durian

How to stuff your nose with durian

It might stink but it sure is heaven. Arancillo variety of durian

Simple. Fly or travel to Davao and upon arriving stuff your nose with the smell of durian. During the months of August – October, the air in Davao is perfumed with this fruit. It’s all over the place. From parks, to malls, to streets. It might be a stinking city for the uninitiated but for durian lovers, it is heaven.

When I stepped out of the plane from Iloilo, my nose was deliciously assaulted with the smell of durians. Sweet, diluted and faintly distinct but just enough to whet my appetite for this king of the fruits that it was also a factor in goading me to head out straight to Blugre to have their durian infused coffee as my visit’s appetizer. Every where I go, there were vendors along the sidewalk piling up their wares with prices per kilo at just P20 or P25!

Cracking the fruit entails some skill

Yes, it's that cheap at just P25 per kilo. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Durian is just two things: either you hate and curse it or you love and crave and wax poetic about it. It can be a source of bitter sibling rivalry as you plot to have all to yourself the last piece of fruit cooling in the refrigerator.

There are a lot of varieties to chose from. Malagkit is native and many swear by its taste. Small, pale white and less flesh compared with the hybrids, its still a good alternative and quite cheap. Then there are the imported ones developed in Thailand. Chanee is popular but I just don’t like it. The fruit is oversized but lacks the creaminess and sweetness that I enjoy from the others. Of course, there’s D24 which I first tasted in Malaysia; Arancillo, which can sometimes be bitter sweet; puyat the best I’ve tasted and others that are too many to mention.

I’m not sure if the durian mystic is brought about by its reputation, heck, there’s even a saying:

When the durian falls, the skirts go up

or

It smells like hell, tastes like heaven

but when I first tasted it 11 years ago in this city, I wasn’t satisfied with just one. I ate two pieces of medium sized fruits. Either I was just so hungry or I was put into its deadly spell.

On my last day in Davao, I found myself at the Bangkerohan market buying mangosteen and pomelos that I need to bring back to Manila. I was still craving for durian, an effect of having found the bittersweet taste of the Arancillo I ate the previous night wanting. Can’t help with the fruit just being piled around the fruit stall, I ordered one medium sized durian. Had it split open, took my seat, tore open and gobbled and then licked my fingers and gobbled again the sweetest, creamiest tasting puyat durian I’ve tasted in my life.

This trip was made possible with my win in the Wandering Juan Travel Blog Awards, Culture and Heritage Category. Visit the official site.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

8 Comments

  1. ibyangerts
    September 17, 2010 @ 12:31

    Durian has the best stink ever and there’s nothing like eating durian in the streets of Davao! I know I’m home when its intoxicating smell greets me at the airport. I think it has become the charm of our city. 🙂

  2. thepinaysolobackpacker
    September 17, 2010 @ 13:49

    wow! ang mura naman!? Php20-25 lang! I can imagine na takam na takam ka tlga sa durian when I read the last sentence “gobled and licked my fingers and gobbled again…”! 😀

  3. Jenn
    September 25, 2010 @ 23:45

    I too would probably gobble and lick my fingers and gobble again. This post makes me want to hop on a plane to Davao right now for that durian fix. 🙂

  4. Lois
    October 28, 2010 @ 15:59

    I miss durian! That’s a tasty looking photo you got there! Now I’m craving..

  5. estan
    October 28, 2010 @ 18:25

    @lois, barato pa jud kaayo na. P25 lang 🙂

  6. Lois
    November 2, 2010 @ 13:14

    Mao jud. Kanus-a pa kaha ko makabalik 😉

  7. Deivid
    August 12, 2012 @ 11:23

    Hi Estan. This is Deivid Rioferio of Smart, with the Calayan team-haha! While reading this blog for my bro’s homework, I thought of Aling Maty’s Tapsilog, you might be interested to blog about it. I think, since the 80’s it’s been in Don Galo, Parañaque, along Quirino Ave. There are three branches on the same avenue, just five to 10 meters away from each other. Sarap!

  8. estancabigas
    August 12, 2012 @ 15:13

    Deivid, thanx! will try to visit that 🙂

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