School is about to start and it brings back memories of end of summer days when I just had to climb that Lomboy (Duhat) tree to eat the few remaining fruits.
Sitting on one of its branches and stuffing all the ripe duhat into the pockets of my shorts or rolled shirt and begging the Gods to please extend summer so I could still have Lomboy. And also begging for the laundry woman to not get mad when she sees the purplish blue stains on my shirt.
The fruits of the Lumboy or Duhat in Tagalog (Java or Black Plum in English), mature in late May or the last days of summer. Its fruits are fleshy, oblong-shaped and dark purple to nearly black in color when ripe. It can be eaten outright or plucked, washed then placed in a container and sprinkled with salt. The salt takes out the bitter taste and brings out the sourness and sweetness of the Lumboy. Its single seed can be used as planting material but who cared during those days? After eating the flesh, we discarded the seeds and threw it just anywhere.
My mom used to make wine from Lumboy but only she got to taste her concoctions. I later learned that there was indeed Duhat wine sold commercially on a small scale. Seeing the wine brought back Duhat memories.
I have been on the lookout for Lumboy ever since entering college way back in the late 80’s. Summers have been spent scouring markets and fruit stands for the now hard to get by Lomboy. Farmer friends have told me that most of the trees have been cut down already and Lomboy production, though not commercial even in my childhood, has gone down a great deal.
This summer of 2012, I asked a farmer friend if he had Lomboy and he said, the trees are still small and may flower and bear fruit in two years or more. I’m looking forward to the harvest. I might just get to climb the tree and sit on its branch and eat Lomboy again J