More mangos than you can shake a pokey stick at!!
Trip Start Feb 10, 2013
72Trip End Sep 18, 2013
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Despite the mission getting here (which did include a cheeky Pizza Hut along the way), we had the resort almost to ourselves, again, and settled in for a relaxing evening of cards, conversation and surprisingly no mangos
The joke was that on Guimaras, there isn't much else to do in terms of sights. There are, as there are on many Philippine islands, several beautiful white sand beaches, pretty good diving and snorkeling and plenty of opportunity to relax, however several people had told us to come here simply for the mangos! The island is situated of the south east coast of Panay in the Visayas, and settling in between Panay and Negros, it has one sole export...mangos. We had decided to ask the tricycle driver to take us to 4 points of interest, two of which mango related, and all within amicable distance of each other.
Our first stop was a Trappist Monastery, the only one in the Philippines
Did you know...
Mangos grow so well on Guimaras due to the constitution of the soil combined with the hot climate and the heavy rains.
There are more than 20 types of Mango grown locally on Guimaras, the sweetest of which is the Carabao Mango (not to be confused with the island) which is exported to the White House and the table of the British Monarchy
They are wrapped in newspaper whilst still attached to the trees so that they are not attacked by various flies and borer beetles. This does give the effect from distance of looking like a money tree!
Mango trees grow and grow until they cannot support their own weight and collapse in on themselves.
Harvestable trees are actually snippings from other mature trees grafted on to young roots and then grown in nurseries and so bear ripe harvestable mangos within 5 years.
Finally, did you know...that I knew nothing about mangos....but I do know that the sweetest mangos on earth are grown right here on this island. We tried them....and holy hell they were good. In fact we pretty much didn't stop eating them until we left! So the research centre proved to be a great find and as they had their own orchard, it meant we didn't have to go and visit the other orchard on the island...and so onward and upwards to our next stop at the waterfalls. This unfortunately was a bit of a let down due to the dry season being so very hot and dry that the water had evaporated down to a non-flowing pool of mucky broth. Never mind, lets head down to the beach and do some snorkeling. This ladies and gentlemen is were I must deviate and tell you a little tale, The Tale Of The Pokey Stick
Back when were in Puerto Galera, diving my ass off, the resort had recently invested in some new toys. When diving, it is very difficult to do 2 things: firstly, get someones attention if they are looking the other way and secondly, find something to steady yourself on when taking pictures of very very tiny things (obviously one should never touch the reef or floor with bare hands, partly as you may damage the reef with the oils from your skin but also because there are so many things that sit on the reef, camouflaged, that are deadly poisonous). So the resort had purchased several 1.5 feet lengths of stainless steel, approx the width of a thick pen, drilled a hole in one end and put a wrist strap through the drilled hole. This creates a tank banging (to get someones attention) and reef/floor leaning tool (to take photos safely)! A really useful piece of equipment for myself and after observing the dive masters with them, seeing how useful they really are, I asked how much they were selling them for. 1000 pesos...approx 17-18 pounds. Hmmmmm.. I don't really want to spend that when you've just told me how easy it is to make them!! So since then, when ever we pass a builders merchants or homeware store I pop in and ask about stainless steel and up til now I have had no success....but that all changed with the amazing tricycle driver that we had :-) We stopped for water and mangos and while we waited I asked him if he knew anywhere to get stainless steel from. He suggested I tried a place next door so I did, nothing. Oh well, I'm sure I will find some somewhere. At which point he took me to another place about 10metres away which was a tricycle repair shop...a metalwork forecourt and asked the fella working there. This guy was covered from head to toe in makeshift overalls, including a common thing of wrapping a t-shirt around your face and head and poking your eyes through the neck hole
Well anyway, absolutely delighted and not too much time taken up, maybe around 30 minutes, we drove down to the beach for the rest of the afternoon
One other new surprise from the whole day was seeing cashew nuts in their ripened glory on the tree. Cashews are one of the only nuts that grow on the outside of the fruit. I was also surprised to know there are cashew fruits, which apparently aren't too bad, but at the resort, Christys daughter was collecting them from their tree to dry them out and sell the cashew nuts for pocket money. Frugel to the end these Philippinos! At dinner that night we revelled in our new found understanding of fruits, especially mangos, and along side a bottle of rum, ate some wonderful food and even more mangos!
As a parting gift the following morning, Christy gave myself and Ed a native style necklace and to Lucy a pot of fresh mango jam, ingredients: mango and sugar, nothing else! Our tricycle dude was taking us over to the other side of Guimaras to get us on t our next mission but for now, Guimaras proved to be a cheeky little gem in the huge shiny diamond of the Philippines...indeed the sweetest mangos in the world, but also some of the sweetest people we've met...
So for now
Ari Na Ko