Processed products from the fruits of an indigenous tree in Batanes will be researched and developed in earnest with the financial support expected to be released soon by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) of the Department of Agriculture.
The tree is called Arius in Batanes but is botanically known as Podocarpus costalis. This is a relatively small tree that is usually one meter to five meters tall. Actually, this is a landscaping tree in Metro Manila and elsewhere. The difference is that when growing in Batanes, it produces a lot of small berry-like fruits whereas it usually does not bear any fruit in Manila and elsewhere in Luzon.
The fruit has a swollen fleshy portion that is sweet when ripe but is somewhat sticky. Some people, especially the young boys, may eat just a few fruits at a time. But it is the birds that love to eat the fruits and that could be the reason why the tree is well dispersed in Batanes. The seeds that go with their feces eventually get established in the ground.