27 Jun2007


Although I steadfastly believe Philippine mangoes are the best in the world (and specifically, the ones from Cebu and Guimaras, though many are urging me to be kind to Zambales mangoes as well), I have to be honest and say that I have not tasted anywhere near all of the varieties of mangoes on the planet… I have eaten mangoes in India, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, North America (which come from Central America and the Caribbean) and across our own archipelago but that still doesn’t mean a thing. mango6Besides, what if I have access to superb Cebuano mangoes but mediocre Indian mangoes – that wouldn’t be a fair comparison, would it? Instead, I would rather be utterly and obviously biased, and say that “Philippine Mangoes are Simply The Best.” However, the sleuth in me isn’t so careless, so I DO TRY to taste as many mango varieties as possible, whenever the opportunity presents itself. I recently got to taste some pretty impressive Australian hybrid mangoes that had been grown on the Cojuangco farms in Mindanao… I bought them in Cebu at PHP80 a kilo and used them in a prawn and mango salad that was utterly delicious. The mangoes were sweet, albeit with that apple/mango flavor, and the meat dense and less fibrous than other Australian mangoes I have tried. They had a buttery mouth feel. When ripe, they would be a reasonable alternative to our own carabao mangoes…but not quite. Then at the market a couple of weekends ago, I spied these two other varieties of stunning reddish-orange skinned mangoes…

Labelled as Tainong (the larger one) and Irwin (smaller colorful one), they also stated on their sign that these were Thai mangoes. I bought one of each type at a whopping PHP100 a kilo. The first mango is in fact a Tainong variety, but it hails from Taiwan or Southern China, NOT Thailand as advertised. This mango had one of the most striking mango2colorations of any mango I have seen with deep greens, reds and burgundies on the thick, smooth and unblemished skin. While this variety is native to Taiwan, these actual fruits were apparently grown by some enterprising farmer locally. These were visually stunning and a beautiful aesthetic addition to any tropical fruit basket. After letting it sit at room temperature for a few days, I thought it should be ripe and I cup it open to reveal a dense orange-yellow flesh. With an apple-mango flavor as well, it was a bit fibrous and the flavor a bit watered down. It was good. But definitely nowhere near a potential replacement for our carabao mangoes. And at PHP100 a kilo, nearly double the price. I can see this mango doing well as a sliced treat, not as a scoop it up with a spoon dessert or snack…


The second mango was an Irwin, which actually hails from Southern Florida, not Thailand. Bred in Florida in the late 1940’s, this has a monoembryonic seed which basically means you cannot grow a fruiting tree from the seed of the fruit. Instead, you need to get grafted trees. This fruit also had spectacular color on its skins and when ripe, surprisingly, mango3had a better tasting flesh than the Taiwanese mango, in my opinion. The flesh was very juicy, dense and sweet, but again, with the apple/mango flavor rather than the clean mango flavor I am partial to. Of course, I consider a clean mango flavor to be the one that is not apple-mango tasting… While it was a bit fibrous near the steam, I thought that ripe this presented a brilliant alternative to all those folks on the mainland U.S. that are pining for mangoes. I wonder if growing it in our tropical weather makes them more palatable, but I thought these were pretty interesting. Neither of these mangoes could adequately take the place of a good Philippine carabao mango (there is a green carabao and a ripe carabao mango in the photos up top), in my opinion… :)

More mango? Check out the following posts:
Indian Mangoes (as opposed to mangoes from India)
Sago at Mangga
Mango Slicing 101
Tropical Fruit Salsa with Mangoes
Dried Mangoes
Green Mango with Bagoong
Mango & Apricot Trifles
Blackberry, Pear, Mango & Almond Gratins
It’s Mango Season Again
Fresh Ripe Mango Shake
Burong Mangga
Apple Mangoes
Pico Mangoes
Millenium Mangoes
Mango Jam



  1. eej says:

    Mangoes seems to have taken over the foodie world by storm. Here in the west coast, everyone is raving about Alphonso mangoes from India that have recently been permitted to be exported in the US. At $4 a pop, it doesn’t come cheap. All I can say is this, price does not guarantee quality. I would opt for Manila mangoes especially the one’s from Cebu anytime.

    Jun 27, 2007 | 5:32 am


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  3. Maria Clara says:

    Thanks for the introduction of new mango varieties – Tainong and Irwin. I love both names! With our globalization including agriculture is a healthy sign – we are abreast with new breed of mangoes. With all your attributes to these mangoes, I am leaning towards our very own carabao mango variety.

    Jun 27, 2007 | 5:38 am

  4. ctl98 says:

    I totally agree that there is nothing like our carabao mangoes!

    Jun 27, 2007 | 6:01 am

  5. elaine says:

    hello marketman! i checked your post on paho mangoes..have you tried salt and sugar solution? no water is added and the ratio is about 4Tsugar -1 tsp/T salt and may adjust as days go by. it tastes like kiamoy! this solution is also good for most mangoes that are somewhat sweet but still sour to be eaten as is…he he if you know what i mean.

