Camiguin is a province island, north of Mindanao. It’s known for the sweet, succulent lanzones that looks like a full moon outside, quarter moons inside because of the fruit’s whiteness and translucence.
The day we arrived in the island, our host Grace invited us to help her parents harvest corn and lanzones. Mike and I agreed to work, thinking that this way we “pay” for our free food and accommodation.
During the lanzones picking, we were all just laughing. We didn’t plan how to reach the fruits so high up. Mike climbed the trees at first, then Grace’s Dad had to devise ways how to hand him the bolo to cut by the bunch instead of picking piece by piece. Later on, we decided to use the ladder.
We harvested enough to fill two baskets, which strained the boys’ muscles. Imagine how many kilos of juicy goodness are in here. The difficult part is, Tito’s Pajero was parked a kilometer away from the farm.
More grueling was the harvesting of corn. Grace and I were just watching his father, at first, pulling the corn from the plant, breaking it easily the way one breaks a twig in two. Next, he would step on the corn plant, fruitless and no longer of use in the Earth–down to the ground till it lies flat, all its magnificent height put in past tense.
When we were asked to do it, Grace and I decided that we will give the corn and corn farmers more respect from that day forward. My arms and legs were full of scratches and insect bites when I emerged from the corn field. Grace seemed to have a burning face from sheer minutes of picking and trampling on the dry plants of the island of seven volcanoes.
The next day, we were shown around the farm of their balikbayan friend from the US. The Ponciano’s farm is well-manicured, I have to say, with grafted lanzones trees and flowers planted around.
This experience is definitely one for the books, thanks to Grace and her cheerful parents.