Lipote / Igot / Bahag


I am sure I have not seen or tasted many local fruits and vegetables. However, it isn’t often that I am almost completely stumped by a bunch of fruit when it is presented to me under such casual circumstances. Back at the farm in Bicol, the locals and farmhands were probably a bit amused that I would fawn over a pili tree, gush over freshly scooped coconut meat and stare up in wonder whenever I saw a familiar tree bearing fruit. They were perplexed why I would photograph plants, fish, animals and fruit but not people and probably figured out what would make me happy…find this nutcase an odd fruit, they thought, and better yet if it is still attached to its branches… and were they on the money or what?! The second day there, I was given this bunch of purple fruit still on the branch (they noticed my pili photo session) and it was explained that it was locally called igot. I tasted the fruit which was a bit like duhat or java plum but unique enough that perhaps it wasn’t just a mutated cousin… I got one that was a bit unripe but the riper blacker ones were rather sweet. They eat them like duhat, with salt and sometimes sugar mixed in. I took a photo, tasted a few more and made a note to look it up when I got back home.

I searched my Philippine fruit books, my Elizabeth Schneider and Alan Davidson reference materials, other international fruit books and the internet until I finally found an interesting reference here in a report by the Philippine Department of Agriculture to the FAO (scroll to page 26 of 132 pages!) and I will quote their description of this interesting fruit instead of paraphrasing…

“ Lipote (Syzygium curranii) – Also called bahag, baligang or igot. This fruit species is INDIGENOUS to the Philippines. The tree is medium-sized, 9 meters or more high. The fruits are borne in compact clusters, small up to 20mm in diameter, round, dark red to black, rather dry but of pleasant acid flacor. The fruit is used in the making of preserces, wine, pickle, beverages and jelly. It is a good source of protein.”

And re-checking my Fruits of the Philippines by Doreen Fernandez, I went to a section in the back listing “Rare and Vanishing Fruit Trees of the Philippines” compiled by Domingo A. Madulid and they list Lipote or Igot as being one of the native trees that are vulnerable and potentially endangered. Enjoy the photo, there aren’t too many of this indigenous fruit on the web, as far as I can tell…


48 Responses

  1. We call them seedless duhat where I came from and the branch we picked the fruits from was actually just a graft on a normal duhat tree (no not the one that grew right next to the poso negro) which I hope is still there. Same Latin name too.

  2. we use to have that Baligang Tree in our backyard here in Makati but it died due to the ashfall we had few years back.. It’s one of my favorite rare fruit aside from the Caramay. thanks MM for bringing back the memories of this fruit!

  3. I recall a fruit like this. I’ve only tasted this a few times when I lived there in my younger years. It was called duhat as I recall.

    Happy birthday to me! (6-26) :)

  4. I’ve heard of Lipote but don’t remember having tasted it.
    Wouldn’t it be great if someone would go into the business of planting and preserving heirloom Philippine fruit and other plants? Then they could also educate our kababayan on these precious indigenous species. Could be an ecotourism destination, too.

    Here in the US, there are folks who specialize in heirloom tomatoes (which taste immensely better than supermarket ones and have such distinctive looks), heirloom melons, roses, etc.

    Our family and others have planted indigenous hardwoods like narra and Philippine mahogany (hoping that no one will cut them down for a house or aparador) in what used to be tropical rainforest but have been planted over to citrus and other fruit trees. It could be done with our disappearing fruit trees as well.

  5. Happy Birthday Jean! The Lipote or igot is actually different from duhat…click the link to an earlier post on duhat in the post above. Apicio, now that you mention it it didn’t have a large seed or any seed at all… but the flavor was similar to duhat… Bubut, you had it in Makati? Egads, I thought this was rather exotic…shows you how much I don’t know… Kate, I agree someone should try and preserve the fruits… this one didn’t taste so spectacular so I wonder if that’s why folks allow it to disappear quietly…but from a historical perstpective it would be great to have a real botanical garden of native species…

  6. This is my absolute childhood favorite! Igot is different from duhat, it’s way better!! Unlike duhat, it is smaller and doesnt have acrid aftertaste. We like this preserved. First mash it and mix with sugar and salt. Then the good part comes where we cover the tupperware and juggle it for further mashing and mixing! Put in a jar and it will keep for weeks (in our house, it doesnt last a week ;) They become ripe and abundant (? – i think not anymore) at about this time of the year (June-July). I so miss this! A long time ago, in the basement of the old Greenbelt, I came across Igot renamed Wild Berries.

