Friday, April 1, 2011

Life is Bananas by Lj T. Salceda

As if the cool breeze was telling me, "Look, take a closer look behind you."

At the back of our dorm a few feet from where I was tackling two weeks worth of laundry,
stood a group of *banana plants. Rows and rows of tiered (buwig) young banana fruit protruding from one the main trunks as they gently dance with the summer wind. Although it is a pleasant sight, it is nothing new much more extra ordinary to me.

“Can you see it?” as if the Wind is asking me.

“They look like the same bananas I’ve seen the past seven years that I’ve lived here.” I silently answered.

“Look again,” commanded the cool breeze.

Feeling a bit irritated I hesitantly gave in and replied, “Ok, am I missing something here? They’re the same bana.. nas…”

My thoughts trailed back to my childhood in the province. We’ve always had bananas in our yard when we were younger and it amazed me then how they never last longer than the rest of the trees in my grandmother’s yard. There’s the towering mango tree at the corner of our lot or my favorite place to hang out- the caimito tree still alive to this day or the aratiles tree a favorite of caterpillars (higad)!

I remember some of my grandparents’ lessons in the life of bananas: they sprout from nowhere, grow really fast and die young (2–3yrs max) after they bear fruit just once in their short life span. Amazingly though, offshoots spring from their base after their death. Pretty much like the coconut trees, they offer unending use from their leaves to their trunk to their fruit up to their flower (heart).

Hmmmm… Now, I think I know what the Wind was trying to tell me. They weren't exactly the same bananas I saw when I first transferred to our dorm. However, isn’t life pretty much like banana plants or their flowers or the early summer wind – here today and gone tomorrow or a few years the most?

I guess the more important questions to ask are: are we producing any good fruit or positive deeds before our expiration date? And are we growing or mentoring any offshoots (students, sons or daughters, disciples) as our legacy for when we're done and gone?

My Ma always say in her sermons, what is true in the natural is also true in the spiritual. Meaning, what works in our physical, temporal world or in our day-to-day living can be applied in our faith or relationship with the Lord.

Whenever you eat banana que or turon (jumping jack we call them in Bicol) or order a halo-halo with bananas except for the nutrients and other benefits they provide, may this amazing fruit remind you: how short but productive (or enjoyable or important or crazy) life is. So, do your part – bear fruit and be a mentor to someone while you can. Learn from the BANANA!

Interesting banana facts:

* Bananas are not trees, they are from the herb family.

* Bananas are excellent source of vitamins and minerals especially protein, raw sugar, vitamin B and fiber.

* Bananas are naturally and slightly radioactive.

* The Philippines is the second banana producer/exporter in the world.


  1. Interesting post Ms. LJ! In Bulacan we call it "buwig". Bulig is a fish, I think same as the dalag.

  2. Very inspiring Ms. LJ...I'm following your blog, hope you will continue posting even if you are already in the US...good luck & best wishes!