Saturday, August 22, 2015

Freaky bananas that baffled local news media and agriculturists

I supposed that some of you heard or read the news of a banana tree with a buwig (bunch of fruits) that kept on growing and bearing fruits to the point that the hanging stalk grew so long it literally touched the ground
In 2015, the municipal agriculturist of Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan suggested not to eat yet the fruits as they still have to study to know why the banana bears this unusually long bunch of banana fruits. (Photo grabbed from the Youtube account of the GMA News and Public Affairs)
Yes, the  GMA News and Public Affairs through its GMA Dagupan station posted on GMA News Online's page and on Youtube last July 24, 2015. Posted was a news article  of GMA News TV's Balita Pilipinas they scooped from Santa Barbara, Pangasinan and titled as "Bunga ng puno ng saging, halos sumayad na sa lupa dahil sa dami." They even reported that the municipal agriculturist of Sta. Barbara told the owner of the banana plant not to eat yet the fruits so they could study and identify it.  Here is the entire texts of the GMA online news:

Agaw-pansin sa Santa Barbara, Pangasinan ang isang puno ng saging dahil hitik na hitik ito sa bunga na tinatayang abot na raw sa isang libong piraso.

Sa ulat ng GMA News TV's Balita Pilipinas nitong Biyernes, sinabing manghang-mangha ang mga nakakita sa puno dahil ngayon lang sila nakakita ng ganitong saging na sobrang dami kung mamunga.
 

Ang tangkay na pinagkakabitan ng mga bunga, halos sumayad na lupa at kasing taas na ng tao.

Kinailangan daw ilipat na ang bunga sa tabi ng kalsada para hindi makasagabal sa bakuran ng may-ari.

Sa dami ng bunga, ipinamimigay na lang daw ito ng may-ari. Pero iminungkahi ng municipal agriculturist, huwag itong galawin para mapag-aralan nila kung bakit napakarami ng bunga ng puno. -- FRJ, GMA News

In this country, sighting a super-long bunch of banana fruits can be considered a news and we cannot blame the municipal agriculturist, like most of us Pinoys and the GMA News, if he still has to study and find out what caused the banana to bear that unusually lengthy bunch of fruits. No doubt it amazed the GMA news scooper who probably thought that the banana was freak and phenomenal. 

The truth out there would tell us that the banana is no freak at all. The banana in the news was real but there is no need to study the supposed phenomenon. The owner and their neighbors can therefore enjoy the fruits as they desire  because what was thought as freaky is actually a natural phenomenon in our neighboring Asian countries.
The photograph shown here is not fake or photoshopped. Last year, this photo had a round of being shared thousands times in Facebook.

The bunch of banana fruits is genuine and can be found in various parts of South East Asia. In Malaysia and Indonesia they called this cultivar of banana as pisang seribu with a scientific name of Musa chiliocarpa. Pisang seribu is from the Malay words pisa, which means "finger," and seribu, which means  "thousand." Thus, pisang seribu is commonly called  as "thousand fingers"  in English. A cursory search in the net, such as in Google, would show lots of photos and articles featuring pisang seribu or the thousand fingers.

Yes, the pisang seribu bears a bunch of fruits that would continue to grow extra long, usually 8 to 10 feet tall, and sometimes it even reaches to the ground. The first set of sipi (a hand of banana digits) in the buwig (bunch) usually has large digits and the size diminishes down to the next bottom hands. The fruits are seedless, and although most of the digits are small in sizes, with an average size of 1 and 1/2 inches long, it is pleasantly sweet and flavorful.

In Vietnam, they called it chuoi tram nai. Chuoi is the Vietnamese word for "banana", tram is "100", and nai is "hand."

An online forum, the Bananas.org, once discussed  that thousand fingers has survived one cold winter in the north of Greece at 10°C and some parts of America.

This was not the first time that GMA News Oline (www.gmanetwork.com) reported this kind of banana. In 2013, the GMA News reported a 9-foot-long bunch of banana  fruits that surprised also the La Union agriculturists. 
In 2013, a 9-foot long bunch of banana fruits surprised the San Fernando City's Agriculturists and local news media.  (Photo credit to GMA News Online)
The San Fernando City agriculturist, Eduvijes Flores, even went to the site where the banana was seen and the fruit was examined by other agriculturists on July 10, 2013. The banana tree was planted by Lolita Abaigar and Virginia Miranda of Brgy. Catbagen in the capital La Union.

For those who asked if real freaky bananas do exist. Yes, there are occurrences that freak bananas was seen and documented in the Philippines, such as the following:
In 2012, this two bunches of banana fruits were seen hanging from a single banana tree. (Photo credit to Marinduque Rising)
Have you seen banana like the one shown in the photo above? Yes, the banana tree bears two bunches of fruits. Unlike the pisang seribu, this one is not a natural variety  of cultivar grown anywhere in the world.  This one was found in 2012 and was posted in Marinduque rising's blog on  September 17, 2012.
In 2011, this single bunch of banana fruits was found having a freaky 5 hanging hearts (puso ng saging). Photo credit to nansheeca's blog
 

Another freaky banana that once occured in the country was a bunch of banana fruit with FIVE hearts (puso ng saging ay lima). This was posted in nansheeca's blog on July 29, 2011, by Ms. Nancy Tibayan-Gonzales of Alfonso, Cavite. I'm inclined to believe that these photos of freak bananas are real and not photoshopped. Just like when I saw and touched the branching coconut tree in Mindanao just last May this year (see it here in my FB photos).

For the pisang seribu, you can read more about it in Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog or click or use this link: http://agro.biodiver.se/2013/03/pisang-seribu-in-the-limelight/


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Author of Philippine Food, Cooking, and Dining Dictionary. A lexicographer since the age of 14.  Filipino Linguist. Blogger with 11 blog sites. Researcher of food culture, pop culture, places, structures, transportations, churches and whatever interest him about the Philippines. Visual artist. Photographer. Traveler who had been to all four corners of the Philippine archipelago, and still setting more footprints. 

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