Fruit Myths: where do they come from?

[size=150]The Myth about the Lanzones Fruit[/size]

Lanzones are local berry-like fruits with light brown skin. The fruit itself is white inside. When ripe enough they have a subtle sweetness that tantalizes the taste buds and make them want to sample for more. But according to a local myth, it used to be a harmful fruit.

Before, according to the myth, the lanzones fruit was poisonous. The fruit looked edible enough, and in fact many were tempted to sample it. The myth says, the people wondered: How could anything that looked so good be so dangerous? Some people, despite the death toll, could not fight off the temptation once they see the fruits abundantly display themselves in clusters hanging invitingly on the lanzones tree. Several deaths in the village had been linked to eating its fruits, the myth adds.

One day, the myth says, a hungry old woman came to the village begging for food. The kind villagers gladly gave the old woman food and water and clothes to wear. They even offered her free lodging as long as she saw the need to stay with them. According to the myth, the woman was awed by the kindness of the villagers. One day, while staying with the people, she learned about the lanzones fruits that could not be eaten because they were poisonous. She asked the people where the tree was. They gladly obliged. Then, according to the myth, upon seeing the lanzones tree and its fruits, the old woman smiled knowingly. She announced to the people that the fruit was edible, to everyone’s wary delight.

She taught the villagers the proper way to pick, peel and eat the fruits of the lanzones tree. According to the myth, the old woman said that peeling the fruit by pinching it lets out a small amount of the white sticky sap from the fruit, and that served as an antidote to the poison of the fruit. Then, the myth says, she did it with a fruit and ate it. She did the same with another fruit, and another, and another. The myth says the villagers also discovered for themselves that the fruits were very edible and delicious. Since then, the villagers started planting more lanzones trees and it became a very lucrative source of income for everyone, the myth adds.

The Philippine myth on the lanzones tree and fruit reminds us that there is a proper procedure for doing things, even things untried before, to end up with a safe outcome.

[size=150]The Myth of the Guava Fruit[/size]

The guava fruit was said to be a poisonous fruit before, according to a Philippine myth on it. So how did it end up being so nutritious and delicious? There’s only one way to find out—read.

According to this myth, the guava fruit used to be a forbidden fruit. A long time ago, in a fruit orchard somewhere in the countryside, there lived a boy from the family of the Abas, the family who owned the fruit orchard. The boy Abas was very friendly and kind, says this myth, and soon the people in the place started calling him “Bay” (pronounced “buy”), the term used in the locality for super friendly and kind people. So as time went by, the myth says, the boy was known as Bay Abas.

Bay Abas was especially kind to the needy. So the myth says that every needy folk who came by to ask for fruit from their orchard he gave to liberally. Various fruit-bearing trees were in their orchard, and each one with ripe fruits he picked from and gave to anyone who asked. As he did, the myth purports that the orchard noticeably bore more fruits than any orchard in the locality. And more new trees also mysteriously appeared in their orchard, the myth adds.

But the myth says there was one tree in their orchard that bore inedible fruits. It was a tree of hard wood with branches spreading wide and open instead if straight up. Other fruit trees, the myth notes, grew straight up first and bore fruits high up there where they’re fruits were hard to pick. But this tree bore fruits even at low levels. But nobody dared, says this myth.

One day an old woman came by the orchard and asked Bay Abas some fruits to eat. Unfortunately, says the myth, not a tree had fruit that time, save the forbidden tree. Nonchalantly, he whispered a wish, or something like a prayer and, according to this myth, he thought of sampling the fruit to find out once and for all. HIs wish, says the myth, reached the ears of the forest gods. The fruit quickly turned edible just before he took his first bite. And so from that time on, the myth says the fruit became edible and named “Bayabas.”

This Philippine myth about the guava or “bayabas” tree compares the multi-nutritious guava fruit with the multi-faceted kindness of a boy named Bay Abas.

[size=150]The Myth about the Macopa Fruit[/size]

Macopa is a crunchy fruit about the size of a tomato. When unripe, it is pink in color. When ripe it is shiny red. Most notable is its bell-shape figure that inspired this myth on how this fruit came to be.

This myth is an action thriller that tells of how marauders from another place tried to rob a priceless bell from a coastal town. The bell, aside from being of pure gold, was said to be one of a kind and had been treasured by the town. The myth recounts how the heroic people of the town were able to keep the bell from the hands of the bandits.

The coastal town had an old church. According to the myth the bell in the tower was shaped like a giant cup. Initially the bell was fondly called the “copa” or cup. As time went by, the myth says the bell’s name evolved into “macopa,” which really meant “shaped more like a cup.” The bell tolled differently than most bells, the myth further says. Though alone, it often seemed to play some kind of a merry tune.

