My family is definitely biased about our mangoes, and I have written a post on Cebu mangoes before. Though I now admit that approximately 40% of the mangoes we currently consume come from the island of Guimaras, due to convenience (I have a suki at my regular Saturday market run), and they are very good, I am a Cebu mango lover, tried and true. I have often wondered how the Cebuano mangoes manage to not only possess a wonderful, smooth, flavorful, juicy and almost fiber-less mouthfeel, but also an incredibly thin, smooth and apparently, blemish free skin or peel. Well, now I know the answer to the blemish free skin… The last time I was in Cebu, I decided to take a drive out to Busay, an agricultural area in the center or heart of the island, and on the way, we passed by several mango plantations and I was stunned to see all of these fruiting trees with each of the fruit individually wrapped or sheathed in paper “jackets.”
Thousands upon thousands of these paper jackets appeared on dozens and dozens of trees. It was a rather stunning site. First of all, just making the jackets and individually placing them on young fruit must be incredibly labor-intensive. And I presume fruits are culled so that the energy of the tree focuses on the selected remaining fruits. And the spectre of a heavy rainstorm in the midst of the dry season (as we have been experiencing lately) must wreak havoc on these paper jackets unless they are somehow water resistant. Once ripe, the mangoes are carefully harvested by hand and transported to the markets, the highest quality mangoes commanding a price of PHP80-100 a kilo retail, even in Cebu! The jackets keep away bugs and pests, I presume and they must also have some impact on the smoothness and color of the mango skins as well. Amazing… Oh, and one last thing… mango trivia… according to this Purdue University site (I love this site for factual information on fruits, veggies, etc.), the average 20 year old mango tree can yield up to 1,000 fruit or so. And get this, the record production for one tree in India is said to be 29,000 fruit! On a well planted hectare of land, you could yield up to 40,000 kilograms of mangoes per hectare per year, and at just PHP25 per kilo at the tree wholesale, that’s a whopping PHP1 million per hectare, whoa!