As a kid growing up in the La Loma North Cemetery where various fruit trees were abundant in the 1960s, he was very familiar with it. "We would climb up the Mabolo trees and harvest the red, furry fruit in summer," he said fondly.
Mang Kardo told me lots about herbs and plants in the Philippines and Asia which abound in the cemetery. It was his fruits and herbs haven then.
Mabolo's furry skin sometimes causes itchiness, and the red color can stain clothes. So be careful when you pick or handle the fruit or peel it. After peeling, you see the beige color of the eatable fruit inside. It looks like an apple but smells like banana. It crackles a bit like an apple when you bite into it.
Plant science calls it Diospyros blancoi, but old folks in Deep Asia simply call it Mabolo. The mature tree produces very hard quality wood known in the Philippines as Kamagong and is suitable as a native bolo knife handle, probably thus the name "Mabolo." But, is Mabolo good for herbal remedies to treatment ailments?
The Mabolo leaves and bark are considered natural herbal remedies, good for getting rid of some stomach pains, cough, skin ailments, fever, dysentery, and diarrhea. Some folks claim the same is good for diabetes, heart problems, and high blood pressure.
The fruit itself is considered a herbal fruit. It can help nourish the body so it can heal itself naturally. This is possible by providing us with Vitamin B, protein, iron, and calcium. The fruit is also mixed in fruit juices by dicing it to pieces, or as food dish or stew ingredient.
One day, I finally saw Mabolo at the wet market I always passed by in Frisco in Quezon City when I was in High School. I bought some and ate the fruit for the first time. It was good. That settled the question in my mind: Is Mabolo good? Indeed, it is.
Though a fruit, I thought of featuring it here as among herbs and plants in the Philippines and Asia considered as all-natural herbal medicine. More people should learn about it.
The fruit is abundant in the months prior December but is also sometimes available in summer. In some posh and popular supermarkets, they sell it all year round. Not many in Deep Asia, even in Manila, are familiar with it, and many more have not tasted the fruit.
They don't know what quality nutrition they have missing in their lives.
Is Mabolo good?
As a teenager hearing about the fruit for the first time in my life, I asked this question to Mang Kardo, our property caretaker.