Ark of taste
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Tabon-tabon is a tropical fruit, with scientific name Hydrophytune orbiculatum. The tree can grow up to 10 meters. It has elliptical evergreen leaves. The fruit is one-seeded fruit with a hard brown shell. When the fruit is cut in half, it has a brain-life pulp. The pulp and its sap are quite bitter and astringent, but when mixed with other ingredients the flavour easily blends. The fruit is sometimes mistaken for another fruit called chico, but tabon-tabon has a hard covering, whereas the chico has a soft one; its meat has brainlike appearance while the chico has smooth brown meat, and it only has one seed while the chico has several small ones.

The sap of tabon-tabon is used to take out the “fishy” smell and taste of the raw fish. It is mixed with other ingredients like vinegar, lemon or lime, onion and tomatoes. The sap of the pulp, when mixed with vinegar, turns white and creates a unique kind of sour-sweetness that is perfect for fresh fish. The mixture is then added to the diced raw fish as a marinade. This delicious native dish is what we call in our native tongue as “kinilaw”.

Aside from its culinary uses, the Tabon-tabon also anti-bacterial qualities that makes sure one won’t get indigestion or food poisoning from eating a raw fish. Tabon-tabon is rare and not spread outside Mindanao, is linked to local way of life. Tabon tabon showed a high value of phytochemicals and antioxidants and high anticancer potential. There has been studies about its extracts that can increase the platelets and therefore good for those who have dengue. Some folks believe that it has deworming properties.

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Northern Mindanao (Region X)

Production area:Misamis Oriental and Camiguin island

Other info


Fruit, nuts and fruit preserves

Indigenous community:Manobo (Bukidnon)
Nominated by:Wilfredo B. Gadrinab