One day, says this myth, some bandits, going by boat loads and armed to the teeth, proceeded to the coastal town. Soon, the myth says, the town people had a quick meeting and their leaders decided on burying the bell. The people hurriedly took the bell from the tower and buried it at the back of the church.

So the bandits arrived and, the myth says, started to attack the helpless town. Being a peaceful and religious town, they did not have need for any police force. So the bandits quickly overcome them without a fight. Then they looked around but found no gold bell. This angered them.

Nobody from the town wanted to talk about where the bell was, so the bandits killed all the people. Finding nothing, the bandits left frustrated. When they have left the people of the neighboring town came and buried them. At the back of the church, they found a small plant growing on the spot where the golden bell was buried. It grew into a big tree and bore bell-shaped fruits which the people from the next town called macopa because it resembled the gold bell.

The myth on how the macopa came to be shows how religion has been ingrained in the people’s lives, and how they are ready to die for it.

[size=150]The Myth of the Banana Plant[/size]

The banana fruit is one of the favorite tropical fruits in the Philippines. Its luscious meat is healthy and enjoyable to munch. How did the plant originate according to myths?

According to a myth, there was a couple named Martha and Pedro. Their daughter was Selya. The myth says Selya was so beautiful people in their place admired her so much. She was also kind hearted and good mannered. The myth adds that obedience and thoughtfulness was always seen in the way she treated her parents.

The couple was over protective with Selya. They feared that someday, somebody would take her away from them. The myth says, they always guarded the young woman, and tried to discourage any guy who even came near her. But unknown to the couple, Selya met a young, tall man named Aging. According to the myth, being a farmer like Selya’s father, the arms of the man were roughened by the sun from tilling the rice fields. But the myth says Selya’s parents were against Aging.

Although Selya did not mean to disobey, the myth says, the girl decided to make good friends with Aging. Every afternoon before sunset, Aging would secretly meet Selya by the well near the house. According to the myth, their meeting continued for months unseen by anyone .They enjoyed each other’s company and soon fell for each other.

The myth further says, that Selya’s mother left the house one afternoon to go to town. They were so engrossed with each other that they didn’t realize Selya’s father would be coming home soon. They talked of a lot of things. The myth says the father, while still some distance away from home, saw Aging and Selya leaning against the window. The myth continues that the father burst with wrath and ran to the house to swing a sharp bolo at the young man. Aging was hit on the arm. Consequently, his arm was cut off and fell to the ground.

The myth adds, Aging was shocked and run away. Selya went out and carefully picked up Aging’s lifeless arm and buried it in the backyard. The next morning Selya noticed a strange plant that seemed showing itself off. Its trunk was tall, it had green leaves, and its yellow fruits were shaped like clusters of fingers. Since then, the plant has been called “Saging” or banana.

This Philippine myth on the banana plant shows us that true love only grows further, the more it is opposed.

[size=150]A Myth on the Coconut Tree[/size]

Considered by some as the second national tree, the coconut tree is as versatile and useful as the Narra tree. From roots to leaves, the coconut is valuable. But how did it come into being? The coconut tree has lots of myths about it, and here is one.

According to this myth, once there was a kingdom in Mindanao known as Bangonansa Pulangui (“kingdom by the river”), which was ruled by a just and kind sultan. The myth says the kingdom was known for Putri Timbang-Namat, the sultan’s only daughter. She was a most beautiful and charming woman. Her name meant “lady grace.”

Putri’s admirers came from the seven seas, but she did not care for any of them. According to the myth, the kind sultan was touched by their persistence. One day, he tried to ask his daughter to choose from among them the man she would marry, the myth adds.

”I need a son to succeed me when I die,” the father said, “and I wish that before I die, I would see you married,” he added. The myth says the king thought of a contest for the princess’ hand. A tournament was held to determine who among the suitors was worthy of the princess’ love, the myth says.

In the palace garden, meanwhile, the myth says the princess met a young and handsome gardener, Wata-Mama. The myth says Wata-Mama decided to reveal his past to her. According to the myth he was of royal descent but had been lost when he was three. His father was killed by his greedy uncle. The myth says that the princess said, “We love each other, that’s all that matters. ”

The myth says a general was very jealous of Wata. So, that night, in the dark corner of the palace, he and his aides waited for the young lovers. The myth says the general suddenly emerged, struck Wata-Mama and beheaded him. The princess, fearless, picked up Wata’s head.

