Hello! This is Lara Titan from Manila, Philippines. And I am here as your guide to introduce my exotic and tropical country – the Philippines – to all of you. Hope my articles will help you know Filipinos better. smile

Fact 1: The “golden heart” of every Filipinos


For my article this week I am going to talk about our national fruit: Mango. It is not only the national fruit that represents our country but one of the most beloved fruits of the Filipinos as well.  We call Mango as “Mangga. The heart shaped of the mango which has a golden yellow color when ripe represents the “golden heartof every Filipinos, meaning that each of us has kindness instilled in our hearts. 

Fact 2: Sweetest mangoes in the whole world

The most common variety of mango in the Philippines is what we call manggang kalabaw (carabao mango) or better known internationally as “Champagne Mango”. Other popular mango varieties in the Philippines are Pico (Piko), Katchamita (Indian) and Pahutan (Mangifera altissima).

In the Philippines, the best mango comes from the island of Guimaras located in the Western Visayas region. They are not only considered sweetest mangoes in the Philippines but in the whole world as well.

Sure other countries claim that their mangoes are the sweetest in the world such as the curvaceous national fruit of Pakistan: Sindhri also known as Honey Mangoes, the juicy and fibreless Nam Dok Mai of Thailand and the Badami mango from southern India which is best eaten straight from the fridge. The Philippine mangos still stand out internationally. One big proof is that our mangoes especially those coming from Guimaras Island are reportedly served at both the White House and Buckingham Palace.



Carabao Mangos for sale in a public market in the Philippines


Fact 3: Manggahan festival


In Guimaras there is also a mango festival or better known as “Manggahan festival” held annually in honor of the fruit,  with mango cooking competitions and a mango all you can eat competition as well as fun runs, speeches, parties and plenty of singing and dancing by people dressed up as, well, mangoes.



 Manggahan festival in Guimaras


Fact 4: Spanish clothing brand “Mango”

Are you familiar with the Spanish clothing brand “Mango” that is well known internationally? Its founder Isak Andic got the idea of naming his clothing brand “Mango” after tasting mangoes during his trip in the Philippines.




Fact 5: The biggest mango ever found in the world

Another interesting trivia, do you know that the biggest mango ever found in the world can also be found in the Philippines? Mr. and Mrs. Sergio Bodiongan of Iligan City were able to produce the largest mango that the world has ever seen. Each piece of mango produced from their tree weighs an average of 2 kilos – extraordinary. This is not the amazing part yet; what’s astounding is that they were able to harvest the largest and heaviest mango ever. Weighing 3.5 kilos (7.7 lbs), they entered their priceless entry in the “Pinaka” (the most) contest during Sundayag 2009 (A showcase of the Best of Northern Mindanao featuring Agriculture, Trade, & Tourism destinations). This also prompted them to register their mango in the Guinness Book of World Records.


The largest and heaviest mango in the world! 


Fact 6: Eating mangoes the “Filipino way” 
“Hedgehog” method

In other countries, a mango is peeled with a knife akin to the way you’d peel an apple. This is possible because the mango variety they are peeling has very firm, not so juicy flesh. Peeling a ripe Filipino mango this way is almost impossible because the flesh is too soft. Filipinos slice up a ripe Manila mango lengthwise, producing three flat slices, the middle slice containing the large seed. With the outer slices, you either scoop out the flesh with a spoon or make cubes using the “hedgehog” method — make a crisscross grid with a knife, turn the flesh out with your hands and then scrape off the chunks.

Fact 7: Eating mangoes the “Filipino way” 
Green, unripe mangoes with the fish paste

Filipinos also love eating manggang hilaw (green, unripe mangoes) raw either plainly with rock salt or with the fish paste bagoong. If you are a Filipino, I’m sure that you will not disagree if I say that green mangoes and shrimp paste is a good combination (unless you are allergic to shrimps). In fact, it is a perfect marriage. But unfortunately, I am yet to meet a foreigner who would like to eat it as one of his/ her favorite food like for majority of the Filipinos like me!


Eating mangoes the “Filipino way”
 

Unripe green mangos with Bagoong (shrimp paste)


So if ever you are planning to go in the Philippines in the future for a trip, do not forget to try our Philippine mangoes and for sure you won’t regret it.

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© Lara Titan for 7mango. Manila, Philippines

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