Monday, September 23, 2013

Fruit treats

The Philippines is blessed with so many varieties of fruits and there's so many to choose from all year round. I recall a time when the market was not saturated with imported fruits like apples and pears from China, grapes from the US, kiwis from New Zealand. Mostly, you would find local favorites like mangoes, bananas, papaya, pineapple, chico, atis, kaimito, lanzones, suha, watermelon, canteloupe, rambutan, durian, langka and guyabano. Many of these fruits are exported and are well-known around the world, especially our bananas, which you can probably buy in many if not most supermarkets abroad. I was particular with the "Product of the Philippines" tag or sticker on bananas when I was residing in Japan and Singapore. 

When traveling around the country, I make it a point to eat fruits, especially those in season and ones you can easily buy in the place we are staying. Many of these are sold along the roadside and are cheaper than those you can buy at a grocery store in Metro Manila. In fact, if I had the time and baggage allowance, I would often purchase fruits while on trips to the Visayas and Mindanao. I don't know how many boxes of mangoes, pomelos and mangosteen I have purchased during trips to Iloilo and Davao, or the pineapples we have bought when traveling to Tagaytay.

On a recent trip to Mindoro, my first one, we were treated by our hosts with rambutan, lanzones, durian and marang. While I have tasted the latter two, I can say I am not really a fan of these fruits, which people say have an acquired taste. That is, they are not really for everyone. Needless to say, I like rambutan and definitely lanzones so I just had to have some for take home.

Rambutan and lanzones from Mindoro
Durian, marang and papaya
Marang looks like guyabano or large version of atis once the skin is peeled.
It is unfortunate that while many of these fruits are in abundance, they cannot reach Manila cheaply and transport costs alone bring up the prices so they can be quite expensive compared to the provinces of their origin. This poses as a major challenge to producers and government should exert more effort towards more efficient but less expensive transport of fruits as well as vegetables if the objective is to achieve fair prices and food security throughout the country. Hopefully, that can be realized within our lifetimes and soon enough!

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