It is with much excitement that I launched our new blog advocacy series 30 FRUITS OF SUMMER today. This month-long series is extra special because it is directly in line with this blog’s primary mission to promote the Philippines as a foodie paradise. The travel foodie world is missing out on a lot of deliciousness by writing off the Philippines as one of their must go foodie travel destination. There is so much to discover and enjoy here! Let me start by introducing you to local and exotic summer fruits in the Philippines that you just have to go here to experience.
At this point though, let me take this opportunity to thank everyone for supporting the last blog advocacy series that I launched Local DiscoverEATS. It featured new homegrown cafes and restaurants here in Marilao and Meycauayan last August 2016. Thank you for liking, engaging and sharing the series with all your friends through your social media accounts. For one, it was a major turning point for this blog in terms of traffic =D. But more than that, I believe that in our own little way, we were able to help promote a vibrant local economy by supporting our local start-ups.
So that was local but for this blog advocacy series, we’re going global. The deliciousness in this country is still very much underrated and I say it’s high time to claim our global spotlight. It’s saddening to look at Pinterest and not see the Philippines as one of the MUST GO Foodie Travel Destinations. Thailand is. I’m not hating on Thailand. I have been there and I loved loved loved it. However, I can’t see why it’s as popular as it is and the Philippines isn’t. Our more than 7,000 island archipelago is home to diverse, unique and delicious eats that are grounded in history and culture, wrapped with our warm hospitality and topped with our joy as a people.
If you’re Filipino, don’t think that this is not for you. I actually believe that this is more for us Filipinos than our foreigner brothers and sisters. If we only get to take a closer look at what we have, appreciate it, take pride in it, take care of it and harness it, the world around us will inevitably notice. Unfortunately, our colonial mentality still runs deep =(. We want what we do not have. We undervalue what we do have. I included. This explains why our Ube flavor is too late in the global food game as compared to Matcha of the Japanese, a sentiment I have also shared in an earlier post.
I know that the core of this issue is too complicated to tackle in a FOOD+RECIPE+TRAVEL blog like this. Nonetheless, I want to use my voice, no matter how small and fragile it is, to shed light into this. Only when we know what’s hindering us can we really start to take it down and move forward with passion and intention. I really do hope to see more Filipinos, myself included, confidently conscious of our natural and cultural heritage. And I believe that food is a good starting point for that.
SUMMER FRUITS IN THE PHILIPPINES
1 – PAKWAN (Watermelon)
This is no April Fools Day joke. Yellow or Golden Watermelons do exist. Honestly, I never knew it did up until about a year ago. And I also didn’t know that there are non-round watermelons. Haha! Is anyone as surprised as I was?
It’s funny because watermelons or PAKWAN (in Tagalog) is ubiquitous here in the Philippines but I didn’t really know much about it. Well, I know it’s delicious, mostly water and best enjoyed chilled during summer but that was as far as I knew. Didn’t even know that there is a Pakwan Festival held in Bani, Pangasinan every February. Did you know that?
Other things I have discovered upon reading more is that this fruit is originally from Southern Africa and it is loaded with lots of vitamins and minerals. It is good for the kidneys, the heart and can even prevent cancer. Click here to know more.
Before I forget, so how does this Yellow Watermelon taste? It has a different kind of sweetness that seems sweeter, like Honey Dew is to Cantaloupe (Melon). The texture is also a little more firmer.
2 – BUKO (Coconut)
3 – CAIMITO (Star Apple)
This fruit is one of my absolute favorites. Is it yours too?
Best enjoyed chilled, it is so sweet and refreshing! I previously described the fleshy part of this fruit to have a jello and marshmallow hybrid texture embedded in thin milky sweet juice. More than being delicious, it is also good for digestion, bone health, prevention of iron deficiency anemia and rich in antioxidants, among others.
