Fruits and Vegetables in the Philippine Folk Song "Bahay Kubo" (Nipa Hut)

Updated on July 19, 2018
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When Precy is not recounting the legends of plants and animals, you can find her watching her favorite series on The Filipino Channel.

"Bahay Kubo", or Nipa Hut, is a Filipino folk song about the fruits and vegetables that grow around a small hut.
"Bahay Kubo", or Nipa Hut, is a Filipino folk song about the fruits and vegetables that grow around a small hut. | Source

"Bahay Kubo" is a favorite folk song amongst Filipino kids. I probably first heard it from my mom. Since we used to live on a farm back in the Philippines, we spent quite a lot of time with vegetables, and my mom would always sing "Bahay Kubo" while harvesting or cooking them. She loves eating vegetables of all kinds.

This cheerful song describes a typical Filipino life in the provinces. It's about growing various fruits and vegetables around a simple hut.

The "Bahay Kubo" (Nipa Hut) Song

English Translation
Tagalog
Nipa Hut, although it is small
Bahay Kubo, kahit munti
The vegetables in there are of many kinds.
Ang halaman doon ay sari sari.
Jicama and eggplant,
Singkamas at talong,
Winged bean and peanut,
Sigarilyas at mani,
Long beans, hyacinth beans, lima beans.
Sitaw, bataw, patani.
Ash gourd, sponge gourd, bottle gourd, and squash
Kundol, patola, upo, at kalabasa
And still there's some more,
At saka meron pa,
Radish and mustard,
Labanos at mustasa,
Onions, tomatoes, garlic, and ginger
Sibuyas, kamatis, bawang, at luya
And all around are lots of sesame plants.
At sa paligid ligid ay maraming linga.
(repeat)

Learn the Names of the Fruits and Vegetables in the Song

"Bahay Kubo" mentions several fruits and vegetables that are commonly used in Filipino cooking. Learn about how they grow and how to say them in Tagalog!

Jicama

Tagalog: Singkamas

(Pachyrhizus erosus)

Also known as the Mexican yam or Mexican turnip, this root crop has to be peeled before eating. It is delicious when seasoned with vinegar or salt.

Jicama tastes great with vinegar and salt.
Jicama tastes great with vinegar and salt. | Source

Eggplant

Tagalog: Talong

(Solanum melongena)

This perennial plant is used in Filipino recipes such as torta eggplant. It also goes well with other veggies alongside sinigang, a soured Filipino fish or meat dish. Eggplants can grow up to 57 inches in height!

Eggplants are grown on a vine and are used in many Filipino dishes.
Eggplants are grown on a vine and are used in many Filipino dishes. | Source

Winged Beans

Tagalog: Sigarilyas

(Psophocarpus tetragonolobus)

The winged bean plant is a vine that grows well in hot countries. This vegetable has four angles and frilly edges, which is why it is also known as a four-angled bean. Other parts of the plant are also edible, such as the leaves and flowers. In the Philippines, the young sprouts are often used in stews.

Winged beans are often used in stews.
Winged beans are often used in stews. | Source

Peanut

Tagalog: Mani

(Arachis hypogaea)

Peanuts grow on an herbaceous plant that can grow up to 5 feet in height. After flowering, the stalks bend until the ovary touches the ground and is pushed into the soil. Once underground, the fruit develops. Because of this, peanuts are also known as ground nuts or earth nuts. Interestingly enough, peanuts are legumes and not nuts.

Peanuts are not actually nuts.
Peanuts are not actually nuts. | Source

Long Beans

Tagalog: Sitaw

(Vigna unguiculata)

This vegetable is common in the Philippines, and it is available almost year-round. Long beans can be used in almost any dish alongside other vegetables. Parboiled long beans are delicious and go well with vinegar or lemon sauce. One of my personal favorite dishes is sauteed long beans!

Long beans are available almost year-round.
Long beans are available almost year-round. | Source

Hyacinth Beans

Tagalog: Bataw

(Lablab purpureus)

This vine produces purple flowers, which then turn into pods. The young pods have a distinct purplish color that fades as they mature. The young leaves can also be eaten.

In Filipino cooking, both ends of the pod are removed. Young pods are preferred because, as they mature, the pods become leathery and hard to chew. If this happens, the green seeds are taken out for cooking and the pods are disposed of.

The flowers of a hyacinth bean plant have a distinct purple color.
The flowers of a hyacinth bean plant have a distinct purple color. | Source

Lima Beans

Tagalog: Patani

(Phaseolus lunatus)

This legume also grows on a vine. It is used for its seeds, which are high in fiber. Lima beans are also known as butter beans.

Lima beans are delicious and high in fiber.
Lima beans are delicious and high in fiber. | Source

Ash Gourd

Tagalog: Kundol

(Benincasa hispida)

Kundol, or ash gourds, grow on a creeping vine that can reach up to 2 meters in length. The ash gourd is also known as a winter melon. It is also sometimes called a wax gourd—as the fruit matures, it develops a waxy coating. After it has been picked, the ash gourd has a long shelf life.

Ash gourds grow on vines.
Ash gourds grow on vines. | Source

Sponge Gourd

Tagalog: Patola

(Luffa acutangula)

A vegetable vine, the sponge gourd is another vegetable that can be found in Philippine markets. The sponge gourd is best when harvested before it matures; once it does, it becomes spongy and hard to chew. It is also called a loofah.

