Bago tree is native to the Philippines and can also be found in tropical Asian countries.
It is locally called Banago but Boholanos prefer to call it “Bago”. It is popular among vegetable lovers and those who love to cook especially its young shoots which is one of the main ingredients mixed along with other leafy vegetables when cooking ginataan or tinunuan (coconut milk) and the law-oy or utanbisaya. It can also be prepared as a salad.
Aside from its edible young shoots, the fruit can also be eaten like a nut and prepared as boiled, fried, or roasted. The trunk and branches can be used as firewood and in woodworks to make boxes and tool handles. Its bark fibers can be processed into rope, fishing net as well as paper products. It can also be used in landscaping as roadside verges and in gardens. In the wild, bago leaves can be a source of food for animals.
Several studies also noted various nutritional benefits that can be derived from eating the young shoots of this species. It can regulate body temperature and kidney function, promote healthy hair and skin and help regenerate cells and tissues.
These tree species are economically and ecologically important in the sustainability of rural communities. Attention must be given to its propagation and conservation as a sustainable source of food. In this time of the pandemic, it is recommended to revert back to a plant-based food source to be healthy and physically fit in combating COVID-19. How about you? May “bago” na ba sa pagkain mo?
Text by NMP Bohol with contributions from Michael Galindon | BNHD