Harvesting mangoes is an art the requires precision and expertise.
Shifting from rows of mango trees with a long pole and a small basket hanging on its tip requires the right amount of effort to pick a single fruit.
If you are inexperienced at picking like me, sometimes it falls straight to the ground, and you end up hoping that the fall might not affect the fruit’s quality.
We got to experience harvesting mangoes right at the heart of Megaworld’s Mactan Newtown in Lapu-Lapu City.
“It was really the idea of our chairman to grow mango trees in the township because Cebu is best known for its mangoes,” said Noli Hernandez, Megaworld Cebu Properties Inc. president.
According to Hernandez, more than 200 mango trees were planted along the Newtown Avenue, the main road that traversed the property back in 2011.
After almost eight years, many of the mango trees have grown, producing fruits that are ready for the harvest in the months of May and June.
This year’s harvest have reached more than 10,000 kilos of mangoes.
Our pull was a bag of sweet treats, some still green; while others bought a bag-full of them at P60 per kilo.
As Megaworld successfully kicked off its two-day Mango Festival with the harvesting mangoes activities, the township is already in talks about bringing the festival to new heights.
Gelena Asis-Dimpas, Department of Tourism in Central Visayas (DOT-7) chief tourism operations officer, said she was hoping that for next year’s festival, Megaworld could coordinate with the mango growers in Cebu to incorporate the “farm-to-table” concept.
“We can pick mangoes from farms here in Cebu and introduce dishes to restaurants here in Newtown,” said Dimpas.
That way, it would not only promote mangoes but also help the local farmers as well in the city, said Dimpas.
Promoting urban gardening
With the growing amount of attention towards backyard gardening, the Department of Agriculture hopes that with the mango festival, Cebuanos can go back to the basics of growing produce right at home.
“We continuously promoted backyard gardening especially to the millennials and students because we need to start them young,” said Marina Hermoso, Department of Agriculture in Central Visayas (DA-7) director.
“We are not only contributing to the environment but also to ourselves because there is a sense of accomplishment when you are eating that you have grown,” added Hermoso.
With the continued cultivation of the mango trees, more fruits may be harvested for the annual “Mango Festival” as some trees have been strengthened considering the continued construction in some areas.
“We also have a group whose task is to take care of the mango trees,” said Hernandez.
He is also considering growing the festival into a major tourists attraction because of the popularity of the Cebu mangoes.
He also said that the progressive development could flourish hand in hand with tradition and culture that would surely be a boon to future residents and visitors of the township. /dbs