Lolita and the Manila MangoFriday, March 17, 2006
Maria de los Dolores Reyes de Irureta Goyena, my grandmother, (here in Madrid in 1913 when she was 22), lived in Manila where she spoke Tagalog and English, because the Americans had occupied the Phillipines after the Spanish American War. Indeed, one of my grandfather Tirso de Irureta Goyena's uncles was one of the Spanish generals who surrendered to Admiral George Dewey in 1898 in the Battle of Manila Bay. My grandmother lived with us until I was 21 and she taught me many things besides a love for the Spanish language. She often told me that Tirso was one of the few, if the only, Filipino member of the Real Academia Española which is the final authority of the Spanish language. Lolita taught me to appreciate the arts, specially music. We both loved sweets and she showed me three ways of eating a Manila mango. In the 1500s the Manila Galleons sailed to Acapulco in Colonial Mexico. Two chinese farmers brought with them pits of Manila mangoes and they planted them all (except for a few) in Acapulco where they did poorly. They travelled by land to Veracruz where they planted the remnants. To this day the best Manila mangoes in Mexico grow in Veracruz. My granddaughter Rebecca loves mangoes and insists on eating them with Lolita's favourite method. The mango is sliced lengthwise with a sharp knife on both sides of the pit. These are scooped with a spