Cebu is surely blessed with beaches and rich marine resources but did you know that it is home to native edible plants as well? Yes, the tropical island is a host to many plants that are endemic to the Philippines.
While Cebu is not capable of producing apples, oranges, and many other imported fruits, it is nonetheless blessed with edible plants growing on its fertile lands. No need to look further, check out your garden or the neighborhood near you, you might find some plants that you can actually eat – without you knowing it all this time.
Native Fruits and Plants Found in Cebu That You Did Not Know You Can Eat
Here’s a quick list of native fruits and plants that you can find in Cebu:
These moderately sized stocky trees grow heart-shaped leaves (usually at around 5 to 10 centimeters in length). Because of its appearance, it is likened to a butterfly, hence the local term alibangbang. The young shoots are edible and are known to be consumed in India, Indonesia, and Thailand. In the Philippines, it is used as flavoring for meat and fish. It is also a great source of calcium and is reported to be rich in iron, as well.
This favorite souring ingredient among the Ilocanos grows abundantly here in the Visayas, particularly in the islands of Panay, Negros, and Cebu. Batwan is usually added in sinigang, kansi, and the ultimate pride of Ilonggos: KBL (kadyos, baboy, and langka).
No, Biasong is not only a barangay found in Talisay, it’s also a fruit found in the province, as well as in the southern part of the Philippines. This citrus plant is less juicy compared to other citruses but it has its own unique aroma and zest. Because of its sour taste, it is utilized in Mindanao as a souring ingredient for their kinilaw.
Commonly found in the Philippine archipelago, these fruits are produced in bunches. These are often utilized in the production of jams, wines, and vinegar. If you frequent Carbon Market, there are some local vendors that bugnay. Young bugnay comes in white color that gradually turns to red, dark purple, and then black when it’s about to ripen. Like sampinit, these fruits also have sweet-tart taste similar to cranberries.
Love binignit? Well, one of the ingredients – landing – of this Holy Week favorite actually comes from this plant. Buli is a tropical plant that grows abundantly in the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Guinea, and Australia. Its fruits can be eaten either raw or boiled and can also be processed into sweets.
Also known as duhat among the Tagalogs, this plum fruit is native to the Philippines, India, Malaysia, Ceylon, and Andaman Islands. The tasty fruit produced by the tree is identified as a rich source of vitamins A and C. It is also reported to be good in preventing medications against diabetes, liver and heart problems, and blood pressure.
Relative to your favorite marang and jackfruit, this fruit is a wild ancestor of the domesticated breadfruit. Kamansi usually comes in oval shape with spiky covering. Young kamansi fruits are often sliced thinly and cooked like vegetables.
Uhuh, Catmon is named after this plant that usually grows in the low to medium altitude forests of the Philippines. Katmon’s fruit is described as sour but can still be eaten raw. Its taste is akin to green apple.
Mostly found in the rural areas of Cebu, this indigenous fruit is native to the Philippines and Indonesia. The seeds of kubili are either roasted or boiled by locals. Its taste is somehow similar to sweetpotatoes.
Yes, Barangay Mabolo is named after the fruit of Kamagong Tree, mabolo. Also known as velvet apple, this fruit is native to the Philippines. It comes in reddish-brown covers with flesh that is delicate, soft, and creamy.
If you’re not into durian, maybe marang would make you reconsider your thoughts about the fruits in the Philippines. The edible pulp of marang is not only fragrant, it is also juicy, soft, and totally delectable.
Of course, Cebu is not Cebu without the mangoes. One specific mango variety that grows in Cebu is pajo. This wild and rarely cultivated mango species usually stays small all through its lifetime. As it is sour when unripe, it is usually used in salad or pickled.
A favorite trailfood of local Cebuano hikers, sampinit is the country’s version of wild raspberry. This wild fruit that grows in the highlands of Cebu has a sweet tart-like taste.
Fondly called as ‘series’, seryales is a plum variety that tastes like a mixture of grape and aratilis. This native cherry plum is best to be rolled between your palms before consumption to enhance its flavors.
Now that the price range of our basic needs is continuously increasing, maybe it is about time to get to know the plants that are actually edible. Not only that these may ease the budget, the aforementioned plants are also rich in vitamins and minerals!
Have you tried eating these native fruits and plants? Do you know other endemic plants that grow abundantly here in Cebu? Share it with us and let’s add them to our growing list of native edible plants. Let’s spread quality information and allow people to learn more about the abundant resources that we have in our beloved province!