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Fruit trippin’ in Tupi

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You’ve heard of a “food trip,” right?  Usually that is like a road trip that somebody takes to go partake in food.  Like, maybe you would take a trip to Memphis to eat BBQ at a lot of Memphis BBQ places.  Well, not long ago, Aaron and I went “Fruit Trippin’.”  Yep, we went on a special trip just for fruit!

You see, a couple of weeks ago when we were in GenSan to visit the Blogfest and other activities in General Santos City, I wanted to take a trip to a place called Tupi, and Aaron came along with me.

Tagalog Buddy

Tupi is a small town that is about 45 minutes to an hour drive north of GenSan.  Fruit is king in Tupi.  The big employer in the area, practically the only business is the fruit business, and it’s headed up by Dole Philippines, the big fruit grower.  Dole is most famous for it’s pineapples, but they grow lots of other fruits too, and other products as well.  One of the things that Dole is getting more famous for is cut flowers too.  Another relatively large business in Tupi is called Kablon Farms, which makes fruit based products mostly.  Things like jellies and such, and they are made right there in little Tupi.

Back when we lived in General Santos City, from 2000 until 2002, Feyma and I used to enjoy taking a ride out to Tupi at least once per week to buy fruits.  You could find all of the fruits in the City, but in Tupi you paid about half the price, the fruit was fresher, and we enjoyed the road trip through the pineapple fields and other fruit orchards.  It was a nice family outing for us.

Because of my memories of our regular trips to Tupi, I wanted to make a fresh visit to the place.  Mostly just for the nostalgia of the trip, but also I thought it would make an interesting article here on LiP too.  Feyma, Aaron and I arrived in General Santos early on a Friday morning, and we had several meetings in the morning.  After that, Feyma wanted to go to Patag, Sarangani to visit the family farm and see some of her sisters there.  Aaron and I decided to take a bus ride to Tupi and visit the fruit stand.

The buses going to Tupi are not fancy like the bus that we rode to GenSan from Davao.  They are older buses, no air conditioning, and very basic.  But, that’s how the Philippines is, especially out in the Province, and we thought it was a nice adventure, so we caught the bus at the Bulaong Terminal in General Santos City, and northbound we went.  It had been a long time since I had been to the big fruit stand in Tupi, so I was hoping I could remember exactly where it was along the highway, so that I could tell the bus driver to stop and let us off!  Ha ha.. sure enough, after a while I saw the fruit stand pass by and I missed telling the driver to stop!  Oh well.  It was probably at least 2 Kilometers before we were able to get off the bus, so we caught a tricycle back to the fruit stand.  That tricycle ride was an adventure in itself, but that’s a story for another day.

When we got to the fruit stand it was pretty much just as I remembered it.  The only difference was that it had a few less products than before, perhaps because of the season, I can’t say for sure.  In the past, in addition to fruits, they also had some types of vegetables that were hard to find elsewhere.  One that I particularly remember was very good asparagus.  One of the nice things at the fruit stand in Tupi is that the fruit is so fresh!  After all, the fields where they grow the fruits are just beside the fruit stand, really the fields surround the fruit stand!  You can literally smell the fresh fruits in the air all around the town of Tupi, it’s so refreshing!

Aaron and I chose some fruit to buy and bring back to General Santos City.  One of the things I saw at the fruit stand was a sign for some “Super Sweet MG3 Pineapple.”  What the heck is that?  I never heard of MG3 Pineapple before, but we bought some to try it out.  It wasn’t any better than any other pineapple I’ve eaten in the Philippines, though!  We also bought some pomelo (one of my favorite fruits) and some papaya.  I was surprised at how inexpensive the papaya was (papaya is also a favorite of mine), just P7 per Papaya, and they were very large.  That’s only about 16 US cents per papaya!

Unfortunately, Aaron and I had a problem getting a ride back to General Santos, all of the buses that passed by were full!  Finally, though, a Van stopped and picked us up!  What an adventure!  We had a really nice time, good father and son bonding time, if you ask me.

When we got back to GenSan, we went immediately to our hotel, Sarangani Highlands.  The next morning, we had the staff from Sarangani Highlands cut up some of the fruit for us to enjoy for breakfast, and it was quite delicious!

The day we went fruit trippin’ in Tupi was a lot of fun for Aaron and I.  Brought back some memories of past trips to the place, and also made some new memories for both Aaron and I.  We’ll have to do it again soon!

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Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur. Bob is an American who lived in Mindanao from 2000 until 2019. Bob has now relocated back to the USA.

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Neal in RI
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Neal in RI

Bob
Excellent article, I can almost smell the fresh Pineapple. Great adventure and what is better than to be able to do it with your Son.
I hope you have some pics of you and Aaron packed into a Trike.

MindanaoBob
Guest

We really did have a great time, Neal! Unfortunately no pics in that tricycle, but we have other tricycle pictures together, though.

queeniebee
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queeniebee

Hi Bob, Tupi is a fruit lovers dream place! I always thought that Cebu had the corner on fruit, but I’m learning that it’s really Davao! Unbeliveable prices– I hope that you and Aaron brought alot home with you. Enjoy!

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Queenie – Down in this region, the real fruit haven is Kidapawan City. Over in Kidapawan, in August or September (timing depends on the harvest), they have a great fruit harvest festival. The entire main street in town is lined with tables of different fruits on each side of the road, and it’s all free for people to enjoy! Talk about a good price! 😆

queeniebee
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queeniebee

Hi Bob, That place would be a great fruittrip destination for sure!
Look Bob–I see that singkamas is at the fruit market in Tupi in your pic–it’s often eaten raw like a fruit but I think it really is a vegetable–turnip in English? Can be used both ways I guess..