Caimito is exotic in temperate regions but is very common in Southeast Asia, Central America and Caribbean, where it originated. It was actually just introduced here in the Philippines in 1905 according to this article. So maybe this is the reason there is no special festival for this fruit here. There is also no particular place where it is widely grown. It is more of a backyard tree here in the Philippines.
4 – ATIS (Sugar Apple)
I find ATIS to be an elusive fruit. I remember always wanting to eat this fruit because IT IS DELICIOUS! It is the sweetest of fruits, as per my taste buds at least, hehe. However, I rarely get to eat this summer tropical fruit. I vaguely remember always asking my mother to buy ATIS when I was younger but she’d always say that what was sold in the market were no good. I never really understood that then but after reading up on this fruit, I found out that it is a very fragile fruit. It is easily ripened, bruised and squished. As a result, it is difficult to transport and subsequently sold in bulk. Blessed are those who have an Atis tree in their backyards!
I do believe it’s one of the best tasting fruits in the world with it’s white creamy ultra sweet fibrous flesh. Plus, it has tons of health benefits. It even has protein. According to this article, it is good for the heart, for thyroid health, bone health, for preventing asthma and for preparing for pregnancy. Maybe it’s time to plant one, anyone know how?
Lastly, this fruit is believed to be native to Central and South America and was brought to the Philippines by Spaniards.
5 – SAMPALOC (Tamarind)
6 – PAPAYA
Did you know that PAPAYA was called “Fruit of the Angels” when it was first discovered by the west because of its extraordinary sweet taste and creamy texture? I didn’t and after reading so, I realized that indeed PAPAYA is such a delectable fruit and it deserves the moniker. Funny how we need to be told something is great before realizing that it is indeed great and start appreciating it.
I don’t why people are like that but we are like that and it is actually one of the reasons why I feel the need to feature our awesome summer fruits in the Philippines. More than showcasing these fruits for the world to see, I want us Filipinos to take a closer look at what we have, appreciate it and be proud of it.
We use PAPAYA in many ways in this country. We enjoy it ripe and we also eat it unripe in a clear soup dish called Tinola (Chicken Ginger Stew). We are also very fond of using its soap form for whitening. Yes, the Philippines is a country obsessed with having whiter skin. Sadly.
PAPAYA is also good against cancer, macular degeneration, arthritis, constipation and many more. It can also regulate menstruation but should be avoided by pregnant women since it can cause premature contractions. Nonetheless, it’s definitely a wonder food! All its health benefits are outlined here.
This fruit is native to Central America but was introduced by Spaniards here in the Philippines. Starting 2014, Nueva Ecija holds a PAPAYA Festival annually.
7 – DURIAN
You may have heard it before or maybe not…yes, DURIAN is an aphrodisiac 👍🏼 It also has anti-aging elements and makes you feel relaxed and happy. What more can you ask for?
It smells kinda bad though but don’t let that keep you from experiencing the magnificence of this fruit. It isn’t called “King of Fruits” for nothing. Actually, if you can only get past the initial odor it gives off, you’ll get to smell the sweet aroma of this fruit and realize that it doesn’t smell bad after all. It just needs a little getting used to. The taste and of course the benefits will reward you.
The flesh of this fruit is sweet and real creamy. It’s almost like eating a uniquely flavored cream with just a little bite. It has high fat content that’s why. But it’s good fat. It also boasts of many health benefits like being a good source of fiber, vitamin C and vitamin B and others on top of those earlier mentioned as share here and here.
This fruit is said to originate in Borneo but is widespread in Southeast Asia. Here in the Philippines, Davao is known to be the top producer and celebrate Durian Festival every August, which coincides and is almost synonymous with their Kadayawan Festival.
8 – SAGING (BANANA)
How many varieties of BANANA can you name?
On top of my head, I can name about four: Lakatan (my favorite), Latundan, Saba and Senorita as pictured above. These are also those I have tasted so far. But did you know that there are almost 1000 varieties of banana?!? You read that right, A THOUSAND! Oh my! I don’t think I’d be able to eat all those varieties in my lifetime or can I???
How many varieties have you tried?
