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Vegetables In The Philippines

Updated on May 4, 2018
What are the vegetables grown in the Philippines?
What are the vegetables grown in the Philippines? | Source

Vegetables has always been a part of our garden. Both my parents love vegetable gardening and even with our small space, we still found a way to push through the hobby. Growing up, I had seen them tend a garden that not only served as our own backyard market for a fresh home grown veggie to go with whatever recipe is at hand but is also was our source of livelihood. Squash, long beans and eggplants are just few of home grown veggies my mother used to sell in the market with each harvest. And although there's some I didn't like very much, seeing them growing even in containers or pots reminds me of summer and my childhood growing up in the farm.

With prices continually going up with almost everything, it isn't uncommon to see home grown vegetables specially in Philippine provinces. Not only that this is more convenient than a trip to a nearby market and saving few backs but it is healthier as well knowing how you tended your own veggies, free of chemicals. But out of curiosity, what are the vegetables commonly grown in the Philippines? Read on and get to know these veggies.

Chayote

Filipino word: sayote

Sechium edule

Chayote is also known as pear squash and christophene. In the Philippines it is known as sayote, a vine that both the pear-shaped fruit and the young leaves are eaten or consumed. And although the root is edible too and is eaten like yams, we hadn't tried consuming it so I can't say much. The young sprouts are good either steamed with lime or fish sauce or as one of the veggies in Filipino dishes such as tinola, the soured dish sinigang and even goes well with the Ilokano dish denengdeng.

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ChayoteTwin chayote.Chayote shoots ready for cooking. Young leaves, tendrils and stems separated.
Chayote
Chayote | Source
Twin chayote.
Twin chayote. | Source
Chayote shoots ready for cooking. Young leaves, tendrils and stems separated.
Chayote shoots ready for cooking. Young leaves, tendrils and stems separated. | Source

Bitter melon

Filipino word: ampalaya

Momordica charantia

Despite its bitterness, bitter melon was loved not only by mom and my uncle but by most people I know. It is one of the most common vegetable I see on the market and growing into backyards of friends. Both the leaves and fruits are eaten and even though I don't like the bitterness of it, it is one of my alternative medicine when it comes to my asthma attack when I was a kid, until now, bitter melon is still the one that comes to mind either it could be asthma, cough or cold.

Leaves and fruits are both consumed with the fruit usually an ingredient to Filipino dishes such as sauteed mung bean, and the chicken soup dish which is tinola, either the fruit or the leaves can go with this. And I admit, I like bitter melon with scrambled egg. and with that, I mean the fruit.

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Bitter melon with cellophane noodles.Bitter melons we had on containers on the patio.Young bitter melon fruit.Prepared bitter melon fruit to be cook with cellophane noodles.
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Bitter melon with cellophane noodles.
Bitter melon with cellophane noodles. | Source
Bitter melons we had on containers on the patio.
Bitter melons we had on containers on the patio. | Source
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Source
Young bitter melon fruit.
Young bitter melon fruit. | Source
Prepared bitter melon fruit to be cook with cellophane noodles.
Prepared bitter melon fruit to be cook with cellophane noodles. | Source

Green Amaranth

Filipino word: kalunay

Amaranthus viridis

A known and favorite veggie with the Ilocanos is kalunay, also known as red spinach. Why? Most likely because the seedlings are reddish in color which fades and turns to green as the plant matures.

Easy to cook and goes well with along veggies for almost any Filipino dish even with mung bean dish and sauteed sardines. It can just be steamed as well and some includes it on their salad. The young sprouts are preferred by some consuming even the roots as they say the darker the leaves, the more nutrients it has.

I prefer the kalunay or green amaranth than the kulitis or amaranthus spinosus which has spikes. The spikes which goes with the flowers and along with the leaves along the stems could take time when preparing the veggie.

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Young kalunay. Photos 2014.Young kalunay flower. Photo 2012.Kalunay (amaranth) freshly picked from our container garden this year - 2012.Getting to maturity.Young amaranth growing. Photo taken in my uncle's yard years ago.Kalunay seeds.Young kalunay with roots.
Young kalunay. Photos 2014.
Young kalunay. Photos 2014. | Source
Young kalunay flower. Photo 2012.
Young kalunay flower. Photo 2012. | Source
Kalunay (amaranth) freshly picked from our container garden this year - 2012.
Kalunay (amaranth) freshly picked from our container garden this year - 2012. | Source
Getting to maturity.
Getting to maturity. | Source
Young amaranth growing. Photo taken in my uncle's yard years ago.
Young amaranth growing. Photo taken in my uncle's yard years ago. | Source
Kalunay seeds.
Kalunay seeds. | Source
Young kalunay with roots.
Young kalunay with roots. | Source

Hyacinth bean

Filipino word: bataw

Lablab purpureus

Another common garden occupant amongst veggies is the hyacinth bean often seen climbing in trellis and sometimes left tending for itself for whatever plant support is available for it. I had a memory of climbing a scrubby part of our nipa hut as I offered mom to help pick more hyacinth bean for her cooking. It was fun, but one thing that helped made the memory stick in my head was when I spotted worms with the bean plant. That startled me as I didn't expect them there, but also more of because that's my phobia.

