Philippine succulent mangoes are among the well patronized products in the international market since early times. One of the Philippine myths on the mango fruit goes this way.
Long time ago, so this Philippine myth goes, in a wooden villa deep in the forest was a beautiful lady. An only daughter of an old, old couple, they wanted her married as soon as possible. They feared dying without seeing her married. This Philippine myth says Pangga was her name, meaning “object of love” in the vernacular. Aside from her arresting natural pulchritude, she was very industrious, kind, and smart with rustic wisdom. Moreover, Pangga knew a lot of trade skills that had earned her quite a bit of money. Thus, her parents wanted nothing but the best man for her.
But Pangga fell for a local poet, a professional dreamer. He was known in the village as a desperate writer whose works of poetry made meager money. This Philippine myth continues that Manong, the dreamer, lived in the fields and slept in mangers. He was the town’s vagrant. But one thing about him; he had a knack for speaking sweet nothings, a full-pledged sweet talker who could promise the sun, moon and stars to the one his eyes beheld. Girls in town went crazy for him (though they never bought his poems) but his eyes were only for Pangga.
His sweet nothings never fooled old folks, though. His own parents, when still alive, often remarked “Please cut out the sweet pleasantries!” when he was at his verbal talent again. In the vernacular the remark went “Manong magtigil ka nga!” So, as this Philippine myth goes, they gave him the nickname Manong.
Pangga’s parents never bought Manong’s promises of bringing down the sun and moon to shine on their forest-dimmed bungalow and other sweet nothings. “You’re always saying that sun-moon conversation of yours. That’s all you know!” Pangga’s parents mocked him. But Manong and Pangga sought to stubbornly keep their love vows till their dying day. Then, the Philippine myth says, one day they disappeared in the woods.
The Philippine myth ends with a discovery of a new kind of tree. Its fruit was a bit crescent-shaped like the moon, yellow like the sun, and sweet like Manong’s tongue. It was rich in nutrition as Pangga’s multi-faceted genius. In time it was called “Manga,” a mix of their names, and today’s vernacular for mango.
The Philippine myth on mango fruits is a local version of Romeo and Juliet but which went sweeter as to create a sweet offspring—the mango fruit.