The Philippines is a country that is home to many tropical fruits. In the Visayas region, there are more agricultural landscapes that allow for the farming of of these produce. This is a great advantage for Cebu as it makes a wide variety of fruits available at very reasonable prices.
Here are 10 of the fruits you can find in Cebu:
No. 1 – Mango
Golden pods of sweet awesomeness
Mangoes are tropical fruits that can be abundantly found in the Philippines, especially in the Visayas region. These can be found and bought year round, but are in season during the summer. When it’s not mango season, the prices can bump up significantly and the produce won’t be as good for when it’s in season. This fruit can be eaten ripe or raw. The raw variety is popular as an appetizer, best paired with shrimp paste, in Cebu and other parts of the country. It can also be used for cooking sour Filipino dishes such as sour meat stew or “sinigang” and poached fish or “paksiw”. The sweet, ripe variety is commonly eaten as dessert after a hearty meal. In Cebu, there are a lot of products and delicacies that are derived from the ripe variety of the fruit. You will see dried mangoes and mango purees sold as native delicacies that are popular with both locals and tourists alike. Mango shakes are also quite a hit. Cebu produces some of the sweetest mangoes in the country. Ripe mangoes with Cebu’s famous sticky rice and native hot chocolate is a must try!
- Pros:A great fruit for snack and dessert
- Cons:Prices vary in season, and you are not guaranteed of good quality if it’s off-season.
- Price RangeRange:$-$$ Depending on the season
No. 2 – Banana
The fruit that has a heart and is good for the heart
Bananas are also plentiful on the island. There are a number of provinces that have banana plantations in Cebu, which makes it widely available all year round. While there are different varieties of bananas, it is the “lakatan” that is widely consumed and the most preferred kind. Like mangoes, bananas are also treated as a dessert in Cebu and in most parts of the country. The fruit is also used as a key ingredient in many sweet dessert dishes, like the “pinaypay” or “maruya”, which are native Filipino snacks. Other parts of the banana plant are also used for cooking and as raw materials for native Filipino products. The banana leaves can be used for dish preparation as non-edible wraps for native snacks, or as plates for boodle fight meals. The banana blossoms or banana hearts are used for cooking several Filipino dishes like the famous Cebuano pork stew. Aside from its pleasant taste, the banana also packs great nutritional value and health benefits as it is a good source of potassium and a variety of other vitamins and minerals.
- Pros:Plenty of health benefits
- Cons:Does not have a long shelf life
- Price Range$
No. 3 – Papaya
Who says healthy can never be delicious?
Papaya originally came from the west, specifically Mexico and some parts of Latin America, but is now widely grown around the Philippines. You will see common Filipino houses with papaya trees in the backyards. This tropical fruit, although usually consumed ripe, can also be used in its raw form as an ingredient in soup dishes. This fruit contains an enzyme, papain, which is good for digestion and can help alleviate constipation. It also packs a lot of vitamins and minerals, and has antioxidants that can slow down the aging process of cells in the body. The papaya’s lycopene content makes this fruit a heart-healthy food and it is also known to protect the skin from damage. Aside from the many health benefits of papaya, it can also be consumed in many different ways. You can have it alone as a snack. It is also good in your shake, or salad.
- Pros:This fruit is very inexpensive, especially if it is grown in your neighbor’s backyard!
- Cons:Can go overly ripe pretty quickly
- Price Range$
No. 4 – Avocado
A superfood that’s easy on the palate
Avocados are fruits commonly sold in places with tropical climates. In Cebu, these fruits are abundant between May to late August. This pear-shaped fleshy fruit can be eaten alone when ripe or can be incorporated in many different dishes and dips. The Mexican guacamole, for instance, consists primarily of avocados. In Cebu, avocados are popularly taken in fuit shakes or as a dessert that’s mixed with milk and sugar then chilled or frozen. It can be quite tricky to choose avocados that are just perfectly ripe since this fruit gets overly ripe on the inside while still looking “fresh” on the outside. The trick is to gently press on the avocado. If it’s too firm then chances are it’s still raw. If it has too much give, then it could be overly ripe. Choose the ones that are soft upon pressing but still has that level of firmness to it. While it tastes really good, avocado intake should be done in moderation as it has a high fat content and is not advisable for people with high blood cholesterol. Apart from that, avocados have high nutritional value. It has antioxidants that detoxifies the body and an assortment of vitamins.
- Pros:A versatile fruit that has many uses
- Cons:High fat content
- Price Range$
No. 5 – Dragon Fruit
Strange, succulent and sumptuous nutritional source
The dragon fruit is not a widely grown produce in Cebu, or the Philippines for that matter, but you can see them sold in local groceries and fruit stands around the metro. At first blush, the fruit isn’t particularly inviting but don’t let looks deceive you. Yes, it’s a little strange looking and is not really easy on the eyes, nor is it particularly inviting. Although the dragon fruit’s outer appearance can be quite daunting especially if you are not familiar with it, once you get to try the fruit, you’ll bask in its pure goodness in taste and the health benefits that you get from it. There are an unbelievable amount of nutrients packed in such a small fruit. From antioxidants and phytochemicals that helps your body prevent cancer cells, to good carbohydrates that are essentially beneficial for the body’s digestion and metabolism. There are 2 main varieties of the dragon fruit, the pink flesh being the most preferred as it is sweeter than its white counterpart. Because it is not locally grown, and most of the dragon fruit stocks in Cebu have to be imported, it can be quite pricey. But given all the health benefits and pleasant palatable experience, the dragon fruit is worth every penny.
