Friday, September 03, 2010

Exotic fruits flood Sulu province

Exotic fruits, among them durian, are now flooding in the southern Philippine province of Sulu as peace and order continue to improve as locals prepare for the celebration of the Hari Raya festival, says Sulu Governor Dr Sakur Tan. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

SULU, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Sept. 3, 2010) – Exotic fruits are now flooding in the southern Philippine province of Sulu as peace and order continue to improve as locals prepare for the celebration of the Hari Raya festival.

Among the fruits that are bountiful now in Sulu are durian (Durio zibethinus), mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) and lanzones (Lansium domesticum) and farmers sell them at low prices that locals now are feasting on homemade jams.

Local officials attribute the bountiful harvests to the stable peace and security situation in Sulu, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.

“Peace and order is very good. The security situation is excellent and trade and commerce are alive. Farmers enjoy the bountiful harvests and we have tons and tons of fruits – durian, mangosteen, lanzones among others,” said Sulu Governor Sakur Tan.

He said farmers can freely harvest their fruits without fear of attacks from rebels or operations by government forces.

And because there are so much fruits in Sulu, a medium-sized durian now sells for as low as 10 pesos each while a kilo of mangosteen is peg at 5 pesos and lanzones at 3 pesos a kilo.

Traders in nearby Zamboanga City and Basilan province are hauling the fruits and resell them at higher prices. In Zamboanga, durian sells for as much as 100 pesos a piece. Some even send them to as far as Manila where eating durian is a luxury rather than a delicacy because of its expensive prices there.

Sulu durian is considered by many as the best in the Philippines because of its small seeds and sweet white and yellow flesh.

Locals are now preparing for the Islamic festival Eid’l Fitr. The festival, which falls next week, marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Eid’l Fitr is one of the highlights of the Muslim cultural and religious calendar. It is celebrated at the end of the fasting month or Ramadan, when the new moon is sighted.

The Malay words ‘Hari Raya' translate as 'Day of Celebration' or the ‘Festival of Breaking the Fast'. Muslims usually attend Eid prayers in mosque in the morning. The celebrations begin with the birth of the new moon of Syawal, the 10th month of the Islamic calendar.

The celebration will also coincide with the maiden flights of Philippine Air Lines to Sulu from Zamboanga City. Effective September 10, PAL flies between Zamboanga and Jolo three times a week on AirPhil Express-operated flights under our Code Share Agreement.

Sulu is located at the southernmost portion of the Philippines, lying between the Sulu Sea and Celebes Sea, and is composed of over 150 islands and islets.

It boasts of a number of fine beaches, one of which is the famous Tubbataha Reef, a 33,200 hectare underwater splendor frequented by divers all over the world. It was honored by United Nations in 1993 as the first natural site in the Philippines to be inscribed in the prestigious World Heritage List. (Mindanao Examiner)

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