02 Apr2008


We have chicos up the wazoo from a small chico “grove” with some two dozen mature trees on a property near the heart of Cebu City… I figure each tree will probably yield roughly 25-30 kilos 50-60 kilos, which means if we are industrious about harvesting them near their peak, we could conceivably harvest upwards of 800 kilos! We have sent a good 100 kilos to friends and family, while the office crew have taken home as much as they and their neighbors can eat, say another 100 kilos. We could haul the rest off to the carbon market and if we managed to get a price of PHP10 a kilo (they retail for some PHP30), we would make a whopping PHP6,000, less harvesting and washing and packing costs. Obviously, not a high value crop… and they tend to ripen within a couple of weeks time, so when it rains chicos, it pours chicos!


These trees have always produced incredibly sweet chicos which are NOT sandy in mouthfeel at all, and for some reason, probably the weather conditions, there is an absolute bumper crop of the fruit this year. And these are totally organic fruit as we don’t bother to spray or smoke or do anything to the trees. The branches are just laden with fruit and we try to gauge their maturity and harvest them a couple of days before they are ready to eat. When they are still a bit firm they don’t seem to bruise as much when packed and transported. Folks tend to either love or hate this fruit, and you can count me as a being a big fan of the fruit now… perfect chilled as a dessert or as an accompaniment to good prosciutto, rather than melon. In a silver bowl up top, they look like a million bucks…


These two large baskets are filled practically to the brim with roughly 120 kilos of fruit from roughly 1.5 trees! I was honestly shocked by the volume and just revised this post as my estimates were so wrong to begin with… The fruit are gathered with a pole with a small bag at the end to catch the fruit. Frankly, the harvesting work is a bit tedious, so I can see why so many people can’t be bothered to clear a backyard tree of all of its fruit, instead leaving it for the neighborhood fruit bats to feast on…


Chicos were also in season in Batangas a couple of weeks ago and someone sent us several kilos of large luscious fruit from their own trees as well. They looked gorgeous in this enormous narra salad bowl. Oddly, I haven’t heard of chicos in any cooked or preserved recipes… have you? I wonder if you could make it into chico jam or chico butter (a la apple butter) or if it would make a nice pie or even a sandy grainy chico ice cream or sorbet… hmmm…


Shucks, now that I think about it, I should have offered to have marketmanila readers in Cebu come to the chico “grove” to pick a few kilos for them to take home… then we could have had a mini-eyeball. Maybe next year! :)



  1. Quillene says:

    Wow MM!

    Nakakatuwa naman. Chicos are one of my favorite fruit next to Lanzones, Atis, Watermelons and Melons.

    My mom doesn’t like it though because it smells like beer to her.

    Ah, summer! Good to see you’ve had a good harvest this year.

    Apr 2, 2008 | 5:04 pm


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  3. kasseopeia says:

    Baliktad tayo, Quillene. My mom adores chicos (eats them skin and all) while I don’t. I think it’s the sandy-ness of the small sugar crystals coupled with the smell that I can’t stand. This, I admit, is very strange to me since I like watermelon (with its sandy crystals of sweetness) and I like durian (with their trademark stink). But since I learned to like camote a few weeks ago, maybe chico won’t be far behind.

    Maybe if it were made into jam and spread onto pancakes, I’d eat it.

    But chesa and celery? That’s another story! *lol*

    Apr 2, 2008 | 5:11 pm

  4. millet says:

    i love chilled chicos. they’d make a nice sorbet, perhaps?

    Apr 2, 2008 | 5:40 pm

  5. joyce says:

    i love chicos and the combination of the sweet taste and the grainy feel on your mouth. mmm.

    Apr 2, 2008 | 5:42 pm

  6. Blaise says:

    Hello MM,

    My comment is not related to this post but I think you should have included “ALL” in your poll..

    I would vote for ALL.

    Apr 2, 2008 | 5:54 pm

  7. shalimar says:

    love them but darn my holidays for phils been moved again…
    thats a good idea chico harvest EB.

    Apr 2, 2008 | 6:31 pm

  8. chinachix says:

    its been a while since I bit on a juicy chico here in Toronto. definitely miss them!

    Apr 2, 2008 | 6:32 pm

  9. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    MM, If you still have some to sell, I will gladly get some for my store.

    Apr 2, 2008 | 6:57 pm

  10. Chris says:

    I love chico. I actually like the grainy texture and see it as one of the highlights of eating this fruit, aside from the juiciness and the earthy sweet taste- almost like brown sugar. I’ve heard of the beer-chico thing before but I don’t get it. Beer is bitter and smells yeasty, chico tastes and smells sweet…

    Apr 2, 2008 | 7:39 pm

  11. catalina says:

    Chico is one of my top 3 favorite fruits (after mango and atis). Am waiting to harvest chicos from the lone tree in my backyard–two more weeks perhaps.
    BTW, I so love your narra salad bowl. Please advise where I could buy one. Thanks.

