Pride in the Philippine mango
MANILA, Philippines - The mango is regarded as one of our national symbols and one of the products our country is known for.
In a place in Mandaue City, Cebu, the mango is celebrated. This place is called Profood Gallery where the mango takes center stage.
The Profood Gallery office — it’s the company behind Philippine Brand Dried Mangoes — is nicknamed Mango Museum. Here, they show how the fruit is cultivated and processed. The place is also open to the public and attracts many tourists, especially those who come from countries where the mango is scarce or expensive, like Korea.
The first thing that guests will notice is how an entire wall is dedicated to showing just how far the carabao mango has come. A map depicts how the mango is currently being exported to at least 45 countries all over the world.
Take a few steps and a life-sized diorama comes into view. It shows the process of how mangoes are cultivated prior to being shipped to the factory for processing.
Mango trees live for up to 100 years and are propagated either naturally or through grafting. Grafting produces a faster harvest but a smaller yield, so mango cultivators typically have a combination of both grafted and naturally propagated trees in their orchards.
The trees are given flower inducers to promote faster fruit growth, as well as government-sanctioned fungicides and pesticides to protect the fruit from being damaged by pests and disease. Once mangoes reach a particular size on the branch, they are wrapped in bags or newspapers for protection.
To prevent bruising, mangoes are typically harvested by hand just when the fruit is about to ripen. Fruits harvested too late usually arrive at the factory overripe and too soft to be processed into dried mangoes. But, since nothing can go to waste, these mangoes are processed into fruit puree.
The entire process is shown on video in a modestly-sized theater large enough to accommodate tourists traveling in a group. As mentioned earlier, the Mango Museum is popular among Korean tourists; some of them are surprised to find that mangoes grow on trees.
All sorts of mango trivia are also showcased, even the ways they are eaten: either sliced and diced into cubes, sliced into 3 parts with the seed in the middle, or simply peeled and chomped on with all the mango juices dripping down one’s hands and wrists.
The video is followed by a tour in the 17-hectare factory. As the saying goes, it’s where the magic happens: the factory tour is an awesome display of massive methodicalness. Like clockwork, hundreds of workers peel and slice mangoes by hand before sending the sliced fruit for pasteurization, drying and packing.
The factory produces other mango products, like purees or fruit concentrate and candies. Depending on the season, they process other kinds of fruit like the coconut and pineapple.
Even the tracking is so precise. You can track where a bag of fruit was grown and whose hands the product passed through before shipping — all from a single barcode.
At the end of the tour, guests may find their way to a shop where they can purchase Profood products, other Filipino delicacies and souvenirs from different parts of the Philippines. - Rappler.com
Mango Museum is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. It is located at V. Albano Street, Maguikay, Mandaue City. Telephone number: (032) 346 1228.