- Pros:Studies have shown that the fruit has many health benefits
- Cons:High fructose content
- Price Range$$$
No. 6 – Durian
Once you get past its aroma, you’ll taste its durian goodness
The durian is locally grown in the southern parts of the Philippines, specifically in Davao but is sold in Cebu fruit stores and supermarkets. The fruit has a distinct taste and odor that makes it quite unpopular for most consumers. Its taste resembles a sweet caramel like custard that’s mixed with cheese, garlic and onion. With its spiky exterior and pungent smell, it’s easy to discourage a first timer to try this fruit. And these characteristics make the fruit considered to be highly exotic and is oftentimes included in food eating challenges. However, once you try it, the fruit actually can grow on your taste buds and can give you quite a pleasurable experience, especially when you chill it first before consuming. Like most fruits, the durian has a lot of health benefits and is actually one of the most nutritious superfoods in the world. It is a good source of energy and has low fat content, one cup of the fruit has around 300 kilocalories. Durian can be taken alone, pureed into a juice, prepared as candies or ice cream. With its antioxidant properties, it is good for cell regeneration, anti-aging, and it can also help fight inflammation. If you don’t mind the smell, you’ll definitely reap the nutritious benefits of the fruit.
- Pros:Good energy source
- Cons:Strong smell that most people find repulsive
- Price Range$$
No. 7 – Guava
Nutritious goodness on the tropical island of Cebu
The guava is another tropical super food that you will find in abundance in Cebu. While it is widely sold in fruit stands and can be found in backyards, the seasonal availability of this fruit can make it quite hard to come by. The fruit is in season from June to around early November. This fleshy fruit can be taken as a snack or can be cooked into guava jams or jellies that are good for sandwich spreads. The health benefits of the guava fruit are plentiful, and includes antioxidant properties due to its lycopene content that can lower the risk of certain cancers. The fruit is also known to lower blood sugar which can be beneficial for people with diabetes. And its high fiber content helps relieve constipation. This fruit should be taken in moderation (like anything else) particularly due to its risk of causing irritation in the digestive organs from its fructose content and the seeds. Apart from that, guavas are awesome super foods that have a lot to offer in terms of taste and nutritional value.
- Pros:Healthy source of vitamins and minerals that can be found right in the backyard
- Cons:Can cause digestive problems, such as diarrhea when taken in large amounts
- Price Range$
No. 8 – Coconut
The coconut is a versatile wonder fruit
The Philippines is lined with heaps of coconut trees. Mainly because these plants thrive in tropical climates, but also due to the fact that coconuts are widely cultivated in the country because the tree is a pretty darn good source of economic income. Almost every part of this plant can be either eaten, drank, or harvested to make raw materials for cloth fiber, lumber, and more! A quarter of the farmlands in the country are devoted to growing these wonderful plants. With focus to the advantages of the fruit, its water is a great thirst quencher for summer and is great when mixed with milk and ice. It also contains a lot of electrolytes that can help people suffering from dehydration. This fruit apart from its many uses, is definitely a refreshing wonder fruit.
- Pros:Deliciously refreshing to take while lounging on the beach
- Cons:Coconut meat is known to have high levels of saturated fat
- Price Range$
No. 9 – Pineapple
Sweet, delicious, and nutritious
Pineapple is widely consumed for its sweet, and tart taste that makes it really good. It can be eaten fresh, squeezed into a juice, or blended to a fruit shake. This fruit is a really great source of vitamins and minerals. In Cebu, this fruit can be seen in many fruit stands and even sold by sidewalk vendors in the metro. The fruit also contains digestive enzymes that can help relieve bloating and digestive distress. With its high vitamin C content, the pineapple is a good immunity booster. These nutritional properties of the fruit makes it a great super food that’s not too expensive and great tasting too.
- Pros:A great source of nutrients
- Cons:The high acidity of the fruit can irritate the mouth
- Price Range$
No. 10 – Soursop
A super food with centuries worth of proof of its benefits
Soursop, aside from it being a superfood, has been used herbally for treatment of certain medical conditions for centuries. As a food, the fruit is very rich in antioxidants, and other vitamins and minerals. In Cebu, this fruit is called “guyabano” and can be found in a lot of fruit stalls and grocery stores. The taste and texture of this fruit is reminiscent of a creamy combination of strawberry and pineapple. The many health benefits of the fruit makes it quite popular. It has a lot of advantages that can help multiple organs and bodily systems such as the liver, urinary tract, immune system, and cardiovascular health. There are scientific studies that has proven that the fruit helps chemotherapy patients as it greatly boosts their immune system and are not weakened by chemotherapy. It is also good as an energy booster, and has natural analgesic effects. The fruit also has high iron content that helps people who suffer from iron deficiency anemia. The soursop is a tasty source of nutrients.
- Pros:A myriad of health benefits packed in one small fruit
- Cons:Eating the fruit in large quantity may cause digestive issues
- Price Range$$