    Apr 2, 2008 | 8:13 pm

  12. Katrina says:

    I love chico, and you’ve reminded me that I haven’t eaten it in ages! There used to be a restaurant in Malate whose name I can’t recall right now but which had some interesting Pinoy desserts, including a chico pie. It wasn’t very good, but I think that’s less because chico doesn’t work in pie, and more because it just wasn’t very well-made. So MM, why not try to make your own? :-) Also, someone told me that when he was in Vietnam, he fell in love with chico shake! He drank so much of it that he gained a few pounds (I think it contained milk). You make shakes frequently, so I’m sure you could easily replicate that. In fact, I bet chico would work as a sorbet or sherbet, too.

    Apr 2, 2008 | 8:20 pm

  13. chad says:

    For me MM, YOU are the only person and source I know who has actually used chico in a recipe, your pairing of chico and ham. Talk about being a trailblazer huh?

    I have the faintest, almost non-existent memory of a chico shake in my mind. Maybe because we didnt like it so it wasn’t a recurring item in childhood? I remember it sans the milk though…

    Apr 2, 2008 | 8:31 pm

  14. chad says:

    Scratch what I said MM, a few Google searches told me its been made into a pie, jam and pancakes.

    I can’t imagine it though. :P

    Apr 2, 2008 | 8:38 pm

  15. Marketman says:

    chad, the prosciutto and chico pairing is credited to Margarita Fores who first made it popular, she used the chico in lieu of melon or a fig. Katrina, will have to try a jam or preserve, definitely a shake but am wary of a pie due to the very high liquid content of a ripe chico…but who knows, if I am really inspired… :) catalina, it is an UNFINISHED and UNTREATED narra bowl. I bought it in baguio at a roadside wood/handicraft store behind the Baguio Country Club Golf course. Chris, I know what you mean about the graininess, like in a fig. But surprisingly, our chicos are incredibly smooth and not grainy, and they are also delicious that way. Artisan, you are reading my mind. I had just sent over 6-7 kilos of fruit, but for you and the family to enjoy… not to sell. :) Blaise, thanks! Millet, I have to try a sorbet, too! Quillene, beer? She must be eating really overripe ones that are already fermenting. A good chico is sweet and fragrant, definitely not alcoholy smelling.

    Apr 2, 2008 | 8:44 pm

  16. kasseopeia says:

    A quick chico dessert tip from my chico-devouring mom:

    1) Freeze chico that have been skinned and de-seeded.
    2) Arrange chico slices in bowl.
    3) Scoop in softened vanilla ice cream OR drizzle with condensed milk.

    She also suggested caramelizing in a pan with sugar and a splash of white wine and using it as crepe filling. She was practically drooling describing it to me. *lol*

    Apr 2, 2008 | 8:48 pm

  17. bijin says:

    just a thought…how about sending some chicos to the kids on the meals program? that is if you haven’t done it yet.

    Apr 2, 2008 | 9:03 pm

  18. Bubut says:

    in Batangas, they call that type of chico as Pineras… i dont know why.

    Apr 2, 2008 | 9:21 pm

  19. noes says:

    I miss this fruit. When i was still in elementary, I remembered there’s this one big house we passed by on the way home from school and they have chico tree.

    Apr 2, 2008 | 9:30 pm

  20. Ebba says:

    This one too is one of my fave. And I remember the grainy’ness which I don’t mind. Now if you have one that is smooth.. that is even better. I coming back to the Phils. this May, will Chico still be available. Also, where do you think I can buy chico-tree for planting. My farmer tenant had just planted 100 calamansi trees on a family farm in Quezon Prov. and he was asking me what else I wanted planted. I said mangga, atis, santol.. and chico. He said the first 2 he already did, but the last 2, he cannot find a nursery to buy it from. Pls. help. Thanks.

    The Chicos here in Texas came from Mexico – – they are bland and hard. I know though that there chico shake in the store.

    Apr 2, 2008 | 10:04 pm

  21. Marketman says:

    kasseopeia, thanks for those ideas. bijin, good idea, but I think school is out already… Ebba, try the manila seedling bank in quezon city, they have seedlings of almost all major fruit trees… and very reasonably priced…

    Apr 2, 2008 | 10:09 pm

  22. Apicio says:

    I think it was a euphemism in the sixties that when somebody is said to have a whiff of chico meant he has been drinking.

