Fruits of the Batuan tree at the Sarian Farm in Teresa, Rizal. First time for the tree to bear fruit after more than 12 years.
After more than a dozen years in our farm in Teresa, Rizal, one of our two Batuan trees surprised us by bearing a lot of fruits. The other one has not produced any fruit yet. Probably because it is a male.
We acquired the seedlings from our friend Ponchit Ponce Enrile who was once manager of the ECJ Farm in Negros Occidental owned by businessman Danding Cojuangco Jr. (ECJ). In the compound where the main house is located, several Batuan trees (Garcinia binucao) were bearing a lot of fruits when we visited the farm and were able to talk to ECJ and Mrs. Cojuangco.
At the start, Ponchit said he had a hard time sprouting the seeds. Then he thought of dumping a lot of compost all around the trunk covered by the canopy. The the ripe fruits were allowed to drop and rot there. After a couple of years, the seeds would sprout and grow into seedlings. Perhaps, that was how the seedlings we got came about.
We learned that the Kansi which is somewhat like the bulalo but is sourish because of Batuan is a favorite of Ilonggos. During dinner, we were amused observing Mrs. Gretchen Cojuangco really enjoying ripe Batuan fruits which she dipped in bagoong.
The ECJ Farm commercialized the Batuan by processing the fruits into puree which is one way of preserving the fruits and making it available to the public any time of the year. Then we also learned that another company has processed the Batuan into powder which could be used in cooking and maybe in preparing a sourish juice drink.
Back to our two Batuan trees. Easily the two trees we have in our farm are more than 12 years old. We had cut them to about six feet a number of times because they were growing too tall and were shading some of our grafted pomelo seedlings. We were told that the leaves could also be used for cooking sinigang but then nobody in our house cared to do that. We did not kill the trees, however. We just pruned them down to about six feet.
This year (2019), we were really surprised. We just discovered that there were so many fruits from one pendulous branch. Of course, it feels really good to see our Batuan tree bear fruit for the first time. — ZAC B. SARIAN
Batuan puree by ECJ Farm in Pontevedra, Negros Occidental (Photo from the Internet)