After Wata’s head was buried, the myth says, early one morning, while the princess was watching the spot, she saw a tiny plant growing from the ground. Suddenly, the myth says, it grew into a tree and reached the height of the window where the princess was sitting at. It produced a round fruit the size of a man’s head.

Love’s passion and jealousy’s wretchedness can suddenly change lives disastrously. This myth on the coconut teaches that love is best kept going on its natural course.

[size=150]The Myth about the Sugarcane[/size]

We all know sugarcane is sweet and from it comes our white or brown sugar. And according to a myth on it, sugarcane can also save suicidal people.

The myth starts with the time when there lived an accomplished but sad “datu” or chieftain. He had achieved a lot for his tribe at a young age but he seemed to be bored by it all. He didn’t find meaning in all his success. So, says the myth, he wondered what it was like to be in heaven. Perhaps, he thought, his satisfaction would be realized when he reached heaven. When? Why not right now? He told himself. So he planned to end his life then and there, says the myth.

One day, the myth reports, he prayed to Bathala (God), saying, “I am getting more bored and fed up with life everyday. As to my accomplishments here on Earth, I find them increasingly meaningless. Please allow me to ascend to heaven earlier!” Before this, he had thought of saying “allow me to kill myself” but later re-worded it to something more tolerable to God, the myth adds. He waited for a reply. Suddenly a voice said, “But your time on earth is not yet over.”

The datu felt a little disappointed and left the palace, says the myth. Then he went alone for walk around the forest. Suddenly an old man came up to him. Knowing the grievance in his heart, the old man, according to the myth, tried to cheer him up by saying,”It might surprise you to know, my Lord, that we can already find heaven on earth!” With that remark, the myth says he led the datu to a place where there grew a kind of plant that has a long, slim, and tall body, and long leaves that looked very much like a bamboo. It looked like a long purple tube.

The myth further adds that the old man went on to say,”This is a heavenly plant. Its incredibly sweet stem will take you to heaven.” The datu started chewing its stem and found it indeed very sweet. According to the myth he really felt like heaven. He told himself, this sweet tube-plant was even sweeter than all his achievements combined. He examined the tube-plant and decided to call it a tube, or “tubo” in the vernacular.

The Philippine myth on the sugarcane teaches us that things that really give meaning in life are simple things.

[size=150]The Myth about the Cashew Nut[/size]

Cashew nuts, or “kasuy” in Filipino, are edible seeds found outside its fruit. A myth on it alleges that once upon a time cashew nuts used to be inside a hallow portion inside the fruit. How did it end up being outside?

In the beginning, according to this myth, the seeds of cashew nuts were inside the hollow center of its fruit. Similar to the darkness of a womb, the seeds stayed inside the fruit until somebody got them out to be eaten. Hence, says the myth, the seeds complained later of not being able to enjoy the outside world long enough before being eaten by humans.

The myth says the seeds would hear the sounds of the outside world and just wonder about the excitement of what may be going on around them. The myth goes on to say that the seeds listened to birds chirping, the river flowing, the wind swaying tree branches and leaves, and the hundreds of night insects singing their various nocturnal tunes to the moon. According to the myth, all the cashew seeds could do was imagine what was going on.

So one day, the myth says, the cashew nuts could not bear the deprivation any longer. They wished that things for them would be reversed a bit so that they could be outside their fruit instead of inside. A fairy of the forest heard their wish and granted it. Soon, the myth says, they found themselves outside their fruit. They were jubilant because they could now enjoy the surroundings. They saw what birds looked like, as well as the river, and the insects. And they saw that the wind could not be seen, but only felt. Another thing they saw, according to the myth, was that other fruit seeds were not found outside but inside fruit. And they soon learned why.

At noon, the myth says, they could not bear the burning heat of the sun. At night, they were unsafe against fruit bats. In rainy days, they were unshielded from the rain. The myth says, they learned the painful way that all creation had a purpose for being created the way it was created. Altering creation against its design proved harmful. So, according to the myth, cashew nuts sought to be heard again as they wished to return inside their fruit, but to no avail.

The Philippine myth on cashew nuts teaches generations that creation was particularly designed for a purpose—which should never be defied.

[size=150]The Myth on the Camachile Tree[/size]

Camachile trees sweep across the Northern landscape, especially along the Tarlac highway. They are known for their edible seeds protected inside a knuckled skin protection similar to the tamarind fruit. Seldom do people climb the thorny body of the tree, so people merely pick up the camachile seeds that fall on the ground. How did the camachile tree begin to have thorny trunks and branches? This myth gives us an idea.

