Inspiring Pinoys

Mindanao Grows its First Successful Apple Tree, Thanks to a College Student

Davao del Sur

Choose Philippines
Choose Philippines | May 12, 2020

Story by Chastine Jen Montaño

How do we keep the doctor away? By eating an apple a day! It contains antioxidants and phytonutrients which may help reduce the risk of developing diseases. However, apples are one of the few fruits that don’t usually grow in tropical countries like the Philippines. Thus, apples available locally are imported from other countries.

[related: Guimaras: The Philippine Paradise of World-Class Mangoes]

An Agriculturist student from Digos City, Davao del Sur, however, has proven that growing apples in the Philippines is possible. While eating an apple back in in 2014, Benzone Sepe decided to plant three seeds in their backyard in Barangay Kapatagan, Digos. Unfortunately, after a few months, the two died and the only surviving tree was still not bearing fruits. Undeterred, Benzone did a lot of research about apple growing. “I pruned the plant but it did not end there. I found out a proper way on the internet saying that the branch should be bent for sunlight exposure,” he shared.

His diligent efforts paid off. In January 2018, he noticed flowers form the apple tree, signifying its flowering stage. The following month, Benzone found four pinkish, fist-sized apples hanging from the tree's branches. “I cannot see any difference between them and commercial apples because the juiciness and crunchiness are the same,” he said.

According to agriculturist Dr. Alexander Campaner, the genetic characteristic of an apple requires a temperature of 7 to 12 degrees Celsius for the plant to grow. “Based on the studies that I conducted in Benguet, they planted apple trees, but the result is not as good as ours,” he said.

It took four long years for Benzone to finally savor the fruits of his hard works and sacrifices. It really pays to wait!

ALSO READ: Why Davao's Durian is the King of Fruits in the Philippines

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