    Jun 27, 2007 | 7:03 am

  6. corrine_p says:

    I have tried Vietnameses variety upon the prodding of my Vietnamese friend. It is close to our carabao mango. I remember that Pope Paul VI considers Philippine mango as the best in the world and Mrs. Imelda Marcos makes sure she has mangoes in the menu during the Pope’s visit.

    Jun 27, 2007 | 7:29 am

  7. paolo says:

    Son muy dulces, sin fibra ni sabor a trementina. La piel es verde amarillenta. El Carabao es el más importante en Filipinas y, bajo el sinónimo de Manila, es uno de los más destacables de México

    Jun 27, 2007 | 8:08 am

  8. lee says:

    the third pic looks like an avocado.

    Jun 27, 2007 | 8:47 am

  9. bernadette says:

    Again, thank you for showing more mango breed varieties. Mangoes are so amazing! Although, I recall when I was touring with a theater group ages ago in Mindanao, we would see long shaped mangoes (the size of small papayas!) being sold in the waysides ( if I recall right) in the Bukidnon area side by side with marangs and durians. If you can get hold of these, they are quite something to behold…and just as sweet!

    Jun 27, 2007 | 8:47 am

  10. Cumin says:

    Me, too, I’ve tried mangoes everywhere I went and still swear by Cebu mangoes.

    Interesting that eej mentions the Alphonso mango — there’s a passing mention of that in the Booker Prize winning book The Inheritance of Loss.

    Jun 27, 2007 | 9:14 am

  11. mojito_drinker says:

    hi MM — i am a mango snob. i’ve tried mangoes (granted, with upturned nose) in other parts of the world but for me the best mangoes in the world are from here.

    Jun 27, 2007 | 9:37 am

  12. Teresa says:

    Lovely…utterly lovely. That’s how to describe mangoes from Cebu. Last month I received a basket of mangoes from an officemate. These were grown in his farm in Angono and he called them Cambodian mangoes. The fruits were larger and fleshier than the Cebu variety. Its skin remained green when it ripened with the flesh turning deep yellow orange. It was very sweet with a jasmine like scent and had a melt in the mouth texture because there were no fibers. I must admit I had to ask my officemate for a second basket. I dont know if it goes by any other name but its definetly a must try…

    Jun 27, 2007 | 10:11 am

  13. Apicio says:

    I stopped taking part in heated discussions of friends from the different Caribbean islands about which grows the best mangoes since a colleague from work brought me back their best Jamaican mangoes. It could have been just those particular half dozen he smuggled through customs for me but they were husky. They were so husky it felt as though I did not have to floss after eating them. Incidentally it is the same colleague who claimed they have the finest banana in the world and it is called lakatan. And I’ll tell you, I do not eat mangoes either when in Brazil.

    Jun 27, 2007 | 10:22 am

  14. ntgerald says:

    I have tasted quite a number of overpriced mangoes when I lived in the USA.

    I maintain that carabao mangoes from the Philippines are the best.

    Apicio, I look forward to your comments everytime.

    Jun 27, 2007 | 12:01 pm

  15. chocolatesky says:

    i have often wondered why our mangoes seem to be the only one to have that ‘real’ mango taste or as in your words ‘clean mango taste’. i do so hate the apple/mango taste that seems to be in every other variety of mango outside of the philippines. I do so miss the carabao and piko mangoes we have there especially when ripe! they are not available here (kuwait). sigh.

    Jun 27, 2007 | 3:13 pm

  16. DADD-F says:

    I don’t think it is just the Filipino in me. But Filipino mangoes, as far as I am concerned, are by far the best. I may not be such a globe trotter but I have had my fill of mangoes locally and elsewhere. Carabao mangoes, of course, top the list. But I must confess, carabao mangoes from Zambales are the ultimate, Those from Guimaras a close second. The rest pale in comparison. So, I don’t qualify as having fine taste???

    Jun 27, 2007 | 5:33 pm

  17. Jerry says:

    I recently went to Binondo and bought what the vendor said was a Bangkok mango. It was reddish and was similar in size to the ECJ mango. At P200 per kilo, it was the most horrible mango I’ve tasted. It had an odd, medicinal flavor and was very fibrous. Having never tried the apple mango, I may have been duped. I have tried the Thai variety called Chokanan, and it has a very similar taste and texture profile to the Carabao. They say that this variety is our biggest threat in the export market. I got some in Hong Kong for HK$22 per piece, while our carbao mangoes were going for HK$10, although the Thai variety is a bit larger.

    Jun 27, 2007 | 8:38 pm

  18. Gretchen says:

    I agree with Apicio with regards to Jamaican mangoes. A collegue of mine gave me one piece of mango from Jamaica which she has managed to bring in to Canada. It was big by our standards but when opened it was so fibrous you will not be able to dig in with your spoon. Plus the taste is off with what we are used to. It ended up in the garbage with half of the meat on the skin. I do not know how to get it off. Maybe I should have peeled it instead of cutting it into cheeks like the way we are used to when eating ripe mangoes. How I wish we can bring in Philippine mangoes to show them what mangoes really taste like.

