There are all kinds of fruit trees in my neighborhood. There are more Indian Mango trees than anything else. We even have a mango tree in our back yard.
There’s one thing about trees (or any plants) in the Philippines. Filipinos don’t seem to have much use for those that don’t seem to serve a purpose. If they don’t produce fruit and you can’t eat the leaves or roots, then never mind. Perhaps ornamental plants are grown in some areas, but not around here.
When the fruit is blooming, whatever fruit it is, my relatives will eat it every day. I don’t like most fruits enough to eat them every day. That includes oranges, apples and bananas. I’d rather get my nutrients from vegetables.
I’ll try to name them all in English and Tagalog. I’m sure there are some here I’ve never heard of. Fruit trees no one has ever mentioned around me.
There are multiple varieties of bananas, in various colors. Some have to be cooked before they can be eaten.
The cucumber tree doesn’t grow cucumbers, obviously, and the drumstick tree doesn’t grow drumsticks. They’re just names based on how the fruits look.
The kalamsi fruit isn’t a lime even if it translates as such. I’ve known limes since the first time I put a lime in a coconut. It’s closer to an orange or a lemon. In fact, Filipinos tend to call it a lemon if they’re speaking English.
Some fruit names are the same in English and Tagalog. Don’t ask me about their names in other Filipino languages because that’s too much to remember (if I even know).
We have mango, star apple, papaya, kalamansi and santol trees in my back yard, one of each. There was another santol tree we had to cut down when we built our house.
The branches of one or two mango trees hang over from a neighbor’s yard. We don’t complain because that means more mangoes for us when they’re blooming. We have to have some of the branches cut every year, though, because they end up lying across the roofing at the back of the house.
Certain types of ants and certain types of termites travel from tree to tree. If we don’t cut branches, those pests will eventually end up inside my house.
There are other kinds of fruit trees we’d like to grow, but some won’t last through the dry season without constant watering. Like navel orange trees. And we don’t even know if some kinds will even grow here.
The most important tree, according to my relatives, is the Indian Mango tree. They eat the mangoes before they’re ripe. They dip slices in shrimp paste (bagoong alamang) and they add it to certain dishes. I can eat mango slices but I can’t eat bagoong anything.
By: RT Cunningham
July 14, 2017
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