A long time ago, the myth says that the Camachile tree had no thorns when it first appeared on the Earth. It was popular for its beautiful and colorful flowers that were the envy of other trees in the forest. It literally dazzled passersby of its rich array of multi-colored flowers that almost covered the entire tree—it was like a blooming flower with blooming flowers. According to the myth, the tree also radiated with the dominance of the red flowers. Thus, it was sometimes referred to as a bed of red and red orange flowers.

The myth further says that because of its beautiful flowers, children and old alike would climb it and pick the flowers. But gradually, without being aware of it, the myth says that the people were slowly destroying the tree by the indiscriminate climbing and picking. Lots of times, branches were broken off and a lot of young leaves and flowers were also destroyed just to get fully blooming flowers at the top of the tree, the myth adds.

Then, fed up by the people’s carelessness, the myth says the camachile tree finally voiced out its helpless situation to the heavens. It wished to have something on its trunks and branches to protect itself from the careless and thoughtless people who seemed hellbent on destroying the whole tree. The myth adds, the flowers were only thrown away later, anyway.

The god of the forest took pity and thought of something he could give the tree for protection. The camachile tree, according to the myth, was given thorns which grew all over its body, twigs and branches. The camachile tree also lost its flowering ability to make sure no one will ever dare climb it again. But, still being kind to its admirers, the myth says that the camachile opted to have edible seeds, in place of its flowers, to give to the people.

This Philippine myth on the camachile tree serves as a warning that nature should never be abused.

[size=150]The Myth about Water in Coconuts[/size]

Health buffs say among the purest water source today is the water inside a coconut. Through Science we know that plants produce fruits and juices though the action of sunlight and carbon dioxide in a process called photosynthesis. But people long ago had another version of why coconuts produced sweet pure water inside its shell. We find this in one of the popular folk myths on how water is “trapped” inside a coconut shell.

Although the Philippines is an archipelago surrounded by bodies of water there is scarcity of water in some parts of it. The same was said to be true hundreds of years ago. Especially when the dry spell is over the land during summer some parts ran out of water source. In one such season Noog, a slim native boy from southern Luzon, was said to have scoured the place for precious clean water. The popular folk myth said he went to a high place in search of it.

Then he chanced upon an underground water source, or “bukal” in the vernacular, from among the deep caves found on the top of a mountain. He went down the descending cavern and found a cool clean underground spring. He drank some and kept some in a container made of bamboo. According to the popular folk myth, he left the place and vowed to keep the place a secret so he and his family alone could benefit from it. He descended the mountain in high hopes but then was blocked by several folks from town. They demanded water.

Noog refused to give them any and determined to withhold the information on the underground water source. The folks were enraged by Noog’s obstinate stand and they decided to kill and bury him on a remote place on the plain. As a last resort to save his life, Noog offered to tell them where the “bukal” was found, to no avail. Then, the popular folk myth says, the folks saw a strange tree growing on the plains one day. It grew to be a tall and slender tree with large nuts the size of a human head.

People then started to call the tree and its nuts Noog’s water from the “bukal” and as time went it shortened to simply Noog or “bukal.” Much later on, the popular folk myth referred to them as “Niyog” or “Buko,” as coconut is called today. The lesson in this popular folk myth is that we should always willingly share our blessings.

Philippine Myth on Mango Fruits

Philippine succulent mangoes are among the well patronized products in the international market since early times. One of the Philippine myths on the mango fruit goes this way.

Long time ago, so this Philippine myth goes, in a wooden villa deep in the forest was a beautiful lady. An only daughter of an old, old couple, they wanted her married as soon as possible. They feared dying without seeing her married. This Philippine myth says Pangga was her name, meaning “object of love” in the vernacular. Aside from her arresting natural pulchritude, she was very industrious, kind, and smart with rustic wisdom. Moreover, Pangga knew a lot of trade skills that had earned her quite a bit of money. Thus, her parents wanted nothing but the best man for her.

But Pangga fell for a local poet, a professional dreamer. He was known in the village as a desperate writer whose works of poetry made meager money. This Philippine myth continues that Manong, the dreamer, lived in the fields and slept in mangers. He was the town’s vagrant. But one thing about him; he had a knack for speaking sweet nothings, a full-pledged sweet talker who could promise the sun, moon and stars to the one his eyes beheld. Girls in town went crazy for him (though they never bought his poems) but his eyes were only for Pangga.

His sweet nothings never fooled old folks, though. His own parents, when still alive, often remarked “Please cut out the sweet pleasantries!” when he was at his verbal talent again. In the vernacular the remark went “Manong magtigil ka nga!” So, as this Philippine myth goes, they gave him the nickname Manong.