    Jun 27, 2007 | 9:57 pm

  19. erleen says:

    Hilaw na manggang kalabaw with bagoong and/or rock salt….

    Ooohh! My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

    Jun 28, 2007 | 12:12 am

  20. Mandy says:

    mangoes from here are certainly the best. they have so much flavor and sweetness that you will find lacking in other mangoes, imo. i got to taste mangoes from thailand and they were juicy, yes, but not as sweet as our own talaga. basta kulang sa lasa!

    Jun 28, 2007 | 1:49 am

  21. Dodi says:

    Hi MM!
    I don’t want to be paranoid but I am wary about consuming some fruit varieties which may be genetically-modified , that’s why I stick to the “pure” mango strains that we have. Most mangoes coming out of Guimaras for LOCAL consumption may not be the “best” that they have because the “best” ones are exported abroad. My expat friends go gaga over our local varieties so I guess that says a lot for our mangoes. I don’t know if Australia still prohibits importing our mangoes, but I can shout hurray because they don’t know what they’re missing and they won’t have to “modify” it according to their taste. So, carabao, piko, supsupin, etc., bring them on!!!

    Jun 30, 2007 | 8:26 am

  22. m.abad says:

    We want to you more detail about your mango variety and specification of all variety

    Jul 6, 2007 | 8:51 pm

  23. kaye says:

    hi, i love mangoes…be it green or yellow..but it must be from zambales.Im from zambales, so give our mangoes a chance. I havent tasted mangoes from other parts of the world like you did but i tasted mangoes from different parts of our country but i must say zambales mangoes are the best..sweet and very succulent.

    Jul 26, 2007 | 9:04 pm

  24. alberto says:

    Hello mangos lovers!! Can somebody give me the name of a nursery that will sale plants to Miami, Florida? I`m from Cuba and we always said that filipinos mangos are the best!!!I try to buy some plants here but they are not the real deal… mi email: alberto33134@yahoo.com

    Nov 20, 2007 | 7:34 am

  25. dragon says:

    To all kababayans outside of the Philippines: let’s look at the bright side and be thankful that our mangoes are not “good enough for import” to other countries. It only means more for our local consumption and that the prices of these mangoes won’t go sky high as there are “no foreign demand” for the product. ;-)

    Jun 2, 2008 | 9:41 am

  26. Beth says:

    The variety from Zambales that is said to be the best of the carabao varieties is the Sweet Elena variety. There have been scientific studies conducted that more or less prove it’s “superiority”. Of course, taste is a matter of preference.

    Jun 25, 2008 | 6:09 am

  27. anthony says:

    am not knowledgeable with fruits. are apple mango a variety of mango, or a hybrid? or are they apple grafted with mango? thanks

    Feb 10, 2009 | 10:37 am

  28. bart says:

    they started as apple grafted with mango.

    Feb 10, 2009 | 4:40 pm

  29. GenerSumilang says:

    Tell all the names and tastes of mangoes in the world, but for me, its the “VIZCAYA MANGOES” are the best! Its taste is incomparable,fibers are impossible to trace,tenderness is excellent, and the taste is superior to any mangoes worldwide, shape is refined by nature,size is acceptable and the smell when ripe is very refreshing..I tried and tasted almost all mangoes around the world like india,pakistan,thailand,taiwan,sri lanka, burma and from africa like kenya and sierra leone but their mango taste is inferior to that of vizcaya mangoes, maybe this mangoes are the best if you never tasted the vizcaya mangoes. Alphonso mango from india is comparable in smell but by far cannot be compared on its general appearance, quality and taste, its fibers are also very destructive to mouth! you needed blender it eat its juice! then how can you enjoy eating naturally a mango? many mangoes in philippines most likely from south like guimaras and davao are almost the best, but mangoes there are still not comparable by far from vizcaya mangoes…try mangoes from this region and see the difference…

    Feb 10, 2009 | 9:46 pm

  30. GenerSumilang says:

    Zambales mangoes are succulent and tasty but the problem with mangoes from this place is-easy prone to pests! some mangoes locally sold to consumers were infested with maggots! i hope that some agencies should look on this matter not to tarnish its quality and standings on the market.
    One thing that we should know is, we should expand our market better in many countries like in europe,middle east and the u.s.,we can create more job opportunities locally by doing so, in fact we should plant more mangoes and other fruit bearing plants to be exported as our products are not much known in the outside world! besides, can you imagine that our carabao mangoes are far cheaper compare to south asian mangoes thought our mangoes are far tastier and superior in all aspects! is there any agency in the philippines who is capable of regulating the prices? my GOD, our mangoes are like a kings dishes while the price is way too cheap!. this should not make the price of mangoes locally to become expensive anyway as we are the sole source of this golden fruit…

    Feb 11, 2009 | 4:34 pm


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