Ternate, MANGO, and the Paisley Connection

AtoZfoodnames

I played tourist last week and decided to check out a place which has been in my curiosity radar for a long time. Ternate (in Cavite province), when I was very young, seemed so far, so very “over there” in the mists of time and the waters off Manila Bay.

Map of Cavite showing the location of Ternate

This municipality takes its name from a place in the Spice Islands of 16th century fame. It was then  populated by Indonesian-Portuguese peoples who volunteered to help the Spanish ward off a rumored Chinese invasion of Manila. The threat never materialized, but the volunteers decided to stay. And so there’s a corner of Luzon where people speak Chavacano: part Portuguese, part Indonesian, part Malay, part Spanish, part Tagalog.

Driving down the streets of this beach town, I noted scores of mango trees and some breadfruit trees. I surmised that some of the mangoes on the roadside stands along the way…

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