george josef kamel, s.j. drawing of bakiling
It's been a while since I blogged. My laptop went through a lifestyle check, now its functioning smoothly as ever. Also been busy with lots of things, including finishing assemblages for a group show in late October or early November. But am here again with the addition of a new blog.
Bankiling [Cicca acida (L.) Merr, Syn. Phyllantus acidus (L.) Skeels, Syn, kagindi, poras (Visayan), Karmay (Tagalog), Malay gooseberry (English)
I’ve always associated this very sour fruit with visits to my mother’s hometown, Capiz. There every summer we would gather bankiling fruits from the huge tree that grew in an aunt’s garden. Occasionally, the fruit would be sold in the local market, but more often than not it was the tree growing in an aunt’s back garden that was the object of childhood avarice. The fruit is so acidic that a childhood dare was to chew a mouthful of this six to eight-lobed drupe and make the craziest grimace or else to masticate the fruit stoically without showing any reaction. The pale yellow fruit grew in bunches just as Kamel draws it.
The tree is small growing between three and ten meters. It has small light green or reddish flowers. I have not seen bangkiling in the markets of Manila or Luzon, its more associated in my memory with the Visayas. Because it is acidic it is not a very popular fruit and may perhaps be going extinct for lack of cultivation. Not a pleasing fruit, nonetheless it is the stuff of memories.