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Queenie – Yeah, I agree that singkamas is not a fruit, but a veggie, but they sometimes have veggies there at the Tupi fruit stand, and singkamas are very popular in that area.

On a sidenote, I don’t think that singkamas is the same as turnips. I believe that they are jicama, which I believe is closely related, but different from turnips. Here is a reference, which says it is the same as “Mexican” turnips, but I don’t know for sure what that is compared to “regular” turnips.

queeniebee
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queeniebee

Bob, You’re right about singkamas being jicama or Mexican turnip. I just know it from the only simple Tagalog song that I can sing all the way through, “Bahay Kubo” that names all the vegetables sold in the sari-sari, and in it and singkamas is one of them:) On another thought–when I see roadside fruit venders on the way in to Cebu City, everything is piled high and looks very fresh and presentable. I’ve often wondered what happens to fruit that gets overripe if it doesn’t sell on a daily basis? There never seems to be any “old” fruit for… Read more »

queeniebee
Guest
queeniebee

Now I’m confused! Not sari sari store, but various or varied in Tagalog! duh..

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hmm… is Singkamas Tagalog? I never really thought about that. Is there a Cebuano name?

I don’t know where the “not so fresh” fruits end up… the juicing is what I would think, but it’s just a guess.

chasdv
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chasdv

Juicing would be my guess too.

gerard
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gerard

Hi Bob. Congratulations for winning the blog award. You deserve it. Expats and Filipinos living outside Ph get alot of helpful and fun info in your blog site. Yes, fruits in Mindanao around that area are abundant and cheap. The government should invest in the area developing agriculture, food production and agritourism… and really be very careful of going into open pit mining like the one proposed in Tampakan. Datu Paglas banana plantation is a good example how poverty in the area can be alleviated by proper agribusiness practices and management. I really am really leery with what Sagittarius Mining… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Thank you gerard! Nice to hear from you again, and I hope you are doing well.

Yes, although the fruit industry in much of Mindanao is already huge, there is still plenty of room for a lot of growth too. Many people don’t know that Mindanao is already the food basket of Manila, supplying up to 35% of the food needs of Manila. And, imagine how much larger it could grow if expanded and well managed!

Marcel
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Marcel

Small world… My wife will be delighted when I show her this article about her birthplace. We visit every year, her parents have a small farm there. It is nice quiet place…

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Marcel – Indeed, it’s a small world! I really like Tupi, it’s a nice little place to visit. Plenty of peace and quiet, which i like a lot!

Jim Hannah
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Jim Hannah

Hi Bob,

Sounds lovely. Looked up the MG3 thing on google out of interest. Nothing specific I found, but it seems to be a brand name, specific to the philippines. I’ll look out for the brand or type next time we buy pineapples.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Jim – Yep, it really was a nice trip. We had a lot of fun that day for sure. The MG3 tasted fine, but pretty much the same as other pineapples we’ve had here.

Jay
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Jay

I think we should call the Philippines the pinya capitol now. It is funny how people still associate Hawaii with pineapple. In fact not much pineapple is grown here now. We saw a more pinya in Tagatay during our recent trip to PI and it seems a lot is grown down south as well.

MindanaoBob
Guest

The two really big areas for growing pineapple in Mindanao are GenSan/South Cotabato and Bukidnon. Dole grows in GenSan. Del Monte grows in Bukidnon. Their fields are really vast in each case.

sugar
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sugar

Hi Bob – Good morning to you! The kind of trip I like.. food trip! Kinda gets boring here in Manila. What I like in the provinces you can find different fruits at a cheaper price, plus they look fresh.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi sugar – Good morning to you too! 🙂 You know, it’s been a long time since I was in Manila, but I remember last time I was there, I was at Greeenhills mall. There used to be a fruit stand there, maybe it is still there, I don’t know. The prices were like 3 or 4 times the prices here in Mindanao, and the fruit was not as fresh either! I was in shock when I saw that!

peter
Guest
peter

Hi Bob, I spent 2 weeks in Gensan and just arrived back in Australia, I was amazed at the quality and diversity of fruit and vegetables available. I was taken to Polomolok where i tasted the best pineapple ever! I will be back in March for a much longer stay.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi peter – I remember the first time I ate pineapple in the Philippines. It was totally unlike any pineapple I had ever eaten. Sweet, not bitter. I was shocked, and I love the pineapple here! I’m glad you enjoyed your visit!

Lea
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Lea

Food trip + father-son bonding? You can’t beat that! It’s been a long time I’ve been to Tupi . I remember going to Kablon Farms in our school field trip. The farm was huge because I remember doing a lot of walking there. That’s where I first saw passion fruit. 🙂

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Lea – You’re right… you can’t beat it, especially the father-son bonding opportunity! I had a lot of fun with Aaron, and I could tell that he enjoyed it too! All the great fruits just add to the experience!

PapaDuck
Guest
PapaDuck

Bob,

Glad you could spend some time with Aaron. It’s always a great experience. Those fruits really look good, especially the pineapples. Theres one fruit i know you wish they had. Cherries lol! Thanks so much for sharing your Fruit Trip. Have a nice day.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi PapaDuck – you know.. I don’t miss cherries that much, but when I wrote that article I had been having a time when I did have a craving for them! 😆 They have great fruit here, but I do miss cherries sometimes, and I often miss berries of different kinds like blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and such. You know, PD, it’s always greener on the other side of the fence! 😉

sugar
Guest
sugar

Bob, you mentioned different kind of berries, which I super like! 🙂

Do you know of province where they grew those? or the ones we see in the grocery stores come from different countries? Our farmers should grow those! 🙂

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi sugar – I know that strawberries are grown in Mountain Province and Bukidnon. The other berries are not grown in the Philippines as far as I know.

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