The summers of my childhood were days of fun and contentment. One favorite past time was climbing on fruit trees and eating the tree’s fruits while sitting on a branch of the tree. The sampalok was off limits, though. Its branches were too brittle because of age.
We just beat the branches until the sampalok fruits fell off. We had a grand time picking the fruits and eating them no matter how sour our faces turned.
If the tree had no fruits, and we wanted sampalok, we just had to go to the sari-sari store and voila, sampalok candy!
We always wondered how many sampalok pods would go into a vat and how long would it take them to harvest such a big quantity of fruits if they just beat the branches.
Later on in life, we saw how workers harvest the fruits using a ladder and the mystery was off… but the liking and loving for sampalok remains.
Shaped like tiny balls with a sprinkling of sugar on top or rolled and enclosed in plastic, sampalok candy still invokes happy memories of childhood and brings on a smile, not a sour face.