Guimaras: Our Lady of the Philippines Trappist Abbey

Source: Mr Wiki

Guimaras is located in Panay Gulf, between the islands of Panay and Negros, Western Visayas region. To the northwest is the province of Iloilo and to the southeast is Negros Occidental. It is well-known for its agricultural crops, particularly mangoes, where some 50,000 of these trees are planted. The island is famous for producing the sweetest mangoes in the world, after Pakistan.

It has been our personal mission to look for the sweetest mango the moment we set foot on Guimaras. I've read so much about Guimaras; about the people, the cool ambiance and it's unspoiled wonders. And oh, for the love of food, did I forget to mention about the mangoes? 

Excerpts about how we got to Guimaras..
With tummies happy and dispositions all sunny, it was difficult to hold back the excitement. We were all itching to see what spots Guimaras can offer. Kaye took the initiative to approach a multicab and negotiated our island tour. A few offers with some subtle haggling after, we were bound to start the trip.
PitStop 1: Our Lady of the Philippines Trappist Abbey

No, the monks aren't really trapped. It's called a trappist abbey because the monastery works in principle of the Cistercians of the Strict Observance. They are of the Roman Catholic religious order of cloistered contemplative monastics who follow the Rule of St. Benedict. It was founded in 1972. At present there are about 35 monks living in the monastery. These monks are known for being extremely pious and disciplines in following the rules of their vocation. Pa-Mr.Know-it-all effect lang. Source
The souvenir shop was the first place we visited when we got into the complex. Aside from it's the first building to welcome you in, it was also where the food were served. Kakakain lang, PG mode agad agad?!

Right on the entrance of the shop, a lady with interesting basket-load of wood was busily carving out some keychains. It took me about a second to understand why the piece of wood was special. May cross sa gitna, men!

Manang said the piece of wood came from a special sinukuan tree. The wood was harvested only on Good Fridays. It was not just any sinukuan tree but a special set of trees planted in a sacred location.

Inside the souvenir shop, we found some of the products that the Trappist Monks made themselves. From products made from indigenous materials to snacks from locally-grown ingredients like Guimaras sweeeet [couldn't stress it even more] mangoes, they have it. Gamot sa nangungulubot na sken? Mind you, meron sila! \m/

Losyang  ba you? Oh ha. Oh ha.
From the souvenir shop, we had to take a short walk to the chapel. Di naman malayo. Mga tatlong tumbling at isang gangnam lang naman. [Insert 'Gangnam' chorus here] \m/

Covered walk. Trees lined up along the way to the chapel.
The Trappist Monastery Chapel, like any other place of worship, summoned a feel of sanctity. It was definitely silent and conducive to a one-on-one talk with the man up there. 

 Trees surrounded the edifice giving it a reflective feel to the area. Birds singing in melody to the wind moving the tree branches made a good symphony helping who ever distressed and troubled sure to slow down and clear their mind. This 1st stop was surely the best way to start this trip.

to be continued....

Getting to Trappist Monastery from Jordan Port.
After signing off the registration form on the Tourism Booth, there are a lot of pedicab drivers at the port area. You can negotiate with them on how much their rates are when going to a specific destination. Travel time depends on which destinations you have in mind or which spot the driver [slash] tour guide offers.

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