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A Visit to the Trappist Monastery. The Rooster Crows at 4am!

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A Visit to the Trappist Monastery. The Rooster Crows at 4am! With Christmas rapidly approaching, and with no recent trips to Iloilo City to escape from "The Compound",  I thought it was a great time to visit a local landmark, Our Lady of the Philippines Monastery, a Trappist Monastery, just ten minutes via tricycle from our home in San Miguel, Jordan Guimaras.

According to Wikipedia Encyclopedia, this is the only monastery of the Cistercians of the Strict Observance in the Philippines. It was founded in 1972. At present there are 35 monks living in the monastery.  The stained glass window photo above was taken from the main church, which was dedicated in December 1997, thanks to a generous donation from the Ledesma family, and is a beautiful and serene sanctuary.

But The Sainted Patient Wife and I, along with our 16 year twin nieces, Michelle and April, stopped inside the gift shop when we first arrived, and purchased some pineapple cookies, banana slices, peanut butter, ginger brew, a liniment rub for my father-in-law, and a Trappist Monastery T-Shirt for me. The purchases all go towards helping support the monastery.

A friendly Trappist Monk checked out our purchases and a young Filipina bagged the items for us. Shortly after we arrived, a tour bus arrived, and I asked the driver if I he would let me take a picture. Sure, he said. I took the shot, and thanked the driver, and he asked if I needed another photo. No thanks, I said. The tour bus was from nearby Iloilo.

But wait. If you remember all my previous stories about going to Iloilo City for shopping via the pump boats, how did that big tour bus arrive in Guimaras? Of course, the ferry, which runs about every half hour during the day. SPW and I have not needed to use the ferry for any occasion so I have not mentioned it. If you are ever in Iloilo and happen to bring your tour bus with you,  you can load it on the ferry to Guimaras.

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After we left the gift shop, we took a tour of the grounds. There is no charge to visit the monastery; there is a collection box outside of the main abbey where I took the stained glass window photo, but I believe that the gift shop and the monastery food products that are even sold in the SM Malls supermarkets in Iloilo City  must contribute a substantial part of their funding.

As we walked on the path to the main abbey, the church, we were greeted by a monk who engaged us in conversation, and asked where I was from as he probably guessed I was not a local. I doubt he had seen many Boneheads before, and was no doubt curious. I considered asking him if we could take his picture but felt uneasy doing so. I have heard that the Amish people, of which we had a large community of fairly close to our central Illinois town, do not like their photos taken, and to me the monks are a type of Amish in that they have separated themselves from the outside world for their own spiritual enrichment and to be closer to God. So I pass on the potential photo op.

We visit several other buildings in the monastery grounds, and decide to head back home, our tricycle driver wanted to wait for us;  I had tipped him an extra 20 pesos for our 10 minute  40 peso ride for four because it is almost Christmas, and he told The Sainted Patient Wife he would hang around and bring us back home.

We are walking towards the tricycle when SPW asks if I want to visit the Valle Verde Mountain Spring Resort which is about only about fifteen minutes from where we are now. The Sainted One informs me that one of her relatives owns the resort which is in the heart of the jungle not far from her birthplace. WHAT!  After almost ten years of marriage, my wife tells me she has a relative that has a resort and it has a magnificent swimming pool! And this resort is just a little over 25 minutes from The Compound! I said let's go.

Wisely I did not question why she had waited almost ten years to give me this bit of information because I am sure she would have just said she did tell me before, and that I had just forgotten. Being in the Christmas spirit I decide to let it go. So tomorrow's blog will be about our visit to the Valle Verde Mountain Spring Resort in Guimaras province in the Philippines, and I will tell you that when SPW said it is in the middle of the jungle, it is. Hope you check in tomorrow for "The Rooster Crows at 4am!"

4 Comments

  • Vernz

    Hi Dave, been absent for a day from blogosphere, schedule too full hahahah!

    Great experience you got here! You're actually living with saints … heheheh!

  • David DeWall

    Hi Vernz, thanks, I know this is quite a busy time of year for most, I appreciate all of your comments. And yes, I really am living with saints!

  • David B Katague

    I heard that the trsppist monks were the first to plant the Guimaras mangoes. Is this true? Cheers and merry Christmas from Marinduque!

  • David DeWall

    Hi David, well, the trappist monks could very well have been the first to plant mangoes here. I cannot find out anything after just a quick Internet search, and no one in my family here has any idea. I'll have to dig around some more.

    Merry Christmas! Glad to see you back in the Philippines.

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