Photo by Marvin Molin

Antidesma bunius is a fruit tree from the family Phyllanthaceae and commonly called Bignay in the Philippines.

I first encountered Bignay in Los Banos, Laguna during a fieldwork class in Mt. Makiling. At that time, I did not know much about the tree since the one I saw was not fruiting yet.

Photo by Grant Barraquias

My second encounter with Bignay was at home in Paranaque in Metro Manila. I opened the refrigerator and saw a small jar which had the words Bignay Jam printed on it. Being hungry, I ate the jam with bread. I would describe the jam as tarty with a sweet sour taste. It’s definitely a different taste from the usual sweet strawberry jam I was used to.

The third Bignay encounter was during a visit to a biodiversity farm in San Pablo, Laguna. They shared the story of how they would harvest fruits of Bignay from the trees they have around the farm. The Bignay fruits are then processed into a special wine. My friends and I were able to taste the wine during our visit to the place.

Photo by Johannes Pelayo

The fourth encounter and most recent was buying a postcard set which surprisingly featured an illustration of the Bignay fruit. Through the art, I was able to find out that Bignay is considered a native Philippine tree!

Looking back, these unexpected encounters with Bignay made me appreciate the tree even more. Discovering the variety of ways to enjoy its fruits from food to art was a unique experience I am thankful for.

Grant Barraquias is a graduate of BS Forestry, Major in Social Forestry from the University of the Philippines Los Banos. Currently, she is an intern for NTFP-EP Asia. With a variety of hobbies and interests, she loves reading and listening to stories and being in both the great outdoors and the warm indoors. From blue sea to blue sky, from deep sea to deep sky, a child of the Universe she is.

#WildFoodStories is a co-initiative of NTFP-EP Asia and the Swedish International Agriculture Network Initiative.

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