    Apr 2, 2008 | 10:14 pm

  23. an from germany says:

    hi!i am a fan of your blog. Chico is also one of my favorite fruit. As you asked what else can be done with Chico, got this idea– why not a CHICO LIQUOR out of it? it was already made possible to make sweet tasting alcohols with Coconut, Pears, plums and even Mango so why not CHICO?
    Prost (Cheers) from Germany!!!

    Apr 2, 2008 | 11:59 pm

  24. Anupama, Bangalore says:

    Hi Marketman
    An aunt of mine with an over-abundance of chico figured out how to dry the fruit and make a “malt” like powder which you can add to milk. IT has a lovely chico flavour. I’ll try and source the recipe for you.

    Apr 3, 2008 | 12:07 am

  25. Maria Clara says:

    Love chilled chicos. Yes, they are indeed laborious fruit to prep to their ripe stage – needs hand scrubbing and washing to get rid of their hairy skin.

    Apr 3, 2008 | 12:28 am

  26. nina says:

    Like ko ang chico pero matagal na ako di nakakain kasi di ko pa natiyempuhan ang season nya pag umuuwi ako! Hay…. nakakatakam….

    Apr 3, 2008 | 2:31 am

  27. alilay says:

    Pineras – like pears or peras in tagalog? love chico too, we have an old tree in our backyard but the fruit bats get to the fruits first.

    Apr 3, 2008 | 4:27 am

  28. michelle says:

    I love chico! Like Kassiopeia’s mom, I love it with ice cream, it’s got to be Coffee Crumble, not vanilla – but I seem to be the only one who likes the coffee-chico combo :)

    Apr 3, 2008 | 5:13 am

  29. Mila says:

    Pears and chicos were favorites of mine as a kid because they were grainy. I liked the texture of the fruit, not to mention they were sweet and usually didn’t have tiny seeds to spit out (atis!). I can imagine a sorbet being a good option, or poach it and serve on vanilla ice cream.

    My funny memory with chicos is buying it in a Bangkok market and when my friends saw it, asked what I planned to do with the potatoes.

    Apr 3, 2008 | 7:20 am

  30. kongwi says:

    hi MM, in zihuatenejo, mexico, i’ve tried an ice cream made out of chico…and it’s good…there’s also one ice cream parlor somewhere in valencia st., san francisco with exotic ice cream flavors, like saffron…and it has one of chico…i guess if you have a bumper crop of chicos, you could try making one MM…and let us know the result…

    Apr 3, 2008 | 8:15 am

  31. Quillene says:

    Michelle and Kassiopeia,

    Thanks for the suggestions on what to pair chico with. I have only ever eaten it as is…

    Apr 3, 2008 | 8:50 am

  32. natie says:

    that’s right, apicio—in the 60s,even in iloilo, ”amoy chico” was not considered a compliment..

    but i do miss chico. those pictures are eye-popping!

    Apr 3, 2008 | 9:14 am

  33. Beth says:

    I love pineras chicos!Pineras because the texture is like that of pears and thus, not over ripe!When I was a kid I lost my first tooth when I accidentally bit into a chico seed!MM, great harvest!

    Apr 3, 2008 | 9:17 am

  34. naghihingalo says:

    Most Pinoys eat chicos by first peeling then slicing them. I’m the only person I know who cuts them in half and eats it with a spoon, like a mango. Much easier!

    Apart from eating it plain, I enjoy a chico lassi: put natural yogurt and pieces of chico, (a bit of water, no sugar needed if the chico’s ripe) in a blender, blend away and drink. Yum! The “sandiness” actually gives it a nice texture.

    Apr 3, 2008 | 9:49 am

  35. bedazzle says:

    i love chico!! chilled or not..thing is, i’m the only one in my family who likes chico until my granddaughter came along. she absolutely loves chico like i do, so i guess she must miss it coz she now lives in LA with her dad and i miss her just as much as she misses chico..wish i were from cebu para makahingi ako ng chico from MM.. :=)

    Apr 3, 2008 | 11:07 am

  36. wysgal says:

    I love love love chico … I’m getting tired of icky American bananas. =O

    Apr 3, 2008 | 11:16 am

  37. zeph says:

    There is an old Tagalog saying when your old man comes home from a drinking session with buddies, mums would say,”amoy chico ka na naman!” But I absolutely love chicos chilled. Cafe Bola does a shake of it I believe.

    Apr 3, 2008 | 11:27 am

  38. joey says:

    I LOVE chico! One of my favorite fruits! :) I’m loving all these suggestions in the comments on how to eat it…I am duly taking note!

