New durian varieties or selections with outstanding traits get into the marketplace now and then. Relatively new is the UPLB Gold developed in Los Baños by a retired professor. What came out earlier, about 30 years ago or thereabouts, is called Duyaya, propagated by a long time friend, the late Severino Belviz of Davao City.
We have long forgotten about Duyaya that we tasted in the early ‘90s when we visited Mr. Belviz who was then starting to develop a rented property into a durian farm. All of a sudden, we were reminded about the outstanding traits of Duyaya when our group on a durian-eating tour recently visited Emmanuel and his wife Mary Grace who are now managing the durian farm. One of the varieties they served us was Duyaya which is very fleshy, sweet and creamy. We learned it is also very prolific.
Many years back, Dr. Pablito Pamplona of the University of Southern Mindanao often brought with him fruit enthusiasts from Mindanao during his frequent trips to Thailand where they observed the latest varieties and other developments in the fruit industry in that part of the region.
During those years, live planting materials of outstanding fruit varieties were not freely sold to foreign fruit growers. The best thing that the visitors could do then was to bring home the seeds of fruits that they ate while in Thailand. And that’s what our friend Severino Belviz did. During one trip, he brought home with him about a hundred seeds of the best-tasting durian fruits that they ate. He germinated them and planted them in his farm, observing their characteristics all along, especially when they were already bearing fruit. With proper care like regular fertilization, irrigation and weed control, the trees started fruiting as early as six years from planting.
Out of the many trees that were grown, Duyaya was distinctly the most outstanding. And so Viring considered it as a gift from heaven – Durian Biyaya Mula Sa Itaas. He multiplied the same and registered it with the National Seed Industry Council (NSIC).He entered Duyaya in a Fruit Search competition and handily got the First Prize. He did not apply for a patent because he wanted to share it freely with his fellow durian growers.
Normally, fruit experts usually recommend planting grafted seedlings because those are the plants that will bear the same desirable fruits as the source of grafting materials. Nevertheless, some will only have the option of planting the seed because that is the only one available. And sometimes, something very good would come out like Duyaya. Normally, however, there will be more rejects or plants that don’t come up to expectation.
During our travel abroad, we also bring home seeds of fruits we have liked and grow them in our farm. Some come out with desirable traits like some varieties of guava and cherimoya, We also came to know of a former OFW who worked in Taiwan who germinated the seeds of a pomelo that she liked very much. She was able to grow the seeds and one of the trees bore red-fleshed fruits that are sweet and juicy. Now you see, it sometimes pays to plant seeds instead of grafted seedlings.
Let’s thank the late Severino Belviz for leaving a very important legacy – the Duyaya durian.