Off season calamansi production in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro

Tokyo University of Agriculture introduced off season production of calamansi in Victoria, Mindoro
March 29, 2019

The Tokyo University of Agriculture (Tokyo NODAI) has introduced the off season production of calamansi in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro as part of helping expand jobs and beef up Philippines’ calamansi export.

A technology on pruning and the use of plant growth regulators in order to delay the harvest of calamansi have been employed in a pilot calamansi production in Victoria.

With such techniques, harvest can become year-round. This will enable farmers to enjoy a higher income from the high value crop. Production will not be available in just a single season, peaking to a high volume and causing prices to collapse.

It also raises potential to expand the Philippines’ export of around 170 metric tons (MT) yearly to Hongkong, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. Export is in the form of fresh and processed calamansi.

The Mindoro State College of Agriculture & Technology (MinSCAT) led by Dr. Ma. Conception L. Mores, vice president, has coordinated with Tokyo NODAI to identify farm sites for the continuous trial on the off season calamansi technology.

Farmer-cooperators had been tapped to participate in the pilot farming so as to train Filipino farmers.

“The success of these farming technologies in attaining a stable supply of calamansi even during lean months will bring farmers in a better position where they can maximize the economic benefits brought about by higher level of farmgate prices, which in turn raise farm income,” reported Patricia Ann A. Pielago of SEARCA.

The South East Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study & Research in Agriculture (Searca) has partnered with MinSCAT and Tokyo NODAI in this capability building project.

Two types of pruning were employed to delay fruiting: the half and the full pruning of shoots, young flower buds, and fruits.

Basal application of fertilizer solutions using abscissic acid (ABA) and Miyobi Gold, a commercial fertilizer in Japan containing natural type of ABA and potassium were also done to promote and increase flower formation during off-season.

The 2-hectare calamansi demonstration farm owned by calamansi grower Cornelio Palomar in Brgy. Leido, Victoria was the chosen experimental site considering the age (6 years) and height (1 to 2.5 meters) of trees. These fit the required tree characteristics for each treatment.

A total of 30 calamansi trees were purposively selected, tagged, and weeded. These were equally divided into six treatments including the control.

A quarter of a kilogram of fruit samples for each of the 4 maturity stages of calamansi (mature green, breaker, ripe, and over-ripe) were gathered for laboratory analysis to determine the physio-chemical characteristics. That includes ascorbic acid content as part of the fruit quality evaluation.

The export of more processed calamansi (puree, juice) may be expanded by the project.

“The quality evaluation of fruits produced in the area at different ripening stages is expected to aid in determining the suitable maturity stage ideal for processing.”

PHOTO Processed calamansi juice

Dr. Tadashi Baba, Dr. Yoshitaka Kawai, Mika Yoshida from the Department of Agriculture – Postharvest Physiology and Technology of Tokyo NODAI, agreed to replicate their previous joint study on calamansi with the University of the Philippines Los Banos-Post Harvest Technology REsearch Center (UPLB-PHTRC) in Mindoro.

Providing technical assistance and logistical support needed are Dr. Jose Medina and Pielago,SEARCA program coordinator, Dr. Josephine Agravante and Kristelle Marie Ybañez from UPLB-PHTRC.

There will be a systematic way of monitoring, data collection, and proper documentation to analyse the technology’s efficacy.


The country’s calamansi export ranged from 20 to 35 MT in 2008 to 2013 with an average yearly export of 29.5 MT in fresh fruits.

A value chain advantage may be found in processing more fresh fruits.

Studies showed that constraints in calamansi sector’s growth include lack of good-quality calamansi seedlings; high incidence of pests and diseases; declining volume of production; huge postharvest losses; limited access to market; inconsistent quality of processed calamansi products; and low prices during peak season.

There is also lack of resources, skills, knowledge, and experience in collective marketing among calamansi farmers.

The two-year project aims to address these technical and market constraints.
It intends to improve calamansi production and fruit quality by using proven technologies and practices in integrated pest management, fertilization, off-season fruiting, and postharvest handling.

The project will build on the gains of SEARCA’s action research program “Piloting and Upscaling Effective Models of Inclusive and Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development (PUEM-ISARD) that helped revitalize the calamansi industry of Oriental Mindoro.

SEARCA has been implementing PUEM-ISARD with MinSCAT and the local government units of Oriental Mindoro since 2015.


Calamansi is indigenous to the Philippines. The largest production is in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro.

