BURGOS, Ilocos Norte, Aug. 8 (PIA) – Since “dragon fruit” is a low-maintained plant, many Ilocano households here cultivate their own “dragon fruit “ backyard gardens.
Like the famous Ilocano vegetable “Malunggay”, the cactus-like plant can be seen growing around Ilocos Norte villages including school compounds.
It is now becoming the new generation of Ilocano’s most treasured fruit since Ilocos Norte became the Dragon Fruit capital of the Philippines.
To “dragon fruit” growers, the wonder fruit has contributed to their agricultural industry and has become one of their best livelihood sources.
Ilocanos describe the fruit as “vine of life” because of the benefits it can provide from its fruits to stem and even its skin flesh.
Among the products that farmers and entrepreneurs have developed from it range from ice cream, jam, wine, vinegar, tea, cookies, pastries and soap bars.
The legend of this fruit started in 2005 when the farmer-turned-entrepreneur Edita Dacuycuy raised a few dragon fruit plants in one corner of her residential lot solely to have an alternative cure for her daughter’s constipation disorder, a condition common to patients with cerebral palsy.
Since then, Dacuycuy began cultivating the fruit in her backyard until words spread of the fruit’s curative effect.
She later turned to growing more dragon fruit in her family’s agricultural land in Burgos town and put up Refmad Farm which is both a plantation and a showcase of the healing fruits’ byproducts.
Today, Ilocanos make stable extra income out of growing Dragon Fruit in their backyards.
The fruit commercial price has become cheaper nowadays compared before especially during peak harvest season from May to November.
To further promote the fruit and its by-products, the provincial government in coordination with other government agencies and organizations have institutionalized an annual dragon fruit festival held every month of July.
The festival highlights how the Ilocanos are benefited from growing the so-called “golden fruit” in Ilocos Norte. (Cherry Joy D. Garma/ PIA1-Ilocos Norte)