By Joel Ferraris
This acrylic on canvas painting serves as a record of my childhood memories when my father usually brings me and my siblings to our farm in Iloilo in Western Visayas, Philippines. That hilly place is near the newly constructed Iloilo International Airport. The rolling hills are dotted with mango trees bearing fruits that are among the best in the country. The thought that here in Hong Kong I buy our farm's produce is funny.
Part of our childhood fun with my siblings and cousins was to hunt for birds and climb up fruit trees at the risk of being attacked by the bees and wasps. One uncle of mine even fell from a very tall coconut palm when he was attacked by fire ants. Miraculously he wasn't hurt by that fall as he safely landed on thick pile of dried leaves that served as cushions.
The mango tree is the favorite at that time for climbing because people will surely be enticed by the sweet smell of ripe mangoes during harvest season. Targeting a fruit to pick was initially done on the ground where one has to look up and search for ripe, golden yellow mangoes that tend to play hide-and-seek behind leaves and vines dancing in the wind. Once the fruits are taken that's when we start savoring its sweet taste especially because it was naturally ripened in its branches.
Once, when I was busy preparing coffee seedlings, I started to feel hungry. By just listening to the leaves dancing in the wind their tune were frequently interrupted by crushing sounds of something hitting the thick grass and dried leaves around. Falling ripe fruits are a welcome sight to remind me of snack time.
It really feels good to eat this untouched fresh-from-the-tree fruit without having the thought that the first bite was enjoyed by fruit bats the previous night.