Pit stop: Trappist Abbey, Guimaras Island

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After having left Baras Beach Resort, Pete and I opted to stop over at The Trappist Monastery. Well, I did because I wanted to show him the abbey.

We took a mini tour of the grounds and stopped by their gift shop to buy stuff. The staff in the gift shop were very friendly and even suggested what to buy as gifts. I bought only a few things like a rosary for my mum, and food for my belly. Peter, I think, bought a wallet for his sister and a few things for his mum as well.

There is a part of the monastery that is off-limits to visitors. This is were the monks are staying.

History

by Abbot John Eudes Bamberger, OCSO

THE ABBEY OF THE PHILIPPINES is a monastery of the Cistercian Order that is located on the island of Guimaras, separated from the large city of Iloilo on Panay island, by a strait of the Sulu Sea. The Cistercians were founded in 1098 near Dijon, France. Monks of this Cistercian Order live a life dedicated to the contemplative search for God. Very early men of great natural talent and of culture were attracted to seek God in these monasteries which radiated a spirit of simplicity, and where there was evident austerity, manual labor and prayer that have characterized the Order at its most flourishing periods. The quality of many of its abbots and monks resulted in the rapid spread of its monasteries throughout Europe where they often played important roles in the spiritual and cultural lives of their regions. By the quality of their writings, the scholarship and art of their manuscripts and the outstanding architectural achievements of their cloisters, many of which are still in use today, the Cistercians exerted a considerable influence in the life of the various nations of Europe. In the 17th century at the monastery of La Trappe in Normandy, a reform of the Cistercian observance was undertaken. The monasteries descended from that reform movement were organized into what is called the Trappist- which are a separate Order of Cistercians, in the year 1892.

This ABBEY OF THE PHILIPPINES was founded by the United States Region in 1972 and is the only men’s monastery of the Order in this country. There is a community of Cistercian nuns on the Island of Mindanao for which this abbey supplies the chaplain and other assistance.

St. Benedict

Cistercian monasteries are located in solitary places in the country for the sake of living more quiet and hidden lives in simplicity. Members of the monastery take a vow of stability that binds them to the monastic community for life. Characteristically, their livelihood involves agriculture, though in modern times some other source of revenue is usually required. Here in the Philippines, we have a farm and cultivate rice and various vegetables for our own use and that of our many guests. We also have a large orchard of mango trees and process the fruit into jam and dried mango slices. In addition we make other jellies from various fruits growing on our property, especially guava. We also have a small bakery and make cookies. We sell these products in the store located at the gate of our monastery. At present there are some 35 monks in the community; more are interested in joining us. We are in the process of expanding our food production facilities and improving our farm and woods so as to be able to provide adequately for our financial requirements as the traditions of our Cistercian Order call for. (source)

Location

The monastery is located at Barangay San Miguel, Jordan in Guimaras. It is a 20-30 minute multicab ride from Jordan Port. It is a 15 minute trike ride/ multicab ride from Alubijod Beach.

trappist map

Tours and Retreats

You can tour the monastery grounds, the prayer areas, and the souvenir shop. The monks and nuns are friendly as well and they wouldn’t mind stopping what they are doing to talk to you and share their wisdom. They also have rooms or guest houses for rent at reasonable prices if you want a peaceful retreat. Mind you, the male and female quarters are separate from each other.

Products

The abbey is known for their Guava Jam, manufactured within the monastery grounds. They also have Mango Jam, Mango Bars (my personal fave), and lots more! I bought a box of Mango Bars and a box of Chocolate Rum Balls. They also sell religious paraphernalia for you to bring home to relatives as gifts.

Their products are now being sold in the national market. I am not sure if they had exported some. If they had, please please please try the mango bars. Oh! And the jams are too sweet so a little of it goes a long way.

Donations and an unusual tidbit

Okay, I mentioned unusual but to a tourist/foreigner might find it unusual indeed. We (pilgrims/devotees, etc) donate eggs in exchange for prayers. I have no idea why eggs are being given when you can donate anything may it be cash or in-kind. Before you get any ideas that the monks and nuns would only pray when given gifts, let me explain…

They would gladly pray for you with or without the donations. We donate food, though, as a thank you for their efforts and for including us during mass and prayer.

Contact

You may visit their website at:

http://www.ourladyofnewhelfta.com/OLP/

Gallery

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Note to self: I should buy their fruitcake the next time I visit. Aaaand the rum balls. Definitely the rum balls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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