Getting to Know the Indigenous Fruits of Manay: Pan-on and Dalican
Ida Damo | November 19, 2018
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I was invited to a festival and parochial fiesta in Manay, Davao Oriental recently. Part of the activities and events is an agricultural trade fair where products from the 17 barangays of the municipality were on display and for sale.
Barangay Del Pilar’s hut had one fruit that immediately caught my attention because it was the first time that I got to see it. I curiously asked what it was and they said Pan-on. I had difficulty getting the exact name.
Pan-on looks like a bulb or a root crop with different “tough” pod-like chambers housing a fleshy and seedy interior. The flesh was both sweet and sour at the same time and has a distinct aftertaste and resembled that of an open white dragon fruit with the numerous black seeds.
I asked how the plant looked like and they said it resembled a giant ginger with all the shoots/tubers. Upon googling, there indeed was a study of endemic gingers in Davao Oriental along the Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary. So I requested if they could bring a plant for me to see the next time I went by their bahay kubo display. To my delight, they brought in a plant the morning after and I got to bring it home and plant in my garden.
When I posted it on Facebook and Instagram, friends who knew what it was, commented that in Agusan del Sur, it is called Pinoon and it can also be found in Cantilan in Surigao del Sur.
What can be gleaned from the comments is that it is found in the forests and is slowly getting to be hard to find due to large tracts of forests turned into residential, industrial, and commercial areas.
I have been posting on social media trying to attract the attention of those who might have knowledge on the English name or scientific name of pan-on and the benefits that it might give to the body but no takers yet.
While continuing with my tour of the agri-trade fair, another fruit caught my attention--- the Dalican. It resembled the fruit of the nipa palm but a lot smaller and had pods and chambers like the Pan-on. Opening the pods and the taste of the fruit is almost the same as that of the pan-on.
Sadly, there was no plant for me to look at.
Seeing and tasting these fruits made me realize that there still is a lot to discover, explore, eat, and sample from the many islands of the Philippines because even in my region, the Davao Region, there are still surprises up the land’s sleeves.
Perhaps through this post, we are made aware of the endemic fruits that are still living and we could work on preserving them, exploring on how to include in our diet either raw or cooked, and harnessing its nutritional benefits.
Manay’s tagline is WOW Manay… indeed, it is a world of wonder with these fruits.
How to get there:
Major airlines fly daily to Davao City from Manila and Cebu. Manay is 4-5 hours by land from Davao City passing through Mati City onboar private vehicles, buses, and vans.