LEGENDS FROM THE PHILIPPINES: “The origin of the banana plant” and the benefits of bananas in your diet.


The Legend of the Banana Plant

The banana fruit is one of the favorite tropical fruits in the Philippines. Its luscious meat is healthy and enjoyable to munch. How did the plant originate according to the legends?

According to a legend, there was a couple named Martha and Pedro. Their daughter was Selya.

Selya was so beautiful people in their place admired her so much. She was also kind hearted and good mannered. The legend tells that obedience and thoughtfulness was always seen in the way she treated her parents.

The couple was over-protective of Selya. They feared that someday, somebody would take her away from them. They always guarded her, and tried to discourage any guy who even came near her. However, unknown to the couple, Selya had met a young, tall man named Aging. According to the legend, being a farmer like Selya’s father, the arms of the man were string and roughened by the sun from tilling the rice fields. Selya’s parents were against Aging when they found out about his interest in their daughter.

Although Selya did not mean to disobey, she decided to make good friends with Aging. Every afternoon before sunset, Aging would secretly meet Selya by the well near the house. According to the legend, their meeting continued for months unseen by anyone They enjoyed each other’s company and soon they fell in love.

Selya’s mother left the house one afternoon to go to town. They were so engrossed with each other that they didn’t realize Selya’s father would be coming home soon. They talked about a lot of things. The father, while still some distance away from home, saw Aging and Selya leaning against the window. He burst with wrath and ran to the house to swing a sharp bolo (knife similar to a machete) at the young man. Aging was hit on the arm. Consequently, his arm was cut off and fell to the ground.

The legend tells that Aging was shocked and run away. Selya went out and carefully picked up Aging’s lifeless arm and buried it in the backyard. The next morning Selya noticed a strange plant that seemed showing itself off. Its trunk was tall, it had green leaves, and its yellow fruits were shaped like clusters of fingers. Since then, the plant has been called “Saging” or banana.

This Philippine Legend on the banana plant shows us that true love only grows further, the more it is opposed.



It is believed that there are almost 1000 varieties of bananas in the world, subdivided in 50 groups. The most commonly known banana is the Cavendish variety, which is the one produced for export markets.

Bananas are thought to have originated in Malaysia around 4,000 years ago. From there, they spread throughout the Philippines and India, where in 327 B.C. Alexander the Great’s army recorded them being grown. Bananas were introduced to Africa by Arabian traders and discovered there in 1482 A.D. by Portuguese explorers who took them to the Americas, the place where the majority of bananas are now produced.

Africans are credited to have given the present name, since the word banana would be derived from the Arab word  “banan” for ‘finger’.

Benefits of eating bananas:

  • Bananas could help you to feel happier as they contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to promote relaxation and improve mood.
  • A medium-sized banana contains only 95 calories, and provides a quick-but-sustained energy boost in a natural, nutritious and easily digestible form with no fat, cholesterol or sodium
  • They are a rich source of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
  • A first type of cardiovascular benefit from bananas is related to their potassium content. Bananas are a good source of potassium, an essential mineral for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. Since one medium-sized banana contains a whopping 400-plus mg of potassium, the inclusion of bananas in your routine meal plan may help to prevent high blood pressure and protect against atherosclerosis. The effectiveness of potassium-rich foods such as bananas in lowering blood pressure has been demonstrated by a number of studies.
  • A second type of cardiovascular benefit from bananas involves their sterol content. While bananas are a very low-fat food (less than 4% of their calories come from fat), one type of fat that they do contain in small amounts are sterols like sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol. As these sterols look structurally similar to cholesterol, they can block the absorption of dietary cholesterol. By blocking absorption, they help us keep our blood cholesterol levels in check.
  • Another type of cardiovascular benefit from bananas involves their fiber content. At about 3 grams per medium banana, we rank bananas as a good source of fiber. Approximately one-third of the fiber in bananas is water-soluble fiber. Soluble fiber in food is a type of fiber especially associated with decreased risk of heart disease, making regular intake of bananas a potentially helpful approach to lowering your heart disease risk.
  • The unique mix of vitamins, minerals, and low glycemic carbohydrates in bananas has made them a favorite fruit among endurance athletes. Their easy portability, low expense, and great taste also help support their popularity in this exclusive group.

Reference: http://www.bananalink.org.uk/all-about-bananas


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2 Comments Add yours

  1. LindaP says:

    Wow I didn’t know there were so many different kind of bananas! Great legend as well!


  2. Yes, there are so many, different colors and sizes, some are very tiny, so much variety that mother nature has to offer!


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