  7. Hi Marketman,

    I seldom come out of the woodwork to make a comment. But your piece on the igot fruit (which i’ve never tried) really got me interested. How about doing a post/survey on fruits which used to be widely available but are now hardly seen in the market? I used to be fond of a fruit called mabolo in my younger years but it has been decades since I last saw one in fruit stalls.

  8. MM, had my first taste of lipote in marinduque a long time ago, and i was told it is abundant in the southern luzon region. haven’t had that in a while…another “new” food for me in marinduque was “manaka” (i’m not sure i remember the name right), but it was some kind of crayfish…we were eating them like popcorn, and i my stomach kept me awake the whole night. wonder if anyone knows what it is?

  9. we have a baligang tree in our backyard but it’s so old and tall that nobody climbs it anymore. when i was younger, we used to “sungkit” the fruits and put salt and sugar in it and like bettina, juggle it. it was delicious and it wouldn’t last for half a day.

    millet, does the crayfish you are referring to have only one claw? we have that in our corner of bicol and we call it ananakla. it thrives in freshwater. very much like crayfish but instead of two claws, it has only one

  10. mita, it might, as with blueberries, but I found the skin to be a bit tough so I am not sure if it would soften sufficiently with cooking…

  11. hi millet! i’ve tasted the crayfish “manaka” thingie you wrote about. my sister-in-law’s from marinduque, and we they always give us some of the stuff when they come back from vacations. its a weird creature no? like a shrimp with one swollen claw, but the flesh is more siksik (great with vinegar and bawang!)and you can claw meat too. i like to think of it as a cross between a shrimp and one crab claw – talk about genetic manipulation, hehe. i’m not sure if its seasonal or available all year round, although i heard it costs more than regular shrimp. and they supposedly call it “manakla” ‘cos of the sound the claw makes. (klaklakla?)

  12. How nice to see you feature Lipote. It is my childhood favorite. I came from Infanta, Quezon and I thought it was indeginous to our part of the country because no one that I know in Manila has ever heard or tasted it. Bettina is right.
    We would put it in a well sealed container and shake it vigorously with sugar and some salt. The resulting liquid is also good as juice. Just put plenty of ice and dilute it with water…such a refreshing drink. I agree also that we should preserve this tree since it is becoming extinct.

  13. wow, thanks, MM…now i know “manaka” wasn’t just haucination…thanks,too, honey and castanzo. i wonder where else manakla is avaiable, and whether it is still abundant in marinduque and esewhere? i haven’t seen it in the markets..thanks for the lipote post, too, MM…these things are taken for granted by most people and need a litte nudge from people like you to bring on torrents of memories and responses, and i hope an urge to preserve and re-discover !

  14. Thanks for posting this article about baligang. I am from Oas, Albay in the provice of Bicol where we have plenty of this fruit. One of the towns in Albay, Camalig even has a barrio named after this fruit.
    It seems that this fruit doesn’t need nurturing; it just grow in the backyard or along the fence by itself. When I was growing up, we have plenty of this fruit being sold in the market, however, this past summer 2006 when we went to Bicol I didn’t see much of the fruit anymore.
    I took a picture of the fruit still on the tree from a friend’s yard, but when I showed it to my Filipino friends (non Bicolanos) here in Virginia Beach, they could not put a name to it. Mel was right, most Manilaneos have not heard of it.

