Legend - Why the Lanzones Are Sweet?


Today the lanzones are among the sweetest fruits in our country. Because of their rare sweetness, they are called the "Queen of Philippine Fruits."

Long, long ago, however, the lanzones were not sweet, as they are today. In fact, they were very sour, like vinegar. During those early years they grew in wild abundance in our town and in other towns in the Baybay region. Nobody cared to gather them, much less eat them because of their sour taste. Even the pigs, carabaos, and birds refused to eat them.

One sunny morning a beautiful lady arrived in Pagsanjan. She rested at a little tienda (sari-sari store) near the western entrance of the town. Seeing numerous ripe lanzones hanging from the branch of trees growing around the store, she asked the old woman who was the store owner: "What is the name of those beautiful fruits? They must be nice to eat."

"Lanzones po, señora," replied the old woman, "but they are not good to eat. Nobody eats them."

"Why?"

"Because they are sour."

"That cannot be true," answered the beautiful lady. "With such pretty skin with the color of gold, they must be delicious."

"My dear lady," said the woman, "if you doubt my word, eat them yourself."

During the conversation between the beautiful lady and the store owner, many curious spectators, men, women, and children, came to the store. They were attracted by the beauty of the mysterious lady. They all laughed when they heard the lady said that the lanzones must be delicious to eat. The beautiful lady approached the nearest tree and plucked a bunch of ripe lanzones. She took out one fruit, pinched it, removed its skin, and ate it. Smilingly, she turned to the crowd at the store saying: "Very delicious." She continued eating, to the great amazement of the gaping people who expected her to throw away the sour fruits.

After getting more bunches of lanzones, the beautiful lady said good-bye to the surprised people and merrily continued walking towards the town of Lumban. The Pagsanjeños were spellbound. They could hardly believe what they had seen and heard.

No sooner had the strange lady gone away than they rushed to the lanzones tree. They ate the fruits and lo! The lanzones tasted very sweet. The lady was right. "But how come that the sour lanzones suddenly became sweet?" they asked each other. A young woman, the prettiest belle of the town, happened to examine the sweet lanzones she was eating and cried in great joy: "Look! Look at the lanzones! There's an imprint of the lady's finger-mark in them!"

The people pursued the lady to thank her for the miracle. They ran up to the town of Lumban, but saw no trace of the beautiful lady. They asked an old boatman who was sitting at the river bank if he had seen a beautiful lady. "What beautiful lady?" he answered. "I've been sitting here all morning. The only woman who crossed the river was my termagant wife. And she's neither beautiful nor a lady."

The Pagsanjeños returned to their town very much mystified. They asked every one they met in town: "Who was that beautiful lady who miraculously made the lanzones sweet? And why did she disappear before we can thank her?" Suddenly, a little girl twelve years old jumped in joyous excitement, screaming: "Yes, I know. She's Our Lady of Guadalupe! I remember now she looks exactly like our beautiful patroness."

"Yes," everybody said in unison. "She must be our miraculous Virgin of Guadalupe!"

Thus it came to pass that by pinching the sour lanzones and leaving her fingerprint on them, the Virgin had transformed the sour lanzones into one of the sweetest fruits of the Philippines.

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