Tag Archives: Guimaras Mangoes

Isla Naburot: A Foodie’s Haven

As shared in my previous post, our dining experience in Isla Naburot was so satisfying it requires a separate post.

my Continental breakfast

my Continental breakfast

Isla Naburot’s room rate is at Php 12,000 per night and inclusive of 3 meals.  It’s expensive, yes, but the experience is definitely worth splurging on and the food is so good it in itself is worth coming back to.

Food is served buffet-style in the main hall.  Once it’s ready a staff would ring a bell to remind their guests that it’s meal time.

Dining at Isla Naburot (4)

the main hall, with its lovely views of the beach and islets

Note that drinks are not included in the room rates, but you can charge it in your room (at the main hall is a board where they tally your drinks expense).

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Day 1, Lunch

What makes Isla Naburot’s food special is its home-cooked style of cooking.  Our lunch consisted of grilled fish and squid, green mango and tomato salad, and blanched kangkong (swamp cabbage, Ipomoea aquatica).  Ginataang tahong with kalabasa and malunggay (mussels cooked in coconut milk, with pumpkin and moringa leaves) was our soup while dessert were the sweetest and freshest mangoes.  This was also the first time that I tasted the very fleshy Managat fish, which according to the owners, is one of the most expensive type of fish in Iloilo.

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Our lunch was really good.  I’m not a fan of unriped mangoes, but their mango and tomato salad wasn’t as sour as I thought.  The grilled chicken was tasty and cooked just right, and so was the squid.  The kangkong was also perfectly blanched.  The soup was new to me because we usually don’t cook our mussels in coconut milk, but it was surprisingly good.

Day 1, Merienda (PM Snacks)
Come mid-afternoon, after our swim, the owners approached us to ask if we want some bitso-bitso.  It is a kakanin (delicacy) made from glutinous rice, coated in sugar then deep fried, so it’s crunchy and chewy at the same time.

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I haven’t eaten bitso-bitso since I was a child, so I really enjoyed this treat.

Day 1, Dinner
Dinner was miso soup, salad, grilled pork and shrimp, pancit, and turon ( turrón de banana) for dessert.  I’m not really a fan of miso soup so I took only a few spoonfuls.  I’m not a veggie person too so I just picked hard boiled eggs, carrots, lettuce, and avocado for my salad ingredients.  The grilled pork was good while the shrimp was a little overcooked.  The dessert was very delicious.  I loved how they wrapped each turon so thinly so it was very crunchy.

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Pardon the photo quality.  It was too dark so I had to use flash.  Still, it was a memorable experience to dine underneath a crescent moon, with tropical views like this.

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Day 2. Breakfast
Breakfast was mostly fruits.  The main photo of this post is of my breakfast, which consisted of fruits and bread.  Papaya is one of my least favorite fruits, but the papaya in Isla Naburot was sweet and not overripe.  The mangoes as usual were sweet and the banana was also not overripe.

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Later, they served omelette.  The other thing I appreciate about the food here was the presentation, say the fresh flowers like this hibiscus.

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So pretty.  The omelette, though needed more salt.

Day 2, Merienda (AM Snacks)
It’s also interesting how in a secluded island like Isla Naburot, they have a steady supply of fruits, which made me think that their price isn’t that expensive considering they had to bring everything, including drinking water to the island).  At the main hall were fruits in season like mangoes, indian mangoes, banana, pineapple, papaya, and santol (cottonfruit, Sandoricum koetjape).

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I chose indian mangoes for our morning snacks.  This is my favorite mango variety since it’s always sweet and perfect when dipped in bagoong alamang (shrimp paste).

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Yummy.  And again, looked at how the staff presented this nicely.

Day 2. Lunch
While our one-night stay was inclusive of only 3 meals, the owners asked us to again join them for lunch before heading back to Iloilo (I thought it’s because my friend and they have common friends).

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They served kadyos (Pigeon pea) soup, which really pleased my friend because she’s been craving for one since we landed in Iloilo (kadyos is a favorite Ilonggo dish), pork barbecue, bean sprouts, salad, and to my delight, the flavorful and fleshy Managat fish.

We had fresh crabs too and it was really good.

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And thus was our dining experience in Isla Naburot, the island with a soul, which is also a foodie’s haven.

Guimaras: Sights and Sites from our 2-day Tour

Guimaras 03
Aside from visiting Guimaras’ Trappist monastery/abbey, Guisi Lighthouse and Guisi Beach, Holy Family Hills, and Neptune Pittman’s Garden and taking part in its Manggahan Festival, we also saw these sites and sights on our Visit to Guimaras, the mango capital of the Philippines.

Navalas Church

Navalas Church 01
This was built in 1880 and the oldest existing Roman Catholic Church in Guimaras.  Its patron saint is St. Isidore the Farmer, who is also my hometown’s patron saint, so I’m guessing their town fiesta is every 15th of May.

