best part for me. The festival happens from May 11 to May 22 every year.

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We're glad we didn't stay in Guimaras and just did day trips. With all those people and a narrow walkway in the Ortiz Wharf, having a big luggage would really be hard. The boat to Guimaras costs around P15 to Jordan Wharf and a bit higher like P22 during evening trips. They would give you a small boat name card and you would need to find that boat. When we arrived, we grabbed a tricy to "BPI" or Bureau of Plant Industry Department of Agriculture for around P150 (2 of us, one tricycle so maybe can accommodate 4 comfortably). Make sure you ask them about the price first because they jacked up the price to P600 and wouldn't go below P200 until we got one. The location is a few minutes away from the festival site, mind you, and the jeep to the festival area (if you're willing to squeeze in and go with the people) only costs P15.

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I loved this place - not a lot of people and open to the public during that time. We just asked the guard and he pointed us to the mango pickers! The tent was set up and the DA BPI Guimaras NCRDPS (Department of Agriculture Bureau of Plant Industry National Crop Research, Development & Production Support Center) staff were very accommodating, even in Facebook! They put up the mechanics a few weeks before like P60 per kilo, first-come first-serve, 30 minutes to pick, morning and afternoon schedules, manual harvest and that damaged by flies are disregarded.

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It was really fun! The pole was heavy to a point if you're trying to reach those on top if you're my size haha. But I think Jeff didn't have a problem - just shoot and secure the fruit in the net at the end of the pole and lightly tug. The Kuyas were also there to help me and there were A LOT of mangoes to pick =) I asked how to tell if I got the big ones and the answer was just plain and simple - check the mangoes with bags and pick the ones with tighter necks. Ha! 

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After about 10 minutes, we already collected 5 kilos! Before you start, they would ask you how many kilos is your target and sadly, I did not think it through!!

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We had about 20+ mangoes and they gave me one for free cause it's already ripe! Where can you find that?! Haha. These are the export quality ones, they said!

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If you have a farm, you can do the steps below to determine fruit maturity. Just put in a salt solution and see if it floats! Then, ever wonder why in markets and abroad, the fruits are so beautiful without sticky sap and all?! Well, there's a hot water treatment magic to it all as well! And the people here, reliable Mango Experts, are willing to help people with questions and farm needs to improve the yield and all!

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I would have loved to stay and chat more. Lesson Learned: We could have done this as our last activity so that he didn't have to carry this 5 kg priceless mangoes!! And next time I will bring a trolley and box haha. 

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But from the short chitchat with the staff, they said that the mango trees can produce 5000 to 10000 fruits in one single tree! And they had to hire people to wrap them one by one! 

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Here are the varieties of mangoes available in Guimaras, which led me to think that not all mangoes in Guimaras are created equal and we got the BPI Golden Pico ones!

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And apparently, different types of mango trees do not look alike..

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And they have to protect them from a lot of diseases and pests..

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Here is a guide for Mango Fruit Bagging and making preserves and atsara! I really learned a lot in BPI Guimaras, even if we're just on our own.

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The tricy to the festival site cost us around P10 per person.

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They had a trade fair selling mangoes fresh and processed.

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You would see the mango chandeliers as well and this is possible because of the strong long mango stems. But they were so easy to tug in the tree..

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We found Grafted Pajo Mangoes from BPI also for sale for P100.

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For the last activity, we did mango eat-all-you can for P90 per person. Just eat around 2 kilos and you'll get your money's worth hahaha. We lined up near the booth to pay and get a sticker.

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You can bring your own utensils like knife and spoon. You pick yellow ripe 3 pieces first or green unripe sour 1 piece with knife. When you finish, you can get another plate. Honestly, some were still sour for me so I didn't get past 1.5 plates haha.

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But, dream came true! Two weeks later, the ones we handpicked and handcarried were so sweet and made the trip worth it so I suggest doing more of that at P60 per kilo!!! Mangoes were being sold in Guimaras stalls for around P40-80 per kilo during that time and P180 in Iloilo.

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Hope you've enjoyed reading about this trip. Until the next time ;)

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