According to the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rural Development Program, buyers prefer calamansi from Oriental Mindoro because it has a thicker rind, stronger taste, longer shelf-life, and resists weight loss.

Calamansi, or calamondin, is used primarily as juice, puree, and for souring food.

Production had declined over a 6-year period from 199,675 MT over a land area of 20,956 hectares in 2008 down to 164,050 MT over a land area of 20,246 hectares in 2013.

The decline is due to the greening disease or ”huanglubin’ which decreases yield and causes death of trees, reported the Food and Fertilizer Technology Center (FFTC).

Calamansi is produced primarily from MIMAROPA (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblom, Palawan– 6,872 hectares), Central Luzon (Zambales, Bulacan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Bataan-1,734ha) and Ilocos Region (1,026ha) in Luzon.

In Mindanao, producers are in Davao Region (1,797 hectares), CARAGA (1,412 hectares) and Zamboanga Peninsula (1,077 hectares).

Yield has been dropping from an average of 9.53MT hectares in 2008 to 8.10 MT in 2013, down to an annual growth rate of -3.18.

A sizable 93% of the volume as of 2013 was used domestically for food and the rest for export.

With production decline, prices has been increasing at P23.13 per kilo in 2013 from only P13.28 per kilo in 2008. End (Growth Publishing for SEARCA).

1. Dr. Tadashi Baba (1st from right) and Dr. Yoshitaka Kawai (2nd from right) demonstrating the full-pruning technique as another treatment for off-season fruiting of calamansi
2. Samples of calamansi fruits at different ripening stages subject to quality evaluation (from L-R: over-ripe, ripe, breaker and mature green)
3. Processing calamansi into products like calamansi juice, puree, jam and others will provide added value to calamansi harvests. When there is an oversupply of harvest, the best option is to process them into products of higher value.

Philippines-produced VCO as aid treatment for cancer, neurodegenerative disease

Philippines-produced VCO may potentially be used as adjuvant treatment for cancer, neurodenerative diseases
March 23, 2019

The potential for the ketogenic diet as an adjuvant treatment for cancer and neurodegenerative diseases raises promise for Philippines to contribute to clinically-tried disease treatment through the home-produced virgin coconut oil (VCO).

Clinical trials on the use of VCO in ketogenic diet as supportive treatment for cancer has been shown to be highly promising under a clinical trial at the Paracelsus Medical University (PMU) in Salzburg, Austria.

VCO is a recognized source of beneficial fatty acid metabolized in the liver as ketones in ketogenic diets.

The target in the PMU clinical trial is for ketogenic diet to achieve the “Warburg effect” where cancer cells are prevented from using glycolysis in order to produce the organic chemical ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) needed in the multiplication of cancer cells.

“Based on the results of rigorous preclinical and clinical studies performed thus far, the ketogenic diet would appear to be a promising and powerful option for adjuvant therapy for a range of cancers,” according to a PMU’s “Ketogenic diet in cancer therapy.”

A known researcher on VCO treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, Dr. Mary Newport, has cited the use of coconut oil for therapeutic ketogenic diet.

“ It’s now being (used) for cancer because cancer cells like sugar. Some cancer cells use 200 times more sugar than the normal cell. They ferment sugar, the mitochondria ferments sugar. They don’t metabolize it normally. But most cancer cells don’t use ketones effectively as fuel,” said Newport.

“Ketogenic diet attempts to starve the tumor, the cancer cells. But basically your healthy cells and your brain can use ketones. So it can help in cancer.”

Newport was a resource person during the Philippines’ first World Coconut Congress last year and presented “Combining Coconut Oil and Low Carbohydrate, Higher Fat Diet for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other Diseases.”

The PMU clinical trial reported anti-tumor effect of ketogenic diet in 10 types of cancer. These are glioblastoma, Astrocytoma, Medulloblastoma, Prostate cancer, Colon cancer, Neuroblastoma, Pancreatic cancer, Lung cancer, Breast cancer, Stomach cancer, and Liver cancer.

Clinical researches raising possibility of ketogenic diet as supportive cancer treatment will continue as testimonials on this are being documented.

“There are a lot of testimonials of people who have had (this diet) reported shrinking cancer, and maybe eliminate cancers. There will be studies going on. Ketogenic diet will be used together with other treatment to see if it will work synergistically to get the result.”

“Phases of healthy cells in your brain can use ketones. It’s kind of a new trick again to help deal with cancer.”

Alzheimer’s disease

Even before this development on cancer, ketogenic diet has already been accepted as treatment for other diseases, particularly epilepsy.