  15. Guys, we have two trees of Lipote in Malvar, BAtangas. One is an old tree while the other is younger which bears really good fruits. I bring these berries to work to educate my officemates. The idea of making into pies is great, just like blueberry pies. I’ll try that sometimes…

  16. Hello,

    I was researching about duhat and found your site. My husband just recently bought these huge cherries from the local farmers market here in southern Oregon. I normally don’t like cherries but I got curious. One bite took me back to the Philippines and back to my summer years with duhat abound. You mentioned that the lipote or igot is another type of duhat or a cousin or something. My parents have both trees. The large duhat and the tiny seedless duhat (lipote) as they call it. Apparently this year all their duhat and lipote trees were loaded with fruits that they were getting overiped. In Bataan, people only know to eat them fresh from the tree and they are not aware of the different things that can be done to the fruit. I will mention to my parents that they can be made into vinegar, jam or jelly. Thanks for the info.

  17. Rowena, you are welcome. If you are new to the site, there are nearly 1,200 posts in the archives, many of them Filipino recipes, produce, etc… Feel free to browse when you have the time.

  18. Thanks Market Man for the valauble information. Now I know the true name of this fruit. We have this Lipote tree in our house and we used to call it seedless duhat because no one in our family knows the real name of this tree. Our Lipote tree is so masipag in bearing fruits. Talagang madami kaya our neighbors and some friends would ask our permission if they can have some. Naku talagang puno yung mga plastic bags nila and hindi pa nakaka uwi eh they would eat the fruit na. The Lipote fruit is best eaten when it is cold. Just put it in a container with a little salt and shake it. Sarap. Now i can tell my husband and kids the real name of so called seedless duhat. Thanks Mr. MM.

  19. I’m from Bicol and quite fond of this fruit… I’d say this fruit is not that rare or endangered back home… but It’s hard to find a tree that bears “sweet” balig-ang… Most of the trees we come across when we were kids were always sour… :(
    These trees are seasonal… but I forgot what month they bear fruits..
    I finally now know the english name… Thanks… :)
    Bicol also has a very sour fruit tree we call “Hagis” that looks like cherries when finally ripe and a type of berry called “Laptukay”…

  20. hey guys, i need to know where can i find this lipote. Can you give me specific places in Philippines where I can find it?because I will be having a special problem about its anti oxidant content, it will definitely be a help if it’s just around southern tagalog region.thanx and God bless you all!

  21. Hi

    I am a serious fruit researcher and collector and I am interested to obtain a few seeds of this one. Willing to trade for other seeds or other stuff, or pay expenses!

  22. Wow, this is very interesting. I googled lipote but it doesn’t look like the tree in front of our house that bears purple round fruits that are similar to blueberry. We avoid parking our car under the lush leaves because once the fruits fall, they stain the car…difficult to remove. I wonder if this tree is lipote? Can somebody post a photo of the berries still on the tree? My brother who is a doctor into herbal medicine is trying to identify this tree. Thanks!

  23. In Cavinti,Laguna there are so many trees of Lipote,we harvest lipote every summer. and i remember when i was young
    i sell lipote every morning in town proper in Cavinti,and its ok to mix in lambanog.

  24. Very interesting reading. The Igot berry grows wild in Samar too, and I tasted it for the first time when I came here in 2007. It was very tart tasting, high in tanin and seems high in vitamin C. Being a wine maker of over 30 years, I decided to make a trial wine which turned out to be very good, much like a rich port wine except the alcohol was only 15% by volume, not 19% plus as you would have in a port wine made from grapes. This year I have made about 400 litres with an alcohol content of 12.5%, and currently having the product registered with the Department of Trade and Industry as my intellectual property, since no-one seems to have ever heard of Igot wine. My product will be going to Manila shortly for chemical analysis before being submitted to the Bureau of Food and Drugs. From there I hope to establish a commercial winery and welcome comments….but will of course keep my method of wine-making secret.

  25. I am growing igot plants for commercial plantation if anyone needs them, the plants grow from seedlings to one metre or so in one year in Eastern Samar. My plants are quite small yet so easily transported. P30 each plus freight, small or large quantities can be arranged

  26. Hello
    I am looking for Lipote seeds, please contact me, We can trade seeds or I can pay for them.
    Thank You

  27. Really very interesting post MM. It was years ago since I last tasted baligang.For me it doesnt taste like duhat, rather I find it to have similar taste with mangosteen. It looks like duhat but rounder. We have a tree planted in our yard in batangas, which my father brought from Bicol. It doesnt taste as good as the ones from bicol though, perhaps because of the difference in climate.