Sponge gourds, or loofahs, can only be eaten when young.
Sponge gourds, or loofahs, can only be eaten when young. | Source

Bottle Gourd

Tagalog: Upo

(Lagenaria siceraria)

Another vine, bottle gourds are best if picked before they mature—otherwise, they will become leathery and rubbery, and the seeds will harden as well. This vegetable helps digestion and acts as a diuretic.

Bottle gourds have great digestive properties.
Bottle gourds have great digestive properties. | Source

Squash

Tagalog: Kalabasa

(Cucurbita moschata Duch)

Kalabasa, or squash, also grows on a vine. Some people grow squash on a trellis, but others prefer to let this plant creep on the ground. Both the young and mature fruits are used in Filipino dishes. If a young fruit is used, the skin can be cooked. As it matures, however, the skin hardens and needs to be peeled.

Squash is high in vitamin A, calcium, and phosphorus. The young shoots, leaves, and flowers are also used in cooking.

Squash is a nutritious fruit used in Filipino cuisine.
Squash is a nutritious fruit used in Filipino cuisine. | Source

Radish

Tagalog: Labanos

(Raphanus sativus)

Radish is a large, white root crop, and it's one of my favorite vegetables. When fresh, radish is crunchy, and it is used in the popular Filipino dish, sinigang.

You can make a great radish salad by thinly chopping radish and mixing it with chopped tomatoes and ground pepper. Add vinegar and sugar to taste.

Radish is delicious in a salad or with more complex dishes.
Radish is delicious in a salad or with more complex dishes. | Source

Mustard Greens

Tagalog: Mustasa

(Brassica juncea)

The leaves, stems, and flowers are used in cooking. This vegetable is also known as Chinese mustard, Indian mustard, or leaf mustard.

Mustard greens are also known as Chinese mustard, Indian mustard, or leaf mustard.
Mustard greens are also known as Chinese mustard, Indian mustard, or leaf mustard. | Source

Onions

Tagalog: Sibuyas

(Allium cepa)

Onions, or sibuyas, are one of the most important ingredients in Filipino cuisine. Onions can be found in just about every Filipino dish: in soups, sauteed veggies, and even fried rice!

Onions are easy to grow, and their leaves can be used to cook as well. It is an important ingredient in the Filipino specialty sawsawan, a sauce made with onions, tomatoes, garlic, chili, and other spices. This sauce is great with broiled or fried fish.

Onions are one of the most important ingredients in Filipino cooking.
Onions are one of the most important ingredients in Filipino cooking. | Source

Tomatoes

Tagalog: Kamatis

(Solanum lycopersicum)

This perennial plant can grow up to 10 feet in height and bears round, red fruits. Tomatoes are used in Filipino dishes such as sinigang, caldereta, and they are also eaten alongside sauteed sardines and veggies.

Rich in lycopene, eating tomatoes can reduce your risk of breast cancer. As a child, I was told to eat tomatoes to develop sharp eyesight. I didn't like tomatoes, but I learned to eat them raw because my uncle used to put tomato halves on my younger brother's and my plate. My uncle has been fond of eating tomatoes since he was a kid—he's in his 70's and still doesn't use eyeglasses!

I was always told that tomatoes are good for your eyesight.
I was always told that tomatoes are good for your eyesight. | Source

Garlic

Tagalog: Bawang

(Allium sativum)

Just like onions, garlic is used in almost every Filipino dish. I was also taught that garlic can be used as a remedy for coughs, colds, and asthma.

Garlic can help prevent coughs and colds.
Garlic can help prevent coughs and colds. | Source

Ginger

Tagalog: Luya

(Zingiber officinale)

Use ginger as a spice or to make ginger tea. Ginger is used to balance and eliminate unwanted fishy smells in seafood dishes. Ginger is also used in sinigang, and can be cooked with broiled or grilled fish to give the food an added aroma.

Ginger can be used for tea or to add a pleasant aroma to your food.
Ginger can be used for tea or to add a pleasant aroma to your food. | Source

Sesame

Tagalog: Linga

(Sesamum indicum)

The sesame plant can grow up to 3 feet tall, and its seeds are edible. Its flowers can be yellow, purple, or blue.

The sesame plant has beautiful flowers.
The sesame plant has beautiful flowers. | Source

Questions & Answers

    Comments

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      • profile image

        Jim 

        6 days ago

        How many legumes are there in bahay kubo song ?

      • Amina Mahnoor profile image

        Amina 

        7 months ago from Baghbanpura

        Dear you do very well plz...follw me..plz plz plz

      • profile image

        elvie deberto 

        16 months ago

        Do you have "Si Felilmon?"

      • profile image

        ann 

        3 years ago

        It's worthwhile remembering the famous folk song sing when i was in the elementary grade and as of now still heard in schools....complete vegetables in the nipa hut....amazing

      • profile image

        clarence 23 

        4 years ago

        all have interesting ang food is healthy fr0m all bhay kubo fruits and vegetables.

      • tastiger04 profile image

        tastiger04 

        5 years ago

        No I am not in the Philippines right now, but I used to visit often when I lived in Taiwan :) Beautiful country and delicious food!

      • precy anza profile imageAUTHOR

        precy anza 

        5 years ago from USA

        @tastiger04

        And thank you for stopping by to read and I appreciate the comments too :) I'm guessing you're not in the Philippines now?! And yes, it does brings back good memories. :)

      • tastiger04 profile image

        tastiger04 

        5 years ago

        I grew up eating a lot of Filipino food, it is definitely some of my favorite! Brings back good memories...thank you for this interesting hub :) voted up

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