I think Cebu has simply the best mangoes in the world. So there. Teehee. I was born in Cebu and I probably am biased but itâ€™s my blog so I can write whatever I want! Mangoes (Mangifera indica) probably originated in India, have been cultivated for over 4000 years, and are one of the most widely consumed fruits on the planet today. In fact, Desmond Tate, in his book on tropical fruits, asserts that more mangoes are consumed on the planet every year than apples or bananas. Thatâ€™s where a billion folks in India make their mark. There are somewhere between 40 and 60 species of mangoes growing from India to Papua New Guinea and about half of these species bear edible fruit. Mangoes like a slight change in seasons or temperature which helps them flower and thus they thrive more a little North of the actual equator (Philippines better than Indonesia, for exampleâ€¦). I could eat a mango every day and if I had to choose just one fruit to consume, it would definitely be a mango.
Cebuâ€™s mangoes have an incredibly thin and fine skin or peel and feel somewhat like a babyâ€™s bum (the top mangoes are individually wrapped as they ripen to prevent bugs and unsightly markings), their flesh is just the right consistency and density (not too watery, fibrous or heavy), and their flavor and sweetness superb. I am not sure I could tell a Cebu mango apart from other regional mangoes (Guimaras being a close contender) if blindfolded, but I subscribe to the belief that they are the best nonetheless. A lot of this cebumangocentric behavior is of course because you are used to what you grew up with; however, I must add that I HAVE tasted Australian, Indonesian, Singaporean, Malaysian, Thai, Indian, Floridian and Carribbean mangoes so I am not talking without any experience at all. I have also tried Central Luzon mangoes but I find their density and often unsettling orangey color to be not my type.
On a recent trip to Cebu, I passed by my mango suki and loaded up a large basket with 10 kilos of ripe and and semi-ripe mangoes to take back to Manila. They were pricey, at PHP70/kilo when other mangoes are already going for PHP50/kilo, and for 30 pieces they came out to PHP23.33 each or USD0.42 cents. It still amazes me that a flimsy basket, packed right, can be thrown into the baggage hold of a large jet and the mangoes come out at the other end hardly worse for wear. I have a totally unproven theory that the reason Cebu mangoes are so good is because the environmental conditions can be quite harsh. And as the summer months approach, the intensity of the heat, the vagaries of the soil and water and the breezes between islands all help to create the finest mangoes on the planet.