Pangga’s parents never bought Manong’s promises of bringing down the sun and moon to shine on their forest-dimmed bungalow and other sweet nothings. “You’re always saying that sun-moon conversation of yours. That’s all you know!” Pangga’s parents mocked him. But Manong and Pangga sought to stubbornly keep their love vows till their dying day. Then, the Philippine myth says, one day they disappeared in the woods.

The Philippine myth ends with a discovery of a new kind of tree. Its fruit was a bit crescent-shaped like the moon, yellow like the sun, and sweet like Manong’s tongue. It was rich in nutrition as Pangga’s multi-faceted genius. In time it was called “Manga,” a mix of their names, and today’s vernacular for mango.

The Philippine myth on mango fruits is a local version of Romeo and Juliet but which went sweeter as to create a sweet offspring—the mango fruit.

[size=150]Philippine Myth on the Origin of the Pineapple[/size]

An unpeeled pineapple has lots of medium-size dots that resemble a human eye. How did it get such skin covering? A Philippine myth tells us why.

Pina, a rustic girl, lived with her mom as tenants in a fruit plantation. Her mom was the hard-working type—working almost all the time, and Pina was also hard-working—but not with household chores. She loved playing all the time.

When her mom told her to do a household chore, she always procrastinated—she started the work but later laid it aside for tomorrow—a tomorrow which often never came. The myth adds that she often stopped in the middle of her household chore to play. She usually reasoned she couldn’t find what it was her mom wanted her to do. But actually, the truth was she didn’t pay attention to any of her mom’s instructions in favor of playing. She felt confident in the thought of surely finishing a task later or tomorrow. And this to the chagrin of her mom.

The myth goes on to say that the mother, used to being too vocal with her careless ill wishes or curses on people who didn’t delight her, was liberal on such habit on her only daughter. She reasoned that vehement scolding did some hidden wonders to juvenile stubbornness.

But one day, the myth says, Pina’s procrastinations went too far for her mom to tolerate them anymore. Her mother had told her to get her wooden shoes from the under their hut. She went down their hut and looked under it. But on seeing her old rug doll, her imagination started working. She was soon playing with it. Her usual dialogue, saying “I can’t see it,” when actually she wasn’t searching but playing, did it this time. Her mom shouted invectives plus a curse that, “May you grow dozens of eyes” so Maria would stop ever mentioning her favorite dialogue. Then suddenly, Maria just disappeared.

A search party looked all over the plantation for Maria, to no avail. And then Maria’s mom saw a curious new plant species at their backyard. It was covered with eyes. She remembered her latest curse on Maria and knew the plant was her. From then on, she called the plant, a pineapple, or “Pinya” in Filipino.

The myth on the origin of pineapples aims at fostering obedience to parents as a priority, and that parents ought to watch how they deal with their kids.

[size=150]Philippine Myth: The Origin of Turnips[/size]

Philippine native turnips are white crunchy, and watery tubers that are planted after the rainy season and harvested usually in summer. They are among the other watery produce of the land that seem too welcome and supply provisions for a hot, humid Philippine summer time. So how did the term turnip in Filipino start out in the country? This Philippine myth tells us how.

A long time ago, according to this myth, when the islands were newly conquered by Spain, a top-ranking Spanish official in a remote place in the country wanted to know more about the locality. Excited about what the province, under his jurisdiction, was all about he assigned five soldiers with the task of exploring the vast land. The myth says he told them to go up every mountain and hill and go down every ravine and valley. Cross every the rivers and search every nook and cranny of the land. Then the soldiers were to go back and report to him what the land can offer them.

The 5 soldiers went far and wide. The myth says they crossed rivers and climb every high mountain and low hill. Finally, exasperated from the long travel, they sat down to rest. They found themselves amid some kind of a field. A curious-looking shrub was all over it. Not far away were local farmers uprooting the strange shrub. The myth says the soldiers approached the natives and asked for water. Naturally, the natives didn’t understand Spanish. The myth says they just shrugged their shoulders and looked at each other.

The soldiers noted that the shrubs and asked the natives what they were. Not understanding a word, they just handed them a tuber. According to the myth, the soldiers peeled and sliced it in pieces and tasted it. It was crunchy and watery, cool, and a bit sweet. Just what they needed to quench thirst and recharge. So they asked for five more, so each of them could have a whole piece. They told the natives “Cinco mas” and held out their hands. The natives thought the 5 soldiers were telling them the name of the tuber. So they nodded their heads and returned, “Ah, singkamas.”

The myth says that since then, the tuber has been called “Singkamas” or turnip in English.

The Philippine myth on the origin of the Filipino term for a “turnip” may sound funny, but lots of misunderstandings in real life end up just like it.