    Ok, I’m going to be going to the market soon to buy some! Thanks, as usual, for the alert ;)

    Apr 3, 2008 | 2:32 pm

  39. arlene says:

    HI MM,

    I love chico.. where can I buy good ones?, I went to the The fort and tehre is none…


    Apr 3, 2008 | 2:39 pm

  40. CecileJ says:

    Count me in as a chico lover! Word of caution when feeding to kids: Make sure there are no seeds because the seed has a sharp thingy and when accidentally swallowed might cause some damage to soft tissues. I loved chico since childhood but was deathly scared of swallowing the seed!

    Apr 3, 2008 | 4:14 pm

  41. tot says:

    awwwww! I from cebu, you should have offered to let me bring some chicos home coz i love chicos… do u have atis din ba? hehehe

    Apr 3, 2008 | 5:19 pm

  42. catalina says:

    Thanks for the info, MM.

    Apr 3, 2008 | 7:45 pm

  43. corrine says:

    I LOVE chico! MM, do I hear chico raffle?

    Ebba, you may want to plant mangosteen. Last year, in Farmer’s Marke, I bought mangosteen that came from Quezon. It was really good and better than the ones from Thailand…less expensive too. It was sweet not like the ones from Davao which is sweet-sour. :)

    Apr 3, 2008 | 10:18 pm

  44. beng says:

    wow, such a beautiful tree, specially when their load with those
    brown sugar tasting fruit. I love chico’s they’re on my top 3 fav’s fruist ever, cherimoya being #1, then persimoms # 2 then Chico or fresh coconut with chili lime on the #3 spot. I live here on the beautiful island of Maui and I see chico trees prevalent among the Filipino area. I myself plant 2 already and my second one died and I have a back up, and this one don’t look too promising either. I found that there’s two varieties here so far, i’m sure there’s more than that, but the rounder one is kinda watery. The egg shape one is the best. Love it just plain and cold. yummmmm

    Apr 4, 2008 | 3:00 am

  45. Leila says:

    I went back to the Philippines after 32 years. Although we were there for just 2 weeks, i managed to eat most of my favorite eats. Chico was one of the highlights. Coming back from Ilocos to Manila, we stopped by a chico and guava hut along the road(San Esteban)and boy, the chicos were super sweet and the guavas were excellent. My husband can’t stop eating them during our trip. What a lovely experience. Mr. marketmanila, i love your website!

    Apr 4, 2008 | 9:39 am

  46. Babette says:

    I miss eating Chico, one of my favorite fruits. :( I saw canned chichos in the Asian grocery and tried it. This was canned in Thailand, it’s ok but nothing beats the fresh one.

    Apr 6, 2008 | 1:33 am

  47. ECC says:

    At the Indika Indian restaurant here in Houston, TX, they have Chikoo Ice Cream with Spiced Walnuts and Caramel and Chikoo Milk Shake with Baileys for dessert. When I saw the word “Chikoo” in their menu, I thought perhaps it was our Chico. Indeed, they do call it Chikoo or Sapota in India. I tried the ice cream and it was pretty good!

    Apr 6, 2008 | 7:40 am

  48. Candygirl says:

    Chicos were a nice addition to a salad I had during a holy week retreat in Baguio. I never thought of adding them to my salad.

    PS. Where did you buy your narra wooden salad bowl? Another blogger (farm girl fare) mentioned that she lets her bread dough rise in an antique wooden bowl and I’d like to try it.

    Apr 6, 2008 | 4:30 pm

  49. Candygirl says:

    Oops, just read your post about the origins of the bowl :p

    Apr 6, 2008 | 4:36 pm

  50. dhayL says:

    I love them a bit chilled, it sorts of cools me down during summer months! I’ll be waiting what experiments you’ll come up with having that much chicos available!

    Apr 7, 2008 | 1:01 am

  51. suzette says:

    bought baguio chicos for P50/ kilo. ill definitely try them with prosciutto, still have some left… is that you mm on the photo? nice shoes!

    Apr 12, 2008 | 6:49 pm

  52. Marketman says:

    suzette, haha, yes that is me, and HOW can you even see the shoes with any clarity at all??? I guess on my macintosh the photos are smaller than on a PC with a different browser… :)

    Apr 12, 2008 | 8:41 pm

  53. suzette says:

    i can see clearly things of beauty even from afar and at the corner of my eye, the same way i could smell good food miles away from me… hehehe :)

    Apr 13, 2008 | 1:15 pm

  54. Nelly Balintongog says:

    I love chico too. Please provide me the tips on how to plant them.

    Thank you.

    Jul 14, 2008 | 11:59 am

  55. Mis Kit says:

    I love this fruit! Where can I find in San Francsico?

    Jul 25, 2008 | 2:13 am

  56. marissewalangkaparis says:

    Wow…just saw this post on chico…haven’t eaten chico in a long time. Nearly summer and hope to find some..

    Feb 1, 2009 | 10:03 pm


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