BANANA is said to be the most popular fruit in the world probably because it is produced all over the world. However, this tall herb (it’s not a tree) originated right here in the Philippines and other neighboring Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia and Indonesia although some say it was first recorded in Papua New Guinea. To know more about the other interesting facts about BANANA, go here.
Apparently, it is also a very powerful fruit. It is very high in tryptophan, which is converted to serotonin (happy hormones) by the body. It helps make us alert, it is a natural antacid and the inside peel of BANANA helps get rid of warts.
And if you’re trying to QUIT SMOKING, eating a banana can help you with the withdrawal symptoms. Check out more of BANANA’s power here.
Now, do we have festival for this awesome fruit? Of course we do! Saging Festival is held every May in Siquijor province.
9 – LANZONES
I bet you didn’t know this. LANZONES got its name from the Tagalog word “lason” or poison because they first thought this fruit was poisonous. I thank the brave soul who first volunteered to eat this fruit and discovered that not only is it not poisonous but it is also very delicious.
This fruit is addictively sweet and juicy. “Once you pop, you can’t stop” can very well be the tagline for this fruit. I remember finishing a kilo of this in one swift seating all by myself! Good thing it’s loaded with good stuff, haha! I know I know…everything in excess is bad but it’s still better than loading up on any junk food, right? =p
LANZONES is a good source of thiamine and riboflavin which are aid metabolism. Thiamine helps break down sugars while Riboflavin facilitate conversion of Carbohydrates to energy. It is also rich in Vitamin A. Moreover, burning the dried peel of this fruit may be done to naturally repel mosquitoes.
A festival in this fruit’s honor is held every October in Camiguin province, which reportedly produces the sweetest LANZONES here in the Philippines. Well, that’s enough motivation for me to go to Camiguin =D.
10 – CHESA (Canistel)
I first encountered CHESA when my husband and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary in Tagaytay last year. On our way home, we made a quick visit to a public market there and discovered this fruit which I have never seen before. I was giddy as a kid! I was so excited to try it out and it was amazing. The texture is like that of Camote (Sweet Potato) or Squash but creamier. Some liken it to the texture of hard boiled egg yolk thus it’s nickname “eggfruit”. It tastes like sweet potato but sweeter.
Just from the orangey color, you’d know that this fruit is rich in beta-carotene and is good for eyesight. It is also good for anemic people because of its rich iron content. The fruit is native to Southern Mexico.
11 – PINYA (Pineapple)
First and foremost, the PINEAPPLE you see here is 100% real. There were a lot of these conjoined PINEAPPLES at the Mahogany Market in Tagaytay, particularly as centerpieces at the Bulalohan (multiple side by side stalls selling Bulalo). As a side note, it is said that you can eat the best bulalo in Tagaytay here but I beg to disagree. Yes, they are providing unlimited coffee, banana and pineapple on the side of their serving of bulalo and I liked it; but that does not make it the best bulalo. I am actually sharing where to eat the best bulalo in Tagaytay on my next week’s post. It’s not what you’re thinking.
Anyways, back to our featured fruit of the day – PINEAPPLE. Did you know that the regular pineapple we see is actually a group of conjoined fruitlets or berries? That makes the pineapple featured here an image of next level clustering. This sweet, sour, juicy and fibrous fruit is undoubtedly rich in Vitamin C and is therefore good for our immune system. It is also good for digestion, bone strength and a lot more.
The fruit is native to South America but has successfully been cultivated here in the Philippines since we have a tropical climate as well. A Pinya Festival is held every May in Calauan, Laguna.
One more thing, it is said that putting this fruit upside down will hasten its ripening process, any of you tried this trick before?
12 – KAMIAS
13 – PASSIONFRUIT
14 – CAMACHILE
15 – SINIGWELAS (Jocote)
16 – MACOPA
17 – LANGKA (Jackfruit)
18 – CALAMANSI
19 – AVOCADO
20 – MANGGA (Mango)
21 – CHICO