Guimaras Island keeps its serenity and tranquility even with its booming tourism industry. It is not a surprise why there is a monastery located in this peaceful Visayan Island – the Trappist Monastery.
The Trappist Monastery in Brgy. San Miguel in Guimaras Island is the only monastery of its kind in the Philippines. Run by monks who follow the strict doctrines of St.Benedict, Trappist is the common term for the Order of Reformed Cistercians or the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance. The word “Trappist” came from the La Trappe monastery in France where it was founded.
The Trappist Monastery in Guimaras was founded in 1972 and its lot was donated by Doña Juanita Javellana Ledesma and her family in memory of her late husband, Don Oscar R. Ledesma. The families of the Javellana and Ledesma are one of the most affluent families in Iloilo City which is in the neighboring island of Panay.
This monastery holds retreats especially during the Lenten Season but this abbey is also popular among tourists. It is peaceful and quite as expected from any monastery, and with pine tress all over, it is a soothing experience to walk around and pray in its chapel.
The Trappist Monastery in Guimaras is one of the popular destinations in the island. I think you shouldn’t leave Guimaras without buying the products from the monastery. After all, I think the gift shop located close to the entrance is the unofficial souvenir shop of Guimaras.
Here you can buy pasalubongs like mangoes, jams, jellies, delicacies and other souvenir items. Like other Trappist monks, they get their income from these products that they make from materials and ingredients found in their monastery.
You can see and even converse with the monks there. If you spot from the photo above (it’s not that clear), the monk is the cashier. Sadly, our official photographer was not able to take shots of the monks..Nevertheless, a visit to the monastery is the best way to seal your retreat in the paradise island of Guimaras.
How to get there
From Iloilo City, take a 20 minute boat ride to the port of Jordan in Guimaras Island. The monastery is 20-30 minute ride from the port. All drivers knows the monastery.
Photos by: Ace Francisco