Fresh Pili Fruit and Pili Nuts

The pili tree (Canarium ovatum Engl.) is indigenous to the Philippine archipelago and grows primarily in the bicol region. It is an extremely hardy tree and its fruit is somewhat jurassic in appearance. pili fruit The fruit (often called a nut but is technically a drupe, according to Doreen Fernandez in Fruits of the Philippines) is about 5-6 centimeters long and has a think black skin when ripe. Under the skin is a fibrous (hairy!)greenish pulp. The very hard pointed shell houses the oily and yummy nut within. It is the nut within that most Filipinos think of when you say Pili Nut.

According to Alan Davidson, pili nuts possess the highest fat content of all nuts in the world (even more fat than the macadamia!), Pili has the flavor of pumpkin seed when raw but is even more delicious when roasted. Some think the nut has a texture and flavor that surpasses the more common almond. Pili trees generally grow wild rather than in organized plantations so the supply of nuts is limited and erratic. Fruits are at their peak around July through September, assuming some huge typhoon hasn’t blown them all off the trees. The fruits spoil relatively quickly due to the high-fat content, so that explains why they are rapidly preserved with salt or tons of sugar.

Finding fresh pili fruit in Manila is truly a needle in a haystack proposition unless you have a tree growing in your neighborhood. pili nut Yesterday at the market I was thrilled to find a small basket of fresh pili and I eagerly picked some out so I could write about them here. The fresh nuts were just P1 each though they were not the finest quality… If you find fresh and ripe nuts, Bicolanos like to boil the fruit briefly, carefully peel the thin black skin, then dip the hairy pulp in fish sauce (guinamos) or patis and eat this straight away. It is an acquired taste, I kid you not, but delicious if you have acquired the taste. And few foods would be more native than pili prepared this way.

At the Bicol fair at Mega Mall in mid-October, I picked up fresh kernels and nuts within for just P35 for a 1/2 kilo (middle photo above) and I also purchased three types of pili snacks – sugar coated, caramel coated and salted. pili snacks All were very fresh and delicious. Little packets of the snacks were P20, a tad on the pricey side but if you ever had to crack open a nut, extract a whole kernel inside, then preserve and sell it before it spoils, you would charge that much too.


90 Responses

  1. Hi,

    I am from Bicol and I’ve been considering and finding ways on how to bring the Pili nut to the US. There are some recipes
    there that could become nice product to sell here in the US.
    I’m in California by the way. My kins in Bicol region (Albay, Philippines) have plantations of Pili. I would like to work with somebody who may be able to suggest on how to
    import that to US. Or even if you’re just interested for a few of them I could possibly find out a way to bring cooked Pili from Philippines. I think fresh ones in shell will still need to go through Customs so that’s a little hard to do. But Candied pili nuts will be easier.

  2. I am looking for Torron/Pastillas/Marzipan Pili Nut recipes. Kindly send as many as there can be. Thank you.

  3. How much will you be selling candied pili nuts here in the US. I would like to know the wholesale price or distributor’s price.

  4. I am from Samar and we are having a Pili production in different barangays here in our town (Allen).As part of our Extension Service in school we Organize Pilinut Vendors/Processors. In fact, we conduct trainings/seminars on Packaging and Labelling, Current Goods Manufacturing Practices. Though they improved the packaging/labelling of their products, still they’re yearning for more income. In fairness, the quality of their product is good enough. The only problem is the marketing for their product. By sharing this online, I hope i could get any insights from readers.

  5. I just purchased a handful of pili nuts for $5 at a local heath food store in virginia beach, va usa. they are quite good but they cost more than almonds. this is the first time i have found them available.

  6. im from bicol naga city im very fun of eating pili its very can buy it in bicol.tnx

  7. Pili is the greatest, so much better than almonds. I wonder if anyone has info on the nutritional value and health benefits of pili. Just got a couple of bars of pili marsipan from the Philippines and they’re just as I remembered them, not too sweet, smooth textured and with a mild nutty flavor. I just want to know if something this good could actually be healthy as well.

  8. Please assist me of where to order pili nuts fruits with shell in it. I’m from Vancouver, BC, Canada. Thank you so much.

    Teresa Fernando

  9. Hi!
    I’ve read the comments below and I am interested with persons involved in the Pili industry. Neil-Paul, who also left a comment above mentioned that they have a plantation. Hope you may contact me for this. I am engaged in PIli business, particularly that delicious yummy pulp. To all interested (including MARKETMAN!!!), kindly e-mail me at I am very interested to meet (and hopefully engage in a wonderful business) with you.
    ps. Pili is really great. It can really go ahead of almonds and macademias!!!

