Sunday, August 12, 2012

Interesting Find | Danao's “Hebi Fruit"

Yesterday was Pasigarbo sa Sugbo, another milestone annual event I failed to watch (just like Sinulog) in my five years of stay here in Cebu. Good thing I was able to catch the last day of One Cebu Expo in Cebu International Convention Center this morning. And just like my favorite hangout places (palengke and supermarkets), flea market is the next on the list. Glad I met some owners who tend organic gardens and sells culinary herbs (check my next post), but one thing that amazed me is this fruit displayed in the booth of Danao City.

This is my first encounter with "Hebi." The size is like your average green mangoes, and it tastes like a crossover between a green mango and guava. It does not have the tartness of the mango but it is much enjoyed dipped in rock salt when eaten. It has the same "crunch" as that of freshly picked green mango when eaten. According to the locals who manned the booth, this fruit tree is only found in Danao City. When I asked them if this is used in local culinary, they've mentioned it is used as souring agent for tinuwa (clear fish soup) and inun-unan (paksiw) , and even kinilaw (raw fish salad cooked in vinegar).

Closely looking at the picture, it resembles sineguelas (Spanish Plum). Note the shiny skin and the green lines running from tip to tip that somewhat divides the fruit into quarters. And the sour taste even resembles that of an unripe sineguelas fruit.
I bought two pieces at P5.00 each (that cheap!). At home, I cleaned, skinned and sliced it just like when you are slicing a green mango. The flesh is more of a creamy yellow, with a hard pith at the core, I suspect the seeds (but could not find any that resemble as its seed). The flesh is not as fibrous as that of mango, but the pith has remarkable overgrown strong fibers. I carefully removed the hard inner core and indulge on this new-found fruit.  

This is how the seedling looks like, note the leaves resembles that of a Neem Tree (Azadirachta Indica), pointed and shiny. It grows as big as mango trees.

When the seedling was introduced to me, I suspected I have eaten the fruit back when I was in my hometown in Gensan. The tree has the same leaves as shown in the photo, but the fruits are just my thumb's size, grows in bundles, and does not grow as big as the Hebi Fruit

Quite interesting, hope anyone can tell me what fruit tree is this one. I couldn't find any material related to this posted online.


  1. The leaves look like those of a neem tree. Anyway, the fruit is "hebi", pronounced heavily in Bisdak (hee-bi!). It's not a common fruit found in the local markets, but my father and my grandfather knows about it as herbal. That's just about what I know. :)

    1. lamian kaayo ani... nagapangita ko ani hantud karon pero wa nay nagtanum ata ani :(

  2. Thanks Nance, I know you are a true blooded Bisdak, glad this fruit tree is confirmed as HEBI (her-bi!). Hope RAFI has some literature about this tree. If this is really endemic, then we should plant more of this tree!

    I bet this will add a good dimension in fresh salads...or maybe can be pickled too.


  3. thanks for this article about hebi fruit.. i had my first bite/encounter of this fruit this morning and i was sooooooooo curious abt this fruit so i search in the web and i found this article.. i really want to know it's real name and scientific name.. it's benefits and even its contraindications or side effects.. if it's herbal, i would really patronize it coz i like the taste.. it taste more resemblance with singkamas.. and i like singkamas

    i dpped the peeled sliced hebi fruit in venigar with salt just like wat i'm doing with singkamas..

    this fruit is grown anywhere here in mindanao, more likely seen in cotabato province, davao city and davao del norte province..

    hope you can provide me more information about this fruit

    1. One of the objectives of this blog is to document ingredients that grows abundantly in our country but few has paid attention, made no mention, and not even used in our day-to-day cooking. Thank you for commenting and hope this will reach to the hands of our local experts.

      Good to know that it also grows in Mindanao, it only means this specie is scattered in VisMin. No worries, once I have some information will post it here.

  4. i've seen this hebi fruit in Bulacan,a certein mang Benito who is a fond collector of rare fruit trees has many of these dwarf trees.It is a variety of our local siniguelas,if i am not mistaken mang Benito brought this siniguelas variety from his trip in Malaysia some years ago.The seedlings grows in maturity in just about a year and ready to yeild its bountiful fruits that resembles mangoes.i have 3 seedlings right now,and some seeds that awaits to sprout.I myself is a miracle fruit grower here in Bulacan..

  5. Looks like Brunei mango ;)


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