Sandwiched between the islands of Panay and Negros, the tiny Philippines island of Guimaras grows some of the world’s sweetest mangoes. Its capital, Jordan, is home to Our Lady of the Philippines Trappist Abbey, where the only male order of monks in the country reside. In addition to running a popular guest house, the monastery highlights the best of the local mango supply—excluding fresh, whole fruit—by making and selling tropical confections in their gift shop.
The Contemplative Trappist Catholic Christian Monks of the Philippines (monks, for short) produce a wide array of mango-centric goodies. These include globally-familiar sweets, such as jams, cakes, and dried fruit, as well as creations that reflect the distinct history and culture of the Philippines. Spain occupied the islands from 1521 to 1898, shaping the culinary landscape in a way evidenced by many of the Trappist treats, including mango barquillos (crispy biscuit rolls) and mango biscocho (bread baked with a layer of butter and sugar on top).
Visitors can also find mango piaya, a muscovado sugar–filled flatbread made popular one island over, in Negros Occidental (the sugar capital of the country). Another Trappist bakery hit is otap, a light, brittle oval of coconut puff pastry that originated two islands over, in Cebu. But the most beloved treats sold at the gift shop are likely the mango bars, which feature a butterscotch cake studded with mango chips and topped with cashew nuts. In short, if you’re visiting the monastery in search of minimalism, discipline, and restraint, avoid the gift shop.
Where to Try It
Our Lady of the Philippines Trappist AbbeySan Miguel, Jordan, 5045, Philippines
The monks' mango-flavored sweets and treats are sold in the on-site gift shop at this monastery.