    But when the tree is in full bloom it really is a sight. Honey bees love the flowers and some pipits (hummingbirds?) visit too.The Baligang tree looks similar to a banaba, only that it has smaller leaves compared to the latter.

    Thanks MM for reminding us of our childhood days. It really evokes nostalgic memories.

    Perhaps you can do a post about Bulala. It is a fruit very similar to a rambutan but my cousins in Bicol swear that it is not the same.

  28. Am from Samar and igot definitely is a childhood favorite. As others have described, We muddle the fruit with sugar and a dash of salt in a tupperware and shake away. A blood-red juices oozes out and is incomparable in taste to any other fruit which i can only describe as tart-sweet with a lot of tannin taste.

    Hmm, igot berries compote with panna cotta?

  29. We call this fruit balaigang in Rinconada (Bato)in Bicol. This used to be very common tree until it started dying and for some reason the saplings did not mature. The fruit is very sweet when left to ripen in the tree until the color turned black.

  30. True, this is the only photo of this fruit I found online. Found this while reminiscing days in the province. I associate this one with summer. I lived in a largely Batangueno barangay in Camarines Sur, and there we called this “amhi” (phonetic spelling). Thanks for the visual. :)

  31. Igot or Amhi as we call it in Bicol. During Igot season you can get it for free as long as you are good in climbing trees.

  32. Hi it’s nice to hear regarding this fruit. We Call this in Paracale, Camarines Norte Maligang and we also have a maligang tree in paranaque. It’s quite sour but taste good once you shake it with salt or sugar. Is it really indigenous fruit?
    Thanks :)

  33. Hi guys.. we do have this kind of tree in our yard and its very huge right now its about 30 feet tall. before i dont have enough about this tree and its fruit but after searching it here i found out that this kind of fruit is rich in protein. anyway for those who want to see this tree and its fruit as well you can reach me through my email.. “” I’m from marikina area. thanks guys!

  34. I really enjoyed this post and all the comments. I grew up in Baler, Aurora (then Quezon) and eating lipote juggled in salt is a fond childhood memory. Thanks.

  35. haha! at last I found the english name of this fruit.I haven’t seen this fruit for my four years of stay here in Makati MM. And i can’t find manileños who know this fruit. We ended up debating for the similar one “Duhat”. By the way, I’m hailed also from southern luzon (bicol) Daet is my place we called it “Maligang” not far from the real name baligang. Thanks for this post. At least i could defend my side to them that i’m not referring to duhat.

  36. hey guys!we have this tree (lipote)in our backyard here in fairview.My mom plant it. because she said she used to ate it when she was young. it taste soury but when you shake it in with become sweet.this fruit is abundant in our province in pitogo, Quezon it season in may to july.

  37. I’m from Camarines Sur (Calabanga)and we call this amhi. Never knew some other names for this until I saw this post. Climbing our neighbor’s tree (w/ or w/o permission, LOL) is a fond childhood memory. I prefer adding salt while shaking it vigorously. Just watch out for the juice, it stains even your fingers. I am hoping to plant this tree and some other childhood trees that seem to be disappearing when we move back to the Philippines. Thanks for this post MM!

  38. I’m from Samar. We call it igot. We had a small tree in our yard, and there were huge igot trees in our neighbor’s yard. Its purple or bloody red juice may stain your clothes, and the stain is difficult or impossible to remove. I believe it has a very high antioxidant content or ORAC rating. We usually eat it with salt, or adding sugar and shaking it.

  39. I’m a graduating student in RTU here in Mandaluyong city and my thesis is about the lipote fruits but i have a certain problem because it’s hard for me to find a lipote fruits as my sample in my experiment. Guys please help me to find the lipote friuts a soon as possible so that i can start doing my papers and experiments. Thanks!

  40. Hi! I really miss the taste of this delicious fruit “baligang”. We usually eat this with salt and sugar and were normally available in the market of Polangui, a town in Albay, Bicol Region. Anyone who knows where to buy this fruit now? Thanks!



Subscribe To Updates

No spam, only notifications about new blog posts.