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Philippine Myth on the Origin of the Pineapple

Philippine Myth on the Origin of the Pineapple

An unpeeled pineapple has lots of medium-size dots that resemble a human eye. How did it get such skin covering? A Philippine myth tells us why.

Pina, a rustic girl, lived with her mom as tenants in a fruit plantation. Her mom was the hard-working type—working almost all the time, and Pina was also hard-working—but not with household chores. She loved playing all the time.

When her mom told her to do a household chore, she always procrastinated—she started the work but later laid it aside for tomorrow—a tomorrow which often never came. The myth adds that she often stopped in the middle of her household chore to play. She usually reasoned she couldn’t find what it was her mom wanted her to do. But actually, the truth was she didn’t pay attention to any of her mom’s instructions in favor of playing. She felt confident in the thought of surely finishing a task later or tomorrow. And this to the chagrin of her mom.

The myth goes on to say that the mother, used to being too vocal with her careless ill wishes or curses on people who didn’t delight her, was liberal on such habit on her only daughter. She reasoned that vehement scolding did some hidden wonders to juvenile stubbornness.

But one day, the myth says, Pina’s procrastinations went too far for her mom to tolerate them anymore. Her mother had told her to get her wooden shoes from the under their hut. She went down their hut and looked under it. But on seeing her old rug doll, her imagination started working. She was soon playing with it. Her usual dialogue, saying “I can’t see it,” when actually she wasn’t searching but playing, did it this time. Her mom shouted invectives plus a curse that, “May you grow dozens of eyes” so Maria would stop ever mentioning her favorite dialogue. Then suddenly, Maria just disappeared.

A search party looked all over the plantation for Maria, to no avail. And then Maria’s mom saw a curious new plant species at their backyard. It was covered with eyes. She remembered her latest curse on Maria and knew the plant was her. From then on, she called the plant, a pineapple, or “Pinya” in Filipino.

The myth on the origin of pineapples aims at fostering obedience to parents as a priority, and that parents ought to watch how they deal with their kids.


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