  10. Hi guys! Im from Samar and my in-laws have pili plantation. Looking for interested buyers.Just e-mail me anytime.

  11. This pili nuts really taste good.
    Just wondering if this pili tree will grow here in Canada.

  12. sunday, no, I doubt if pili would grow in Canada, unless you have a REALLY large temperature and humidity controlled greenhouse…

  13. Hi, i’m Grace from Sorsogon. I am looking for an interested buyer of Pili Nut. You can contact me thru my mobile number +639189083762, or email me at

  14. We call it “nilanta” in Sorsogon. I believe not all varieties of pili meat could be eaten. And we dont boil them, just put them on a bowl with very hot water and after about 10mins, they’re all soft and ready to eat! Excellent with guinamos (but better with bagoong from Pangasinan, with fried fish and steaming rice. Gosh, I’m salivating!

    I remember on of my aunt who’s got perfect teeth and she could crack a small pili shell with her teeth!

  15. Boiled or “nilanta” pili is tops with “padas” or fish sauce.Before I would normally peel off the black cover before eating eat,now I can eat it all together.I come from Virac Catanduanes and we have some pili trees with different size of nuts and the quality of the meat.Some are fleshy and some are not,some takes longer to cook others are quick to soften.If you over boiled it it wont soften anymore thus the time for it to be in hot water is important.I would like that more people would try to eat the meat since it is high on fiber,the only problem is its availability in Manila.

  16. Hello, my husband and I are interested in importing Sorsogon based Pili Nut prepackaged products. The product labelling and nut product processing would need to satisfy Australian Quarantine and Customs laws before hand. If anybody has had previous expereince with this matter I would greatly appreciate their input. We may also be intersested in other Sorsogon based products as well. We are price concious and we will have a local person/buyer to purchase these products for us on our behalf, so we will not be getting ripped off by unscrupulous people.

  17. Inn Avenir – Kelly, I suspect the strict requirements to clear Australian food laws are not something to be taken lightly. Good luck finding a supplier that has already cleared those hurdles…

  18. sly, I don’t sell anything nor export anything. Isn’t that obvious from the post? Or do I sound like an exporter looking for potential customers???

  19. I am in production of PILI. I have right now about 500 grown trees. In a year or two these trees will be producing fruits in commercial quantity. By then I will be looking for bigger consumer or user of the product in shell or the nuts itself.

  20. Hello,

    Glad to find this website. I am glad to know that there are many Pili Nut proponents.

    Our foundation has planted over a thousand Pili Nut trees in Palawan and will be expecting full production in a few years ago. Right now, a few trees are already fruiting. In addition to this some farmers are already harvesting their Pili trees planted 8 years ago when we started the community development project.
    Our Pili plantations are continually being expanded along with our rubber plantations.

    Hope to hear from any one who is interested in a tie up for future business.

  21. We are currently looking for the best way to propagate pili. we recently bought a farm land in quezon province and planning to plant pili trees. Anyone who are in to this business and would like to share his knowledge and expertise, kindly email me at Your information will be very much appreciated. Thank you.:)

  22. Hi there:

    Can someone respond to me if you are willing to send me a sample of a prepackaged ready to eat pili nuts. Maybe two to five packages with the size of around 6″ x 8″ packaging in a clear plastic bags (resealable if possible or even sealed). I will send you the expenses after I received these samples. Send me the bill. If I find that it has a market I will order some more. E-mail me at “”. Looking forward to reading from you. Thanks.

  23. This message is for Annie from Samar,

    I am interested in marketing raw Pili nuts as a food ingredients to Europe.It must pass according to the European Law Food requirements.The product must be free from pesticides and heavy metals and must be processed according to GMP.

    Kind regards,

  24. I just love Pili. Was looking for uncooked nuts during a recent visit to Legaspi but had a hard time looking for it. Luckily found some at Satellite Market but at 400 per kilo. Does anyone know where I can buy uncooked, by the kilo, of Pili here in Manila and what the going price is? I don’t usually see it in baking stores.

  25. Plant It Hawai’i, a wholesale nursery near Hilo, Hawai’i, is now selling two year old seedling pili at reasonable price. I am not aware of anyone growing pili commercially yet in Hawai’i, but fresh pili fruit is sometimes available at the Hilo Farmers Market.

  26. Anyone who can help me with these questions please…

    I want to develop a 1.4has farm in Camarines Sur to pili plantation. It is in the middle of riceland (often called upland but actually a bit elevated compared to surrounding paddies). Is this area ideal to grow pili trees?

    Also, approximately how many kilos of pili kernels (the white part) can be harvested from a tree in a year? How much does 1 kilo of pili kernel sell for?


  27. If you guys want the best Pili Nut candy…Visit Locsin Candy Factory in Albay…Me? I like to dip the Pili meat in the sauce of fermented small fish called “Kuyog”…Yummy!

