In Search of Padada

The name Padada is thought to originate from the proverbial Padada tree which is a mangrove specie. Being born and raised in this town for god knows how long, I never had the chance of seeing this particular tree. Heard it through the grapevine that it once abundant around the area and the biggest one once stood in the now Guihing Elementary School.
My curiosity of decrypting the truth from the myth heightened on my visit to Gensan. As we all know, the city's old name was Dadiangas and some folks still use it and little did we know that Dadiangas is a thorny shrub with a scientific name: Solanum torvum. Saw the shrub myself!
Manila derives its name from Nila  because the shores of Manila Bay were once teeming with this shrub. Nila is commonly called as the indigo tree. (Scyphiphora hydrophyllacea).


After some nights of cyber sleuthing, all tracks and scents lead me to debunk that PADADA is a myth but indeed a shrub or a small to medium-sized evergreen tree reaching 5-15 m, rarely up to 20 m in height. Its scientifically called Sonneratia caseolaris with a common English name as Crabapple Mangrove. It is widely distributed in the entire South and South East Asia charateristically habituates along river banks and tidal areas with mud banks, often in upstream estuarine positions of rivers subjected to large volumes of freshwater run-off or with slow-moving brackish or fresh water and as far inland as the salt water floods.
COMMON NAMES: Crabapple mangrove, Mangrove, Orcha, Kirilla, Kinnai, Berembang, Padada, Pagatpat, Pedada, Pidada, Perepat, Bedada, Bidada, Bogem, Pagapate, Hikaw-hikawan, Bunayon, Tapoo, Tamoo, 'am'-pie, Lamphu.

Human uses:  the young fruit is sour and used to flavour curries and chutnies. When ripe, the fruit have a "cheese-like taste" and is eaten raw or cooked. The pneumatophores are converted into corks for fishing net floats by shaping them and boiling them in water. The timber is not much used as the salt in it rusts iron nails and screws. Medicinal uses include various parts of the fruit for haemorrhage and coughs. It makes poor timber but is occasionally used in salt-water piling. The pnematophores are used for making wooden soles of shoes.

Other sources named S. caseolaris as Pedada or Padada but its name differ from country to country though. Pagatpat - familiar? , was mentioned as one of its common names above which can be misleading but both belong to the same genus which is Sonneratia, the latter's specie is Alba as characterized and differentiated by its white stamen. Ever wonder why  we don't see fireflies in our town? The extinction of this plants is the reason because Sonneratia are host trees to firelies.

Looking at the town's official seal, there is an iconic tree in the middle presumed to be the Padada tree. Wouldn't it be fitting to have a live iconic symbol of our town as a testament of our pride?

Unlike Maynila and Dadiangas, Padada is a new name replacing the old Limonzo. Where on earth does the word Limonzo come from, why did our forefathers named it as such?......ABANGAN!


  1. i agree with you that we should have a live -Padada- tree planted in our town. That would be a nice project. Would your research show us where to secure one?

  2. @Sir Nic: Heard DENR have available seedlings for planting. still need to verify where the stocks are and if its for free. It would be a good project for September's "World Clean Up day"

  3. ...I heard from a friend-an Ilongga,, she said padada for them is-bell pepper, paprika.., must ask her again.


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