20 September 2011
Less than two years ago, my trusted staff, May came back from her province of Léyte hand-carrying a banana seedling with a trunk already as big as her torso. She said it is a banana type that we don't have in the farm; one can tell by the leaves alone as it has random reddish variegations on it. They call it tindôk, and she proceeded to plant it by week's end.
Months passed and it slowly grew in height and girth. You know how it is when you wait for something and it takes even longer; as the saying goes, "a watched pot never boils." But one weekend, it finally produced a blossom and it got us all worked up, "watching the pot" again until the blossom becomes fruit all the way until its ripeness.
I myself was curious as I had no clue how it will look and taste; May is a lady of few words and a lot of times, she would purposely not talk much about things so as not to make me even more anxious. But when the banana fingers started to emerge from the blossom (above), it turns out they're very big!
Weeks passed and the fingers became even more stout and reddish colorations started to appear on the skin (below). But it was still a pretty long wait of yet a couple more weeks before the entire buhîg was almost mature.
A practical tip, one that I picked up through time from the locals: until the banana trunk has stopped producing new leaves, or better yet when all its leaves are almost wilted and dry, that's the only time the fruits have reached its full maturity.
But in this tindok's case, some of the bananas' skin started to break already! We excitedly cut down the trunk and we were blessed with two bunches (pilîng) from this pilot tree. The trunk has also started to have suckers (súloy) which we have transplanted separately by now.
And they taste good! At first, it's a bit starchy compared to the bananas we're used to but by the taste and texture alone, these tindok bananas are obviously more nutritious and natural.
I've googled and learned that the English name for this variety is horn plantain. I just regret not photographing it next to something to give you a scale of how big each banana is. Can't do it any longer, we've finished the whole bunch :)