We were lucky that the church was open during our visit so we were able to see how it looked like.

Navalas Church 02
It was obviously newly renovated and I liked how the colors (violet and yellow) complemented each other.  I loved its stained glass too.

Outside the church was a watchtower that was ongoing refurbishment.

Navalas Church 03
Navalas Church is located in Barangay Navalas in Buenavista, Guimaras

Raymen Beach Resort
This is one of the most popular beach resorts in Guimaras, though I found it too crowded so I was very glad that we did not choose to stay here.

Raymen Beach
While it has a nice beachfront, it was teeming with people since they accept daytrippers (most of their guests are actually daytrippers and locals).  Entrance fee per person is Php 25 and they also have cottages for rent.  We did not linger though as it was just too crowded and noisy for us.

Raymen Beach Resort is located in Alubihon, Nueva Valencia, Guimaras.  Visit their official website for more information.

National Mango Research and Development Center (NMRDC)

NMRDC 01
Our tricycle just passed by here. NDMRC was established in 1969 and is tasked to spearhead the development of the mango industry in Guimaras.

Take heed: The province is so strict in maintaining the quality of their mangoes that they do not allow visitors to bring in any mangoes, or even a part of a mango in their islands.

The Rustic Sights of Guimaras
Guimaras is basically an agricultural province so during our 2-day tour of its municipalities, we came across views of ricefields, grazing livestock, unspoiled beaches and lakes, etc.

Guimaras 02
This photo was taken while we were on our way to Navalas Church from the Trappist monastery.

Guimaras 01
The main photo of this post was taken on our way to Neptune Pittman’s Garden from Navalas Church.

On our way there, we also passed by this fisherman by a lake.

Guimaras 04
Up ahead was this herd of grazing cows.

Guimaras 05
These were just zoomed-in shots so pardon the photo quality.

I took these photos on our way to Guisi Lighthouse.  Our guide specifically made a stopover here since he said it had nice views of the sea and of Iloilo province.

Guimaras 07Guimaras 08
Of course, it wouldn’t be Guimaras without mangoes, and here are some of my handpicked photos of the mango trees I saw during our tour.

Guimaras Mangoes 01
I was amazed that they looked so small but were already bearing fruit.  And I asked what the white things are and what for.  Turned out they are paper wrappings for the mangoes to prevent bats and other animals from eating them before harvest time.

And here’s a close up of a mango tree.

Guimaras 06
I scaled mango trees when I was a child, but I have never seen a mature mango tree with such short trunks!

To continue, this one was taken on our way to Raymen Beach.

Guimaras 09
While this one is taken at the pier on our way to Isla Naburot, a breathtaking, exclusive resort in Guimaras and the subject of my next post.

Guimaras 10
Stay tuned!

Guimaras: Manggahan Festival

Manggahan Festival 06
Guimaras is best known for its mangoes so it’s only right that they have Manggahan Festival (Mangga is their dialect for mango), which they celebrate in thanksgiving for the year’s harvest and blessings.  We were lucky that when we visited Guimaras in the summer of 2014, it’s celebrating this week-long festival (the highlight is a cultural show a la Dinagyang, but we missed it).

One of Manggahan’s highlights is a grand showcase of its products.  Most booths sell mangoes, but there were stalls too selling plants, delicacies, and even clothes and toys.

Manggahan Festival 05
We came here to have lunch so we gave mango stalls like the above a pass and headed straight to the food stalls so we could appease our grumbling stomach.  We chose to eat at Lisa’s.

Manggahan Festival 01
We chose this since it was the most packed and its menu was more varied than others.  We ordered Kilawin (Ceviche), Crabs, Shrimp, and Grilled Squid.

When our order arrived, I immediately dug in.  The Gambas looked nothing like the photo in the menu, but it was good.  The crab wasn’t fat enough, but the kilawin was really good.  The squid was soft and tasty.

Manggahan Festival 07
After our yummy lunch, we went back to the mango stalls to finally try the famous Guimaras mangoes and true enough, they were the sweetest, though to be fair, I had tasted mangoes as sweet as Guimaras mangoes in Aklan and Cebu; but what sets them apart from mangoes anywhere in the country is that Guimaras mangoes are consistent in their excellent quality.  That is, on our 3-day stay in the province, each and every mango we had regardless of where we where were sweet (in other parts of the country, getting the sweetest mango is a matter of luck).

Manggahan Festival 02
While going around the mango stalls, I chanced on one selling Mango Shake so I ordered one for my dessert.

Manggahan Festival 04
It was yummy and cheap at only Php 30 per order.

Manggahan Festival is held every summer.  Check out Guimaras’ official website or Manggahan Festival’s Facebook page for updates.

Manggahan Festival 03