Philippine Scene # 12 - The Cultivation of Pitaya or Dragon Fruit
Street vendors of Baclaran, Parañaque, Manila Philippines are clamoring to sell one of the most popular fruits to date - Pitaya or Dragon Fruit.
I asked permission to photograph the tray of those dragon fruits. I was greatly attracted by its form or shape, its pinkish to reddish color. Many passersby who are equally intrigued by the fruit began clustering at the vendors.
I talked to three mothers who are vending the said awesome fruit. But the first mom explained and revealed to me her source.
"Mother (Nanay) , what kind of fruit is this?" I asked the first woman.
"It's called Dragon Fruit," replied the vendor.
"What's this for?"
"It can cure cancer! You can buy it for P120.00 pesos per kilogram or two pieces.Are you buying?"
"No, I don't have the budget to buy it. Where do you get it?"
"Are you familiar with Giboy? Or Gilbert Remulla, now a congressman in Cavite? We got it from his 30-hectare farm!"
"Wow! Is that so? So, only this week I've seen you selling this fruit. Can I sample taste one of these?"
"No! (smiling) You better buy it and eat it at home. You just peel the fruit, then slice it like what you do to kiwi fruits."
"Ow, it's like the kiwi fruit of New Zealand. And the taste is the same?"
"A little sour, yes. But there are varieties, like white and the other red in the farm of Congressman Remulla. You should visit him if you have time. I understand that you write online."
"Yes. I do write. I already told you the other time I bought some slices of ripe jack fruit here.
I thanked the woman for giving me a primer regarding Dragon Fruit.
That's when I intended blowing up the information I viewed on television regarding how it became a source of living in Northern Luzon where a lady-owner of the farm has a special child (with cerebral palsy) that is cured by the fruit. Her crop also became her source of income that made her a successful businesswoman in the area.
The Philippine government should take notice of this development. The Department of Agriculture should share this awesome venture to ordinary farmers in order to have an additional income while waiting for the harvest period of the rice they planted at the farm.
(With personal opinion and writings from travel_man1971 aka Ireno A. Alcala)
Getting Familiar with Dragon Fruit
Hylocereus or Dragon Fruits has adapted to live in dry tropical climates with a moderate amount of rain. The dragon fruit sets on the cactus-like trees 30–50 days after flowering and can sometimes have 5-6 cycles of harvests per year. There are some farms in Vietnam that produce 30 tons of fruit per hectare every year.
Here in the Philippines, a similar climate like that of Vietnam also opened an opportunity to interested farmers and hacienderos (those wealthy families who own vast agricultural lands) to venture in this 'miracle fruit' or the cancer-eradicating Dragon Fruit or Pitaya.
Red-skinned pitayas are a good source of Vitamin C. It is also richer in phosphorus and potassium than the yellow ones or white ones. It also has phytoalbumin antioxidants which prevents free radicals in our bodies.
For those who have problem in blood pressure and cholesterol level, this fruit can lower it.
In other Asian countries, like Taiwan, it is also a good substitute for rice especially for diabetic patients.
Innovation in creating menus or food dishes out of pitayas are overwhelming.
You can have:
- sauteed pitaya, mixed with other tropical vegetables, like pechay and string beans
- pitaya in vinegar, like cucumber
- pitaya fruit mix with other tropical fruits, for dessert
- pitaya wine or other beverages
You don't eat the peelings, because it can be contaminated with pesticides.
Note: The video linked on this hub is owned by Mr. Mar Silan of Indang, Cavite, Philippines. He's also an owner of Dragon Fruit plantation in the said province.
Silan's dragon fruit farm c/o MarSilan
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