LITO CUBILLEJO: He made money from Latundan!

Aiza Rellon showing a very beautiful hand of Latundan banana at the Maranding Market in Lanao del Norte. Photo by Zac B. Sarian.
To this day, as it has been in years past, the Latundan is a favorite of consumers because of its very desirable taste.

LITO CUBILLEJO is one college graduate who did not look for employment after graduation. After finishing his Commerce course, he went back to his hometown in Alaminos, Laguna to be a full-time farmer. He took over management of parcels of land owned by his parents that were largely planted to ageing but still productive coconut trees.

FAVORITE MONEY-MAKER – We visited his farm in 1984. When we asked him what was his good money-maker, he said without batting an eyelash that it is Latundan banana. It is one of several crops which he intercropped with 5 hectares of old coconut trees. 

P12,000 EVERY 10 DAYS – How much was he making from Latundan? Every 10 days he harvested Latundan worth P12,000. That was already a fortune in those days. The same could be worth P30,000  or more in today’s high prices.

WHY LATUNDAN? – He loved Latundan particularly for two good reasons. First, it is one variety with a nice flavor that is well loved by consumers. There is a big ready market. Second, it is an early bearer. Only 11 months after planting, the banana plant will already be bearing fruit.  

MULTINATIONALS DON’T CARE – The multinational companies which plant bananas by the thousands of hectares don’t care about Latundan, also for their own good reasons. For one, it has a very short shelf life. However, for Cubillejo, that short shelf life was all right  with him. After all, he did not have any problem in marketing his harvest. A trader bought every fruit he produced at 90 centavos per piece. Oh yes, marketing by the kilo was not yet the common practice then.

OTHER FARM PROJECTS – Aside from Latundan, Cubillejo has other farming projects. But those are for another story.

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