Not only the beans are consumed but with the young leaves and the young pods as well after removing the rough edges. Even the flowers are eaten as I was told. With the matured pods, the beans are taken out instead and the pod has to be discarded.

Just be cautious with the dry beans as they are poisonous. They can be consumed after a long period of boiling.

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Photo of hyacinth bean flowers with young beans.A close-up photo of a hyacinth bean flower with young pods.Cooked hyacinth bean pods with Philippine beef stew nilaga.
Photo of hyacinth bean flowers with young beans.
Photo of hyacinth bean flowers with young beans. | Source
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Source
A close-up photo of a hyacinth bean flower with young pods.
A close-up photo of a hyacinth bean flower with young pods. | Source
Cooked hyacinth bean pods with Philippine beef stew nilaga.
Cooked hyacinth bean pods with Philippine beef stew nilaga. | Source

Okra

Filipino word: okra

Abelmoschus esculentus

Okra is another veggie one would easily find in Filipino markets or grown in yards. Known as ladies' fingers or gumbo, okra is a slimy or mucilaginous vegetable and some fries their okras to lessen the sliminess.

Okra has been an ingredient to favorite dishes such as the chicken-soup based dish tinola. Also an ingredient to the Ilocano dish pinakbet.

okra
okra | Source

Lima Beans

Filipino word: patani

Phaseolus lunatus

Patani or lima beans is an annual climbing vine. Green leaves are ovate with pointed tips. The plant bears a white clusters of flowers which turns into green lima bean pods that are oblong in shape. The young leaves, pods and seeds are all edible. The white variety of patani is considered as the best, while it is best to boil the colored variety, specially the dark-colored lima beans variety because of the amount of phaseolunatin found in it that maybe poisonous.

Patani seeds are boiled and a delicious addition in Filipino dishes such as the sinigang. It is also a high source of fiber and contains magnesium and folate.

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Lima beans or patani flowers.Patani flowers (lima beans.)Young patani (lima bean pod.)
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Lima beans or patani flowers.
Lima beans or patani flowers. | Source
Patani flowers (lima beans.)
Patani flowers (lima beans.) | Source
Young patani (lima bean pod.)
Young patani (lima bean pod.) | Source

Winged Bean

Filipino word: sigarilyas

Psophocarpus tetragonolobus

A tropical legume plant, all part of the winged bean is edible including the flowers, but it is the pods that is mostly seen sold in markets.

Also known as goa bean, winged bean is known as sigarilyas in the Philippines. Matured winged beans or sigarilyas are tough to chew on so it is suggested to harvest pods no longer than 6 inches long.

Sigarilyas can be pickled, stir-fried, good with other vegetables for sinigang dish and is also cooked with coconut milk and shredded smoked fish.

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Sigarilyas (winged bean)
Sigarilyas (winged bean)
Sigarilyas (winged bean) | Source
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Jute Mallow

Filipino word: saluyot

Corchorus olitorius

Known in Filipino as saluyot and is one of the favorites when it comes to veggie gardens. It is the leaves that are consumed and is one of the ingredients of the Ilocano dish denengdeng which is a mixture of vegetables seasoned with fermented fish. I must add that just like okra, jute mallow or saluyot is slimy as well.

Jute mallow provides a good source of calcium, iron and protein, even betacarotene.

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Jute leaves with an unopened flower.Jute immature fruits.Jute flower.
Jute leaves with an unopened flower.
Jute leaves with an unopened flower. | Source
Jute immature fruits.
Jute immature fruits. | Source
Jute flower.
Jute flower. | Source

Long beans

Filipino word: sitaw

Vigna unguiculata

I love sauteed long beans. Who wouldn't? Known in Filipino as sitaw, this is one of the favorites when it comes to backyard gardening. Long beans goes with almost any Filipino dish such as the beef or pork stew nilaga along with other veggies. It is a choice as well for the soured dish sinigang that could be either meat or fish. Of course it is enjoyed steamed as well and is often eaten with favorite Filipino dipping sauce called sawsawan - as simple as the Filipino lime calamansi with a dash of salt, soy sauce and calamansi or a mixture of chopped tomatoes and chives with either soy sauce or fish sauce.

Long beans is also known on some other names such as asparagus bean, snake bean and long podded-cowpea.

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Prepared long bean tops for a dish.
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Prepared long bean tops for a dish.
Prepared long bean tops for a dish. | Source

Eggplant

Filipino word: talong

Solanum melongena

And who would exclude the eggplant? This purple vegetable always has a spot in our yard either directly on the ground or in a pot. And yes, we have our share of those breakfast with eggplant omelet called tortang talong which is delightful. A healthy veggie either broiled, fried or even when cooked along with other veggies on any Filipino dish with soup.