And coconut oil plays an important role. Newport stresses her own success in using coconut oil to treat Alzheimer’s.

A neonatologist, Newport has been known in her fight against Alzheimer’s after achieving milestones in helping her husband battle the disease at its early onset.

She took after the early studies of Dr. Samuel Henderson who recommended medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil—derived from coconut oil which has 65% MCT– as treatment for Alzheimer’s.

“Dr. Samuel Henderson whose mother died from Alzheimer’s disease had this brilliant idea of using MCT oil, perhaps providing mild ketosis from consuming MCT oil that could help people with the disease,” she said at the WCC.

Steve Newport had achieved significant improvement from early onset Alzheimer’s after taking coconut oil. After a few dose, he passed the cognitive test ADAS cog for candidate patients of a clinical trial for potential Alzheimer’s drugs—after previously failing such cognitive tests.

Just 4-5 days from first intake of coconut oil, Steve advanced to having a lifted mood, was more alert than before, and began conversing normally.

After two weeks, he was able to draw a clock better with a clock’s numbers and letters in a test given for clinical trial candidates.

“His physical symptoms started to disappear, his tremor eliminated. He had stiff (limbs like in) Parkinson’s and he couldn’t run– we saw these disappear in two months. He was able to sleep normally.”

After 3-4 months, he could read again.

“Before words were shaky and he couldn’t focus on the words. That stopped in 3 – 4 months,” related Newport.

A more significant progress was when he was able to remember what he read a few hours ago.

“After 9 months, he could remember what he read several hours earlier. Before we started coconut oil, he couldn’t finish a sentence reading.”

Having been admitted to a clinical trial, he improved even more by scoring 14 points out of a 78-point cognitive test while other patients on placebo lost a score of 6 points.

Although Steve eventually died in 2016 after having seizures, his mental progress since 2008 has caused a recognition of coconut oil as potential treatment for early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

PHOTO Improvement in drawing clock after 14-day coconut oil intake

Diabetes of the brain

Experts who have conducted autopsy of brains of people who died with Alzheimer’s disease found insulin deficiency in the brain, causing conclusions that Alzheimer’s is diabetes of the brain.

In the same way, even young people in their 20s known to be at risk for Alzheimer’s because of their family background showed decreased glucose uptake in the brain compared to those not at risk.

“There seems to be a conspiracy of small uptake of glucose in the brain due to insulin deficiency and insulin resistance and also a question of efficiency of the functioning of enzymes called PTH complex and of glucose transporters that transport glucose into brain cells.”

Apparently, ketones can bypass this problem of transmitting glucose into the brain.

Ketones in infants

Ketones are essential substances that are even critical to the newborn.

“Ketones are very important to the newborn. Newborns have a very large brain, very active, and requires a lot of calories. Ketones supply some substantial portion of the calories, the energy needed by the newborn brain,” said Newport.

“A baby that’s strictly breast-fed and does not get any formula goes into ketosis within hours of birth and will stay in ketosis.”

Infants use ketones as fuel for the brain, and their brain is ready to take ketones 12 weeks into the pregnancy.

“The pregnant mother is in ketosis. A breastfeeding mother is in ketosis. During fasting, the ketone levels of the newborn and the pregnant or breastfeeding mother will rise much more rapidly than someone else who is not in that condition,” said Newport.

Ketones form part of the brain’s lipids.

“Ketones become building blocks for new lipids in the brain of the newborn including cholesterol which is very important in the brain. Our brain is 70 % fat including a lot of cholesterol.”

Small molecules

The fact that ketones are very small molecules enable them to be taken up easily by the brain as fuel.

Ketones and glucose are both fuel to prop up the TCA cycle (the second stage of cellular respiration) in metabolism as ketones produce an energy molecule called ATP.

“But ketones are more efficient because it bypasses 6 chemical reactions needed by glucose to get into the TCA cycle. Unlike glucose that can’t enter into the cell because of lack of insulin, ketones are more effective because it doesn’t need insulin to get into the cell.”

The body uses up within18-36 hours of starvation its glucose stored in the liver and muscle.

“We use it up very fast. We start breaking down fat into fatty acid for use as fuel for most organs or our body including the heart.”

“Ketones are smaller molecules that cross the brain barrier more quickly. Our brain has metabolic flexibility, and cells can switch in seconds to use of glucose or ketones.”


It was found out in the laboratory of Dr. George F. Cahill Jr (Howard Hughes Medical Institute) that brains of human can survive in a time of long period of fasting because of high ketone levels.

