The fruit, not the store. I think the season officially starts in April, and throughout the whole of May, markets are full of mangos in all states of ripeness, or over-ripeness!
A couple of years back we were invited to go mango-picking at a farm in Zambales. I was surprised to see such compact and low mango trees. I'm used to huge ones. The green mangoes were hanging low on the branches. I wondered about that when our host told us that his farm staff had already started harvesting the fruit, but he told them not to pick the low hanging ones because he was planning a mango-picking adventure with kids.
Our city kids were thrilled to be picking mangoes straight from the tree-- I was thrilled to be taking home all these mangoes for free! :)
We didn't know (then) that the sap from a newly-picked mango's stem is so acidic that it can actually blister your skin. Carmel had a small wound on her chin, and I had one on the back of my hand. Good thing it was only that because took over two weeks to heal.
The mangoes were wet because it was drizzling. Each mango has to be wiped dry otherwise the water spots will turn into black spots on the ripe yellow mango. The more experienced pickers came equipped with tube socks that they used like gloves to dry the mangoes.
Mangoes are picked when they're green. Then they take a few days to ripen.
After picking three big baskets of mangoes and drying each one carefully, it was time for a picnic lunch and generally lazing around the whole afternoon. We then drove to Subic for the night.
When we got home, I divided two kaings and shared them with dad and mom, pa and ma, and siblings on both sides who were in town, and then I still had one whole kaing for us enjoy for the next two weeks and more. We ate them in all stages of ripeness--green with bagoong, slightly yellow still with bagoong, then of course when they were yellow and fully ripe. I froze the ones that had gotten too ripe--and used them to make mango shakes.
Philippine mangoes are the best in the world and I think is best eaten in it's purest state--just cut open and scooped up. Yum. Thanks Ed and Lina, for a this special back-to-nature experience for us and the kids--and of course for all those mangoes!