Moringa oleifera. Malunggay (Tagalog). Kalunggay (Bikol Bulusan)
I personally tested the oft-reproduced characterization made many years ago by the Trees for Life organization, that “ounce-for-ounce, Moringa leaves contain more Vitamin A than carrots, more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach, more Vitamin C than oranges, and more potassium than bananas,” and that the protein quality of Moringa leaves rivals that of milk and eggs.
This is good news for many of us who do not have the capacity to buy the nutritious foods mentioned as comparison. Malunggay locally known as Kalunggay in Bulusan is a natural multivitamins available for free usually from a neighbor’s fence. But we did plant our own sustainable supply at the back of our house.
Kalunggay is so ubiquitous in Bulusan that almost all the village backyard gardens has one or two growing within the garden or as border plant.
The good thing about cultivating kalunggay is the fact that it is so easy to grow.
Just ask from your neighbor a wrist-sized branch of Kalunggay and let it stand for a while in a sunny nook in your yard. When the shoots are starting to show in the standing branch, this signals that it is the right time to plant the stem cutting in your backyard or fence. Be sure to pick a sunny spot in your garden that is open to the sun the whole day.
That is my technique. Others plant the freshly cut matured branch of the kalunggay immediately upon cutting. I tried this too with the same success.
Most important factor is the sun. Kalunggay is sun-loving and like to grow on their own after planting. No need to water. Natural rainfall is enough for them.
For an authentic Bulusan recipe of Kinunot using Kalunggay as the main vegetable ingredient, you may visit my townmate’s Pamughaton post: http://pamughaton.wordpress.com/2008/07/26/kinunot/
Photos: Alma P. Gamil
Bulusan, Sorsogon, Philippines