December 4, 2009

Balimbing, n. (bot.) Averrhoa carambola: tree that bears fruit with five longitudinal, angular lobes [Source: Diksyunaryo Tesauro Pilipino-Ingles (1972) by Jose Villa Panganiban].

Balimbing is a fruit not so many find exciting and good for their palate to eat. It is like a five-pointed star when horizontally cut. If perfect in symmety, it will show the same “look” or the same “face” when turned around five-ways. The reason why it became a colloquial word to mean a “turn-coat” or “doble cara.” A person described as balimbing acts depending on the person he is with. Concrete examples of balimbings abound in the arena of politics. Politicians who can stay in power whosoever sits in the highest post have the quality of changing his principles and character as demanded by the one in power. Their past bickerings, word wars, at mala palengkeng pagbabangayan may turn into sweet relationship to serve their political ambitions.

Balimbing leaves

We have a balimbing tree—ligaw sa totoo lang— which grew tall and now bears flowers and fruits. The children in the neighborhood are simply not interested in them, probably because balimbing is unkown to them, as they are sold nowhere—neither in the smallest talipapa, nor in the biggest supermarkets. But I have observed that those who got used to its taste have started to search for ripe ones to pick and eat. The fruit tastes bitter when raw, sour while ripening and sweeter when ripe. It is juicy and crispy when newly picked.

The most wonderful thing that happened was when I shot extreme close shots of balimbing flowers. Although as bunch of flowers, I already find them beautiful because of their colors, I still took the tiny flowers for granted…Until I have seen the shots that I took in my computer. I was delighted, felt real joy and praised God for His power to give beauty to the taken-for-granted creation. My joy was overflowing so much so that I have been compelled to veer away from my advocacines to write this so as to share with you what I am talking about through the photos that I shot and truly marveled at.

It is extremely rare to see butterflies in the city. Seeing one enjoying the bunch of beautiful and tiny “balimbing” flowers is a once-in-a blue moon scenario.

For more photos, click the following link balimbing-wonders.


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