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Pili: Cousin to Frankincense

Manila elemi tree a.k.a Pili tree

Manila elemi tree a.k.a Pili tree

Manila elemi oleoresin

Manila elemi exudate after around two weeks from incision of the bark. (pili tree location: around 20 meters  from the Manapao Barangay Hall, Gubat, Sorsogon)

Cousin to Frankincense

Manila elemi resin still soft and packed ready for transport from the buying station in Manapao, Gubat, Sorsogon.

Today is the Feast of the Epiphany and this day I am reminded of my article about the manila elemi, ‘pilit’ in our dialect– Philippine Daily Inquirer – Luxury fragrance in Bicol backyard. or http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/6798/bicol-grown-‘pili’-has-the-fragrance-world-over-a-barrel

My inspiration for writing the article was based on one of the gifts of the Magi presented to Baby Jesus in Bethlehem–frankincense. Pili and Frankincense tree belong to the same oleoresin producing trees of the Burceraceae family.

Pili or the Manila elemi tree is an endemic tree of the Philippines of which the center of origin is said to be in the volcanic rich rainforest of Mount Bulusan. Pili tree produces an exudate or oleoresin that is almost similar in scent to  the frankincense–balsamic, musky, citrusy fresh and it has almost the same uses from incense manufacture to perfumes.

The article created a sort of epiphany to the ‘pilit’ known internationally as Manila elemi as a valuable  natural resource in the region if given the proper support by the government. As for me, the article redirected the course of  my succeeding activities and researches. Photos: Taken at Manapao, Gubat, Sorsogon, Philippines by Alma P. Gamil

Bulusan, Sorsogon, Philippines

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6 thoughts on “Pili: Cousin to Frankincense

  1. The elemi gum is available at the public market of Gubat, Sorsogon. In bulk? You may contact the Provincial Agriculture Office for the list of established sources in the province. Thanks for visiting my blog.

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