WHEN Jaime Goyena, a Los Baños agriculture graduate, retired in August 1985 from the Development Bank of the Philippines after about 16 years of service, he did not go back to his hometown in Daraga, Albay.
TO CALAUAN – Instead, he went to Calauan, Laguna, to develop a small property he had bought for exactly P5,000 in 1964. He already had planted some lanzones and rambutan as early as 1977 but was not making any money from them.
FOR NURSERY – Since the property was too small (7,821 sq.m.) for fruit production, he decided to make make it into a fruit nursery. He would produce fruits, all right, but more of his income will come from the sale of his propagation of planting materials.
GUAPPLE FASCINATES – One of the fruits that had fascinated him is the big guava which is better known as guapple. He liked the fruit tree because it has a short gestation period. It will bear fruit in about a year from planting and the big fruits also command a good price in the market (P20 or so per kilo). And the tree practically produces fruits year-round.
Goyena went around looking for different kinds of guapple. The varieties come in different sizes, texture and taste. Some are round while others are oblong. Some have smooth skin while others have rough ones.
13 GUAPPLE CULTIVARS – One time, he had a collection of 13 different guapple cultivars. After observing them, however, he decided to retain only three for commercial purposes. Of course, his favorite is what he now calls Queso de Bola, so called because of its peculiar shape that resembles its namesake.
CRUNCHY, FEW SEEDS -This Queso de Bola guapple has very smooth skin that is very light in color when ripe. It is sweet and crunchy, and is very meaty. It has very few seeds, too.
When the UP Los Baños and the Department of Agriculture conducted a fruit search in 1990, his Queso de Bola emerged as the best guapple. He entered for competition a 580-gram fruit which was evaluated for its eating quality as well as for its appearance.
BESTSELLER – Goyena got a P5,000 cash prize and a plaque for his guapple. But more important than the cash prize is the fact that the award made his propagation of the winning variety a bestseller. Up to this time, he is running out of stock of planting materials because buyers buy them in big numbers. He said that he is selling his grafted Queso de Bola at P40 each.
BIGGER FRUITS – His two other commercial guapple varieties produce much bigger fruits. One produces round fruits with rough skin that weigh as much as two kilos each. The third variety also produces big fruits that are pear-shaped and with excellent eating quality.
R-5 RAMBUTAN – Of course, Goyena is also very proud of his collection of rambutan. One which he calls R-5 was adjudged the best rambutan in the First National Fruit Crops Fair held in Davao City in September 1994, and for which he received a cash prize of P10,000.
SWEET AND MEATY – R-5 has very sweet fruits (26% brix compared to 22 of other good varieties). They are very big and meaty. Only 19 pieces make a kilo compared to the 25 to 30 pieces of the ordinary Maharlika variety.
DURIAN, TOO – Goyena is also very interested in collecting and multiplying good varieties of durian. He has some now that are fruiting in his nursery. One other fruit that he is excited about is the Baligang or Lipote, a native of Bicol. This produces sweetish berries that are excellent for making wine, according to him.
GREEN MAKOPA – He does not only go around the Philippines to look ;for outstanding fruit trees. A few years back, he was in Thailand and was able to acquire some new varieties that he intends to multiply in big numbers. One is a seedless green makopa that is very sweet.
OWN FRUIT PLANTATION – Goyena also wants to have a fruit plantation of his own. That is why he recently bought a 2.8-hectare farm lot in Cavinti, Laguna. There, he will grow mangosteen, marang and durian which are all high-value fruits.
FULFILLED – This DBP retiree has found a new career in the farm. He feels fulfilled because he knows he is doing something very worthwhile.