Trivia about the Philippine Fruits

Atis.  Philippine name for Sweet Sop, Sugar Apple, and Custard Apple.  Atis was introduced to the Philippines during the Spanish times. It is a small tree that grows between 10 to 20 feet high when fully matured with oblong leaves and green heart-shaped fruits with polygonal tubercles. The atis fruit has a white, sweet flesh and black seeds.

Pomelo (Suha). Found throughout the Philippines, usually planted. A small tree, 6 to 13 meters in height. Spines, solitary, sharp and long. Flowers are white, fragrant.  Fruit is large, up to 20 cm in diameter.  Pulp is pale yellow, pink or red, with large distinct vesicles.

Watermelon (Pakwan). In the Philippines, the typical season is from March to July or during the hottest months of the year. Bulacan, Pampanga and Pangasinan grow the bulk of the watermelons that make it into Manila. On a drive north on the expressway, you can sometimes see huge fields planted with watermelon and the fruit sitting on the ground like huge bowling balls. To choose a watermelon, the skin should be a deep dark green and the skin a bit waxy in feel. If a stem is attached it is best that it is brown and shriveled as this is a sign the fruit has ripened on the plant.

Mango (Manga). Considered Fruit of the Gods, Philippine Mango is well-known worldwide for its best qualities, which cannot be outshined by any variety of mangoes around the globe. This exotic tropical fruit popularly known to be yellow in color obtained its addictive taste through its meticulous harvest procedures.It matures after 3 months and a half from the time of its flower blooms, carefully handpicked while still green and harvested between 9am- 3pm to prevent rapid exudation of the latex. Green mango can be served as a salad component, while golden yellow mango has varieties of ways to savor its uniqueness. It can be served as plain, processed, dried or frozen.

Jackfruit (Langka). The langka, nangka or Jackfruit is perhaps one of the largest fruits in the world. It grows to about 1-1/2 – 2 feet long with short spines covering its body. When ripe, it gives off a very distinct aroma. The fruit is often wrapped with plastic while still hanging from the tree to prevent birds and insects, which cannot resist the sweet smell, from feasting on the succulent flesh. Langka is a fruit tree found throughout the Philippines. It is abundant on Mt. Banahaw. The ripe fruit is said to be demulcent, nutritive, and laxative.

Lanzones. An oval khaki colored fruit, lanzones has several segments within with white, translucent and juicy flesh. They kind of “pop” in your mouth and can range from unbearably sour to incredibly sweet. Often there is one seed larger than the rest. The seeds are wickedly bitter and highly distasteful – biting into too many of them is a real turn-off. There is a sap to the skin that is extremely sticky. When just ripe, this is a tropical fruit par excellence. It has flavor, juiciness, sweetness and a uniqueness that is not found in western fruits.

Coconut (Buko). It is an extremely useful tree with the trunk, leaves and fruit finding several uses. For juice or a drink, you want a young coconut with sweet juice but just starting to form its meat. Put the juice in a pitcher, add coconut meat and chill or add ice if it is to be served immediately. Delicious. .   The Philippines is the world’s second largest producer of coconut products, after Indonesia. About 25 percent of cultivated land is planted with coconut trees. Historically, the Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions of Luzon and the Eastern Visayas are the centers of coconut production. By 1980, Western Mindanao and Southern Mindanao also became important coconut-growing regions.

Bananas (Saging). Philippine is one of the world’s largest banana exporters. Significant tracts of land are devoted to banana production in the regions of Southern Mindanao, Southern Tagalog, the CARAGA, and Western Visayas. Large contiguous areas are devoted for commercial production in four provinces in Mindanao, namely Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, South Cotabato, and Misamis Oriental. Japan has consistently been the largest importer of Philippine bananas, accounting for more than 60{1104248511d637c6a51014dcaacb77de829b1de96a4faa7392b7bed9a15aa427} of the country’s total fresh banana export and about 15{1104248511d637c6a51014dcaacb77de829b1de96a4faa7392b7bed9a15aa427} of banana chips export.  Banana is considered as the most important fruit crop in the country in terms of volume of production and export earnings.

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