The Philippines ranks among the top 5 banana exporters in the world. In the southern province of Davao del Norte which boasts of the largest banana industry in the country, banana exports constitute the largest economic contributor. Bananas are also widely grown elsewhere in the country. In our old family home in Baguio City, we had several banana trees in our garden.
It is of no surprise that in a country that celebrates a multitude of occasions — from harvest seasons to feasts of patron saints — there are several banana festivals held in celebration of the abundance of this fruit. In the provinces of Oriental Mindoro, Negros Occidental and Davao del Norte, banana festivals are held between March and July, featuring parades, street dancing competitions, beauty pageants, cook fests and other celebratory activities.
In the Philippines, bananas are popular as street food in the form of skewered and sweetened “barbecues.” Bananacues, they are called. The variety of banana used is the Burro banana which is round and has squared-off ends. Burro bananas are more rectangular in shape than Cavendish banana. When ripe, the skin is yellow with black spots. The flesh is creamy white and has a tangy, almost lemony flavor. It is this same variety that is used for the Filipino turon, or fried banana egg rolls.