There was one lady under Cahill’s trial who wanted to lose weight. She agreed under the laboratory procedure to fast for 40 days with only water, salt tablets, and vitamins. The study found out her brain survived as her ketone levels, one involving beta hydroxybutyrate, rose dramatically as ketones served as fuel for the brain.

“If you’re not starving and you’re eating a typical diet, your ketone level is almost zero. But ketones provided two-thirds of fuel for her brain during starvation.”

That finding was true too on other people.

Ketone brain uptake

Another researcher, Dr, Stephen C. Cunnane (Mc Gill University), has done glucose and ketones PET scans at young, normal healthy people, older cognitively normal healthy people, people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and those with Alzheimer’s Disease.

“Dr Cunnane was able to show in Alzheimer’s that there are areas in the brain with poor glucose uptake. But those areas of the brain take up ketones more easily.”

Surpisingly, the normal brain needs more fuel than is usually available.

People with normal cognition were found to have 7% gap between the energy the brain needs and the energy it gets. This gap is worse in those with mild MCI and even worst in those with Alzheimer’s Disease.

“Taking MCT oil at 45 ML per day would fill in that gap for the energy the brain needs for somebody with mild cognitive impairment. That gives hope we may possibly prevent Alzheimer’s occurrence and help those with MCI and those with glucose uptake problems in the brain – Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.”

Survival from ketones

The human race’s brain apparently survived because of ketones. Nowadays, people don’t worry about hunger and famine.

But a long time ago, when human had to hunt and explore for food, hunger was real. Yet, ketones are able to sustain the energy the brain needs in times of famine.

“If a typical diet is rich in carbohydrates, glucose is the predominant fuel for the brain. But humans (in history) had periods of feast and famine. Our ancient ancestors did worry about famine, there’s no grocery store before. They would try to find food, but there’s no food. Thanks for ketones that we can use as fuel for the brain during fasting and starvation,” said Newport.


Another study involved astrocytes, cells in the brain that nourish nearby neurons.

“With some of the different cultures, they gave either oleic acid, or caprilic acid or C8 or lauric acid which is C12 (found in coconut oil). What they found was lauric acid directly (simulated) ketone production in these astrocytes,” said Newport.

“Because the lauric acid levels remained high after a long period of time, there may be more opportunities for the brain to use it, assuming it crosses the blood brain barrier. So a couple of things needs to be improved. Lauric acid crosses the blood brain barrier – if some scientists figure that out, that will be great.”


As there are also new developments leading to assumptions certain microorganisms may cause Alzheimer’s disease, experts are studying the use of coconut oil for such treatment as VCO is recognized to have antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antimicrobial ability.

One of such microorganism that may be causing Alzheimer’s is the herpes simplex virus. Microorganisms as a cause of Alzheimer’s too is the subject of some researches.

Other diseases

It started as treatment a long time ago for epilepsy.

Now ketogenic diet with the use of coconut oil is being seen as potential cure too for Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS, brain injury, oxygen toxicity, and glioblastoma which is a very aggressive brain tumor.

“Mild nutritional ketosis is really the low end of ketone levels –and that’s the kind of where we are if we consume coconut oil or MCT oil. The classic ketogenic diet has 10 times higher than that.”

This high ketogenic level has been used for almost 100 years to treat children with epilepsy successfully – eliminating or reducing seizures.

This has very high fat diet– 85-90 percent fat of the calories. All the calories is fat, Newport stressed.

“They calculate it to help a child grow, to maintain a lean body mass, less of carbs, very very small amount, 10-12 grams per day of carbohydrates. If you eat somewhere between 50-60% of your calories from fat, that is a point that will support ketosis. The more fat you eat, the higher the level of ketones you get over time, if you’re consistent.”

This is for serious health conditions.

“If you’re very serious about it, if you have a serious condition, it requires a lot of very strict calculation of your diet. Everything has to be weighed. It’s a very serious endeavor for people dealing with epilepsy and cancer.”

MCT sources

MCT from coconut oil offers as an important source of ketones that are not likely to be found in the usual Western diet from peanut oil, soybean oil, or corn oil, fish oil.

Surprisingly, the human breast milk contains MCT. Fats (cheeses and milk) of animals—goats, cows, and sheep—also contain MCT. Another MCT source is palm kernel oil. (Growth Publishing for UCAP)

1. Dr. Mary Newport
2. Coconut Oil & Low Carb Solution
3. Improvement in Drawing Clock after 14-Day Coconut Oil Intake

Dr. Mary Newport