Hog Plum and the Bikolano kitchen

There are claims that the Bikolano kitchen is dominated by “natok” (coconut milk;  or “gata” in Tagalog) and “lada” (chili pepper) . Even rice is cooked with coconut milk (the dish is called “binutong” in Albay) while noodles are usually eaten with pepper. Panama na sana kan Korean-Chinese noodles na Jjamppong.

The claims, however, are not always true. May mga Bikolano na habo ki maarang asin igwa man na dai naaako kan tulak an ma-natok na pagkaon. Kaya an kadaklan mahilig sa may sabaw lalo na sa cocido. Mala ngani na an iba, napag-adalan kun paano ikonektar an saindang kusina asin natad. Proof: Utilizing the fruits of trees like santol and guava, andthe leaves of libas or lubas (Scientific name: Spondias Pinnata) known in English as “hog plum” or “common hog plum”.

Lubas is a tree  growing to as tall as” 25 meters and a diameter off (sic) about 60 cm. Bark surface is smooth, with irregular cracks, greyish to pale reddish brown, exuding a clear, sticky sap with a turpentine smell. Leaves are alternate, pinnately compound, 20 cm or more in length. Leaflets are pointed at the apex, rounded or abruptly pointed at the base, 7 to 14 cm in length. Flowers are small and in panicles. Fruit is rounded, yellow, a one-seeded drupe, with a finely flavored, edible pulp.” It is common in lowland areas and primary forests and are usually planted as fence posts or for shades.

Hog Plum or "Lubas" (Spondias pinnata)

The wood of lubas is also utilized for temporary construction, mouldings, carvings, interior finish and even as core stock of plywood and pulp. However, because the wood is soft and light, libas is more suitable in the manufacture of matchsticks, matchboxes, boxes and crates.

Both the young leaves and the fruits of lubas are edible. But because of its sour taste, lubas leaves are used as ingredient in fish and meat stew. (See sinigang sa buko.)  Lubas leaves are also used as fillings for sinanglay, a fish delicacy; or as a major ingredient in gulay na santol (santol cooked in coconut milk) or gulay na layang natong (dried taro leaves). The fruits, meanwhile, can be eaten raw or can be made into jams, jellies and juices.

The use of lubas leaves are common especially in the rural areas and is almost a part of the rural kitchen table. But while  many enjoy the taste of lubas, only a few knows its medicinal values. Researchers had shown that the leaves, the bark and the fruit contain medicinal properties that can be used to treat wounds, sores and burns.  The leaves also contain anti-toxin elements and studies are now being done on how to use the same to treat cancer.

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11 thoughts on “Hog Plum and the Bikolano kitchen

  1. nice article…interesting boboy…but as a bikolano, specks as an albayano, it will be hard to believe that i can eat “manatokun na gulay na natong na mairabun” together with a sinigang or a cocido..it’s hard to because if you do (ok, u try), you’ll have to run to the well, nearest cubicle, cr, or palikuran almost always (as in, casi siempre!)…an lubas dai naman pd pang ihalo sa gulay na santol ta maalsumon na an, it’s like cooking tomatoes with lemon…double jeopardy (ouch!) for our very discriminating palate….kaya ngani maski ako saen na nakaduman…tataohununonon pa man tabi ako magluto kan talagang anything that’s purely bicolanos….ika narumduman mo pa daw su linuto ni papa germz na tuna carbonara!!!!! har har har har

    see yah babes!!!!

    • salamat sa pagbisita. i tasted santol with lubas in one barangay in Legazpi. I don’t know what they did pero bako masyado maalsom. Siguro pinaga su santol para mabawasan an alsom. Hinaluan ki tinapa, pinalana-lana, and presto! Piyesta!

  2. Narumduman ko an lubas…orihinal an na panrekado sa kinonot samuya sa Tiwi. An kinunot kaya samuya, an sira na pambangot pating(kun daing pating, mosi).

    Kaya nganing mahale an lansa kan sira, lubas an panrekado. Alternatibo an suwa kun daeng lubas.

  3. taga ciudad nin Naga tabi ako, pinangaki, nagtalubo, nag adal asin naka agom nin taga Naga, kaya purong bikolana po. narumduman ko ang sakong ama, nag luluto ning inalsuman karneng vaca an verdura ugob tapos hinaluan ning ugbos lubas. maalsom, mainit ang sabaw masiramon. yaon ako ngunyan naka istar sa USA pero grabe na ang sakong kapungawan sa pagkakan ning puro asin authentic na lutong bikolano. nag tataga luto man digdi kan mga bikol dishes pero miss ko pa man giraray ang Naga. 🙂 maray na aldaw tabi saindo gabos dyn.

  4. ive been scouring the net for the english equivalent of Lubas.. marhay na lng po ta nakua ko ining saimong blog..Now i can proudly say na aram ko man giraray ang english kan lubas, hahaha! Thanks a lot sir!

  5. dios marhay na aldaw or banggi sa indo gabos.gikan po ako sa pamplona.masakit ng hanapon yang lubas.sa bikol.pero naka sumpong ako ning lubas sa nueva ecija.kong sain ako ngonyan naka istar.kaya igwa ako kayan ning tanum.sa natad.masiram talaga ang alsom.lalo na sa butobuto

  6. Mar hay na banggi! Naguiromduman ko si Tatay. Tag a luto Siya sa mga kasalan, kumpleanyo, o may nagadanan. Libre, dai siya nagpapabayad, Pero, pagaabot Miya sa harong, si may pa handa pinapadarahan si Tatay kan pata. Niluluto yan kan ama ko na paksiw na may tubas sa ka dakul na black pepper. An lubas hale yan sa tanom sa natad. Aba anang siram lalo na with mainit na maluto. Maski mauran, pwerte an kakan. Taga San Fernando ino, pero sa Camarines Sur, bakong La Union.

  7. nakanamit ako ning ginutaang lubas sa Hayward. garo man lang siya natong. pero ang tanda ko kani piglalaag sa laog kang baboy bago ilitson para bakong malangsa. As a matter of fact, just had lechon which made me curious to search for lubas.

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