Friday, April 3, 2009

Not Quite the Mango We Know

I was at the Lung Center weekend market last Sunday. I was accompanying a balikbayan friend who was looking for some Pinoy kakanin stuff and we agreed to meet up there, to sample some of the other treats sold, apart from the Vigan empanada that I usually enjoy whenever I was there. Since it is nearing the summer months, there was a wide variety of fruits and produce present, being harvest season. One of the unusual fruits available: a small mango-like fruit they call paho.

The paho is like an unripe mango in appearance. They are much smaller than the piko and kalabaws that we know. Piko and Kalabaw mangoes, along with the Indian mango, are varieties of the common edible mango . The parent species name is Mangifera indica, suggesting that the plant hails from India and is not native to the Philippine Islands. The Philippines is however known for M. indica varieties that have adapted to our wet climate, India having drier seasons. I suspect that our mangoes are juicier, because the Philippine trees have acclimatized to our richer soil and abundant supply of water and humidity. On the other hand, paho is a different species in itself, Mangifera altissima. It is native here in the Philippines.

I heard pahos are considered delicacies, more as a vegetable rather than a dessert fruit like its M. indica cousins. The paho is used as an ingredient for local salads (ensaladas mixed with patis, bagoong, onions and tomatoes) and pickle dishes (buro). My friend, Arch Mimie de Jesus, who is no stranger to the paho, remembers the fruit from her childhood days in Teresa, Rizal. She exclaims she could eat the small fruits like peanuts, enjoying them with just a little rock salt.

Pahos are in season usually at this time, along with the common mango. But if the tree is not in fruit it hard to distinguish from the regular M. indica. I chanced upon a tree in Prof. Roberto Coronel's farm in Calauang, Laguna and I could not tell it apart from the regular mango trees we see. I have not seen a paho tree in the wild, probably because of this reason. But I hope the wild trees are still there. They most likely are judging from the abundant produce sold in the weekend market last Sunday. I hope it stays that way in the coming years for us to enjoy the paho in the future.


Elmer I. Nocheseda said...

Paho sells PHp 250 per kg at Marketmarket. Sabi ko, puro tangkay. Sabi ng tindera, PHP 200 na lang.

Ripe mango sells for PHP50 per kg.

metscaper said...

hi. the paho sells for 50 pesos a bunch in lung center. but it was abundant 2 weeks ago and it was lesser last week. most probably by next week it is much less in quantity and in price.