    Fresh nuts in a shell can be bought in Tabaco City Public Market…By the kilo or by the sack…Happy eating!!!

  28. Pili Nuts is a delicacy. I would suggest People in the Philippines should plan thousands of these trees. It would benefit the future of the country. Strong resistance on typhoon plus the fruit itself is better than almond or macademia nuts. Also people on a tropical area should do the same glorified pili nuts. I wish, I could plan them in Florida, USA

  29. we will feature one of succesful proprietor of Pili pastries in bicol camarines sur phil in our show “Kami Naman” on January 12’07. In our segment Kayod Pinoy we will you on how she started making pili pastries and they already exporting in some cantries in asia like japan, US and Canada. To watch u may logon at on Jan 12’07 5am to 7am..It’s live comedy sitcom. pls watch!


  30. My family is from Sorsogon and we are in the business of Pili products. We supply shelled & peeled pili in Naga, Legaspi and Manila by bulk which eventually are cooked, packed and marketed in the locality. Some I believe are marketed to Baguio, Manila and other parts of Southern Luzon area. Pili is comparable to the coconut tree which they say is the tree of life as almost all of its parts and fruits are useful. Same with Pili, you do not just throw the shells after getting the Pili meat, we also sell the shells and i think it’s used for orchid growing and sometimes burned to produce coals. I’m sure there are still a lot more uses to it that I am just not aware of since our business is currently focused on the Pili meat & raw shell. We are also selling roasted Pili but only on a per order basis. If anyone is interested to buy Pili in retail or wholesale quantities, raw or cooked, please email me at


  31. We are direct supplier of pili nuts and oils… can contact us anytime regarding orders…..Here and Abroad….
    telefax 792-7663 , 0915 4157762, 0927 6460126, Look for Jinkee or cheryl….
    We also deal w pili oil


  32. I would like to distribute Pili nuts in UK, as a healthy snack. Preferable honey roasted, plain roasted, plain, must be out of shelled and seal packed. Could you please email with details or send any brochures/ pictures or sampless to Janette Treciokas, 64 Elmbank Way, Hanwell, London W7 3DQ.

  33. I am from Bikol region and it so nice to know that people all over are really up to the taste of this fantastic fruit.
    More Power to PILI lovers…

  34. i planted pili in my hometown,dao, antique. five years ago. four years after,some showed sign of reproduction by bearing flowers. however, not all of the trees gave me fruits for some are males and cannot bear fruits, they just keep on flowering. on the other hand, some pilis bore fruits and i was amazed. the fruits taste really nice. i propagate pili by burying the seeds in a seed bed but the soil must be sterilized first so that bacteria will not destroy the, i’m amazed looking at their purple fruits when ripe but most of all, i enjoy eating it’s flavorful fruits.

  35. Hi there! W.E. Bonto Pilinuts is a small stall of pilinut products in Tabaco City (Albay Philippines)

    all interested buyers please contact 09109816041 oe email me at for orders… We offer discount to bulk orders of pilinuts!

  36. i am a pili producer here in the philippines, specifically here in bicol. our company is known as leslie pili products, sorsogon city, philippines. we specialize in pili confectioneries (e.g. roasted pili, salted pili, honey-glazed pili, chocolate-coated pili etc.) we also produce pili oil. we can supply pili with shell as well as pili kernels.interested buyers can contact us at the mobile number 09216199887 or email us at, thank you very much

  37. Melinda,
    We tasted (and love) pili nuts when we visited our son last december. He lives in Bicol (Sorsogon).
    Can you ship pili nuts to USA? We would enjoy re-stocking!

  38. hey guys,

    if you loved pili candies, you’ll love more sweetven’s pili chocolate bars. interested buyers, you may contact me at mobile no.:+639198674556 or ym/email me at or we would like also to market this new product to US, Canada and Europe.thank you so much…

  39. hi pili enthusiasts!

    I am from mindanao and I want to plant pili trees in my area, I love pili because my mother is from Tabaco City, she introduced pili to me when I was yet a little boy. I would like to direct this request to those with considerable number of pili trees, how much do you sell the seeds for seedling production? Please contact me thru email or u can reach me at this # 09177183337.

    God Bless us all!

  40. I am considering starting a 10 Hectare Pili farm in Samar. This to help out the local population with profits from this venture for schooling and other projects in the area. However I am a bit short on figures to make a proper business case. If anybody could send me more info, contacts, or knows of an exististing functioning farm I would love to hear more.

    My email address is

    Many thanks,


  41. HI,Im Chris V. Were looking for interested buyer of Fresh Pili Nut w/ shell You can contact my Fathers # Engr.Avelino Villanueva landline at 9139472.

