Mango Republic-A A +A
Thursday, August 9, 2012
NOTHING says you-have-been-to-Cebu like a loot of mango goodies. Sweet and tangy, this tropical fruit is loved by many and omnipresent in the homebound luggage of many tourists. Since 1980, Profood International Corp. has tapped on the juicy potential of the mango fruit and was rewarded with a strengthening market presence over the years.
Three decades after, the same food manufacturer, has fashioned a landmark destination for tourist-shoppers. And you can be sure that it has not let their favorite fruit out of their sight in their new site, appropriately called, the Mango Museum.
Much has been written (and raved) about the mango, but the history of the fruit, intertwined with the local trade, is something that would interest both local and foreign tourists alike, so Profood thought.
Cementing Cebu’s reputation as the “dried mango capital” of the country, Profood poured a cool P20 million into a three-story complex mostly dedicated to the historical and commercial value of the mango. For a fee of P100, guests are allowed inside the Mango Museum and are guided personally and virtually (by way of a short film) through the boom-turned-staple Cebuano industry.
Guides have entertained all sorts of crowds since its opening early this year—from curious college kids from universities in Manila to Asian guests (mostly Taiwanese and Koreans). Far from being a tired sight, the Mango Museum takes its cue from the modern museums abroad. The entire edifice is something to be proud of. The interiors are refreshing and the arrangement of the informative displays are easy-on-the-eye and straightforward.
Curious as to how these dried goods are actually made? Guests who have signed for the tour will likewise get to see the company’s factory operations up close. Profood’s factory, after all, is just steps away from the Mango Museum. This is many ways similar to kimchi-making or silk-making tours feature in touristy trips to Korea and China, respectively.
One Stop Shop
The tour culminates with almost every tourist’s weakness, that is, souvenir shopping. Profood Gallery Giftshoppe, conveniently, does not limit its stocks to their own goods. While consumers will get to enjoy the factory price of Profood products (the manufacturer is not only known for producing mango products but variants in guyabano (soursop), jackfruit, mangosteen, among other crops), they will also get to see a wide fare of other local products.
As Cebu is also known for being a puso (hanging rice) country, the souvenir shop (at the third level of the complex) showcases novelty items resembling the rice takeout. If you are bored with collecting fridge magnets, you can take handicrafts and accessories with you! If you are in hurry to get the dried fish you promised, the gallery has stocks from Bantayan Island, too.
In line with the shop’s thrust of upping local tourism, products from other locales (such as strawberry jam from Baguio City, durian jam from Davao, or otap from Ormoc City) also occupy its shelves.
The Giftshoppe is open from 7:30 in the morning up to 7:00 in the evening, Mondays through Saturdays. If you want to skip the tour of the rest of the museum and factory, you can go directly to the shop to collect your chosen goods.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 10, 2012.