Durian: Davao’s King of Fruits

It is probably safe to say that you cannot talk about Davao without bringing up its infamous durian.  The large, spikey tropical fruit is notorious for its sulphuric stench, which is why many say that it “tastes like heaven, but smells like hell”.  Those who aren’t repelled by its smell however, enjoy its yummy, velvety flesh. Love it or hate it, tourists and locals alike are mesmerized by it.


Some fun trivia about this formidable fruit:

  • At least sixteen varieties of durian are produced in Davao. One of the oldest and most popular varieties is Arancillo, named after former BPI-PhilFruits Director Vicente Arancillo
  • In local folklore, it is said that durian is the staple food of the fairies and mystical spirits who guard Davao’s treasures.  With that, it follows that treasures are hidden where durian is abundant, but be careful not to anger the spirits.
  • You can find Davao’s biggest durian at the Davao International Airport, which is really a a giant durian statue made by Kublai. The sculpture depicts the tri-people of Davao: the Lumads, the Muslims, and the Settlers.
  • Apart from the usual candies and ice cream, there are places in Davao that stray from the usual fare and serve unusual durian products  like durian cappuccino,  durian cheesecake, and durian sans rival.
  • Despite the fruits’ foul odor, its leaves are actually very fragrant
  • The Durian is believed to have aphrodisiac qualities.
  • We know that durian is good for you, but did you know that it can actually improve your mood? The durian is rich with the amino acid tryptophan which alleviates anxiety, depression, and insomnia. It also raises the levels of serotonin in the brain, which creates feelings of euphoria.
  • Good news! Removing nasty durian smells is not rocket science. Simply put water in an empty durian shell, mix it up a bit, and you have a mixture you can use to gargle. You can also run tap water over the thorny durian shell and let the water rinse  over your fingers.
  • Worried about keeping durian in the fridge? Just leave a medium sized piece of charcoal in your fridge and let it sit for a few days to remove the smell. You can also try this with baking soda, lemon or lime peel, or pandan leaves.

Be sure to experience the durian when you visit Davao. It will certainly make for a memorable trip, because exotic fruit is definitely more fun in the Philippines!

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