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Sponge gourd

Filipino word: patola

Luffa acutanggula

A vegetable that's good with sardines and misua, that's the way I prefer it amongst other way of cooking this ridged luffa, and I also prefer it thinly slice. It also goes well with horseradish along with other vegetable on Ilocano dish dinengdeng . And those rainy days with thundering nights are good spent with noodle soup such as luffa and misua.

Luffa or sponge gourd is at their best when they are young, because when they matured, the luffa hardens and would be too spongy to be consumed. So what's used for matured luffa or gourd? They are then made into sponges that we use on our kitchen and even on the bath.

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Sponge gourd (patola)
Sponge gourd (patola)
Sponge gourd (patola) | Source
Source

Bottle gourd

Filipino word: upo

Lagenaria siceraria

A vine grown in the Philippines for its fruit, a favorite vegetable. It is best to pick the fruit young. Upo, or bottle gourd is cook in Filipino dishes such as tinola instead of using green papaya.It is also sauteed with misua noodles.

The young upo has a smooth, light green skin which turns completely green in color as the upo matures. When fully matured and harvested, it is use as a water dipper or bottle.

Bottle gourd or upo
Bottle gourd or upo | Source

Moringa

Filipino word: malunggay

Moringa oleifera

Moringa, also known as drumstick tree, horseradish tree, and benzoil tree is called malunggay in Tagalog and is widely cultivated in the country. It is the leaves and the young pods of the tree that is consumed as a vegetable.

Moringa's tripinnate leaves can be cooked along with other vegetables in dishes such as tinola, which is a chicken-soup based dish, sinigang, and is also cooked with coconut milk along with shredded smoked fish and squash. My mom also included the leaves and the pods on her favorite Ilocano dish, pinakbet.


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Moringa leaves.Moringa leaves.Moringa tree.Malunggay pods.
Moringa leaves.
Moringa leaves. | Source
Moringa leaves.
Moringa leaves. | Source
Moringa tree.
Moringa tree. | Source
Malunggay pods.
Malunggay pods. | Source

Squash

Filipino word: kalabasa

Cucurbita maxima

Grown as a creeping vine or with trellis, squash, or kalabasa is another common vegetable one would see growing the the country. Parts of kalabasa other than the fruit such as the flowers, and the shoots are eaten. The young leaves are cook with Ilocano dish pakbet (pinakbet), or dinengdeng, can also be sauteed with meat or shredded smoked fish, or with coconut milk (guinataan) along with other vegetables such as long beans, egg plants,and moringa leaves.

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KalabasaYoung squash with its unopened flower.squash, ready to be cooked.Flowers are also edible and cooked in Filipino dishes.Prepared squash leaves.Cooked tops.Cooked squash with long beans, in coconut milk.
Kalabasa
Kalabasa | Source
Young squash with its unopened flower.
Young squash with its unopened flower. | Source
squash, ready to be cooked.
squash, ready to be cooked. | Source
Flowers are also edible and cooked in Filipino dishes.
Flowers are also edible and cooked in Filipino dishes. | Source
Prepared squash leaves.
Prepared squash leaves. | Source
Cooked tops.
Cooked tops. | Source
Cooked squash with long beans, in coconut milk.
Cooked squash with long beans, in coconut milk. | Source

Herbs Grown In The Philippines

Lemongrass

(Cymbopogon citratus)

Filipino word: tanglad

I could just smell the aroma of lemongrass or tanglad as we call it while looking at the photo. One of my dad's favorite on the yard. Most of our uses of lemongrass is for cooking. Using lemongrass on sauteing the Filipino dish chicken tinola will help rid the smell and give that fresh, lemongrass aroma. And for the same reason, we also stuff fish cavity such as milkfish and tilapia with lemongrass before grilling the fish. And yes, before I forget, I always make sure I have lemongrass on my arroz caldo or rice porridge.

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Lemongrass in a container.Lemongrass on arroz caldo.
Lemongrass in a container.
Lemongrass in a container. | Source
Lemongrass on arroz caldo.
Lemongrass on arroz caldo. | Source

Oregano

Filipino word: oregano

Oreganum vulgare

A perennial plant that can be spotted on yards and one of the plants we love having for its medicinal uses.

Oregano, sometimes referred to as wild marjoram has been one of my alternative remedies for cough and cold since a kid. And until now, we still grows oregano on a pot for the same purpose. With about 5 or more leaves, I could steam them to get the extract and drink it to keep either cold and cough at bay.

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Which of these vegetables you are curious to try?

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    • liesl5858 profile image

      Linda Bryen 4 weeks ago from United Kingdom

      I love all of them Philippines vegetables especially the chayote and okra and long beans too. Good hub Precy.

    • precy anza profile image
      Author

      precy anza 5 years ago from USA

      That's great Carol :) You probably are familiar to those then. And I'm thankful those photos turned out great, now I'm glad I have my old phone which I'm using for photos. Thanks Carol ^-^'

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      I recognized several of these veggies....What an interesting hub. I love learning about new foods. These photos are great and you did a super job. Voting UP++

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