Monday, June 2, 2008

Mango Picking

A week after arriving in Manila, my dad’s high school friends scheduled a visit to a mango orchard to pick green mangoes. I’m unsure if anyone outside the Philippines eats green mangoes – they are the raw version of the sweet and soft fruit that everyone knows and loves. I think Filipinos have a deep love for things sour and salty, and this definitely fits the bill. Green mangoes are crispy, sour, and go great with rock salt or bagoong. (Bagoong is a salty shrimp paste consumed all over SE Asia and may be seasoned with different flavors. I like mine salty and spicy, and I am lucky that I can purchase this at my local Asian market in LA.) I am salivating right now just thinking about it.

This is the first time I’ve ever gone mango picking and didn’t know what to expect. I thought it would be easy pickings (as in no ladders or climbing required) but it turns out that mature mango trees can be tall, and sometimes you need to use a sunkit (a long piece of bamboo with a metal hook and net) or climb the tree to get the ones at the top:

That’s my dad up on the mango tree, showing off his mad climbing skills.

My dad’s high school classmate’s family (whew, say that three times fast) took great care of us, preparing such delicious meals that we were thoroughly stuffed by the time we left. My Aunt Dolly may kill me for saying this, but they made the best dinuguan I have ever tasted:

Everyone who came was grateful for the experience. We were given all of the mangoes we picked. My parents and I picket a basketful of mangoes each, and gave most of them away to friends and family who come to visit us. Of course, we made sure to save a few for ourselves and had a ball eating them during our stay.

Click here to see more pictures.

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