Dragon fruit is one of those exotic fruits that you can find in the supermarkets of Metro Manila. This is a spiky and reddish fruit that you can buy at P200 a kg when it is in season.
It doesn't taste unusual. But for somebody who is into juice drinks and fruit slush, it is a favorite addition to the local fruits that one can taste. I am one of those avid fanatics that has a penchant for different fruits.
A few months ago, I got the chance to visit my relatives in Pangasinan to settle important matters. On the way back to Manila, I visited a dragon fruit farm in Tarlac, a nearby province.
I know that I have to go farther north, in Ilocos Norte, to see the bigger plantations. Since I didn't have that much time, I dropped by a much smaller farm in Tarlac.
The farm was about three hectares where dragon fruits were planted at 1.5 meters apart. As it was no longer the fruiting season, I was not able to buy fruits --- only the plant cuttings at P30 each.
I knew that it was double the price than in other farms, but I got them just the same so I can bring them to Manila for replanting.
The caretaker and his wife were amiable and more than willing to show the site to me. I noticed that the plants were made to stand in cemented stakes and roped together. Only the upper portion were made to spread outwards like an umbrella.
To make full use of the land, eggplants were planted in between. The caretakers earn from the eggplants while waiting for the fruits to ripen. I was told that the harvest occurs from July to October.
Noticeably, there were some branches that were burned nearby. When asked, the farmers said that burning was done if plant diseases like yellowing occurs. Burning prevents the disease from spreading to other plants.
I look forward to having this fruit again come July, which is the start of the harvest season. This runs up to October where the price of the fruit can go down from P150 to P100 a kg. depending on the variety.
They say that dragon fruit has health benefits and is good for the body. Regardless, I like mixing it with kiwi fruit, for a cool sweet drink of fruit slush as an early morning drink.
Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
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