  42. hello guys,

    im interested buying pili nut candy or maybe nili nut…but im wondering what is cheaper to buy pili and cook it to become candy or buy the candy. im from davao and planning to have a business…..can you help me know how mnuch per kilo or how much per box?

    thank you

  43. hi guys, it’s me again. We’re still looking for an interested buyer of a fresh and pristine Pili Nuts with shell. Whoever wants to inquire, just mail me at: I’m looking forward to your mails.

    Thank you

  44. Hi,

    I’m a pili nuts processor in Naga city and currently looking for a possible supplier of raw pili nuts.

    For interested supplier, you can reach me in my contact #09287241488 and my e-mail address

  45. hi! i’m looking for pili nut (without shell) suppliers.
    is it possible to export pili nuts to Japan? what are the requirements? pls contact me at 09228170931 or email me at for details. thanks.

  46. hi. Im a food technology student of UP Diliman.
    Im from Bicol Region and I am considering PILI PULP for my thesis. It’s basically all about shelf-life and transport (especially to other countries)of the fruit especially the pulp.

    i am looking for people who can help me with my study.
    preferably suppliers of the fruit from NAGA CITY.
    all interested are also welcome.
    please email me at

    thanks. :)

  47. I know of someone who business pili nuts, pili candies,and even pili shells. They have been doing the business for years and are known suppliers of said products here in the Philippines. The business houses in Sorsogon,Bicol. To those who are interested to transact business may just email me. i’d be most willing to help. email add:

  48. Hi there! W.E. Bonto Pilinuts is a small stall of pilinut products in Tabaco City (Albay Philippines)

    all interested buyers please contact 09205011422 or email me at for orders… We offer discount to bulk orders of pilinuts!

    I would like to clarify that the price of pilinut products depends on the season.. raw pilinuts (no shell)can cost Php 350.00 up to Php 600.00 per kilo during lenten season but somehow in times that the supply is too much it can be as low as Php 150.00. But with those people interested in pulp (pilinut with shell and the black coating) usually it is sold Php 50.00 per 100 pcs or kilo

    Please be advised that some crook people sold with label 100% pure pilinut but it was not really a pili or another case is for some goodies like mazapan de pili wherein they put starch or other things just to deceive buyers. Be careful and look for a real supplier pilinuts and manufacturer of pili products.

    Hope this can help!

  49. Hi! i’m Mien and am looking someone to help me to put up business like pili product, I loss my job since 2007, and I find interest in this kind of product, can someone help me how it label be done? thanks! you can send me an email at

  50. hi… Im asking some help… Im a medical student here in qc phil. my group and I doing some research about pili nuts in pharmacology… and can somebody leave a comment or any informations that can pili nuts have something to do in medical practice… thank you po.. email me at

  51. Hey these are great snacks nuts. Munching on caramel(?) coated ones right now. Pricey lil buggers tho cost 250P for a jar that holds maybe 2 cups worth. Got to put them away so my wonderful pinay can have some later.

  52. i am interested in Pili nut Sprouts. Our local organic nurseries in Hilo are out of them until next year.
    They are by far the best tasting nuts I have ever had. I consider myself a nut expert.

  53. We have a fruit orchard in Northern Davao with pili trees and are starting to locally market sugar coated pili nuts after testing and perfecting our recipe. You may email me at for orders.

  54. Good that there’s a lot of people here interested in pili nuts. It has great potential and can be one of the Philippines’ unique products (e.g. Hawaii is famous for macadamia nuts). I wonder if people are trying new ways to use pili nuts so one could create a new market for it(e.g. plain roasted pili nuts, pili nuts with different flavors, chocolate covered pili nuts or even pili nut oil or pili nut pesto!).

  55. Hello OrB! You like the pilinuts coated with chocolates? Please visit Legaspi City where chocolate coated pilinuts can be found, specifically at the Airport Cafe and at Locsin Pilinuts. I am sure you will like it very much as many people has!

  56. By the way these chocolate coated pilinuts are, for the meantime labelled PILINUT DROPS!

  57. August 3, 2009


    What stores in Metro Manila do you supply pili nuts? Do you have a contact number? My friend is in Manila and he wanted to see the pili nuts. I did not send him any sample because as you said you have variety of cooked pili nuts. You can text me thru this number 0915 190 5276.



  58. looking for buyers of pili nuts with shell and without shell
    specially those exporters and pili nut processesors
    we deliver right into your doorsteps interested parties
    pls contact me at

  59. is there a store in manila where i could buy chocolate coated pili nuts? need it for a wedding souvenir, ASAP.


  60. i am a student of laguna college of business and arts calamba city. i would like to ask for some details and information of how much will be the cost if we purchase pili nuts from your company or any other related pili nut farm. please indicated the cost per kilo or per sack of unshelled pili nut and its \delivery cost. thank you very much this a great help for the fulfillment of my feasibilty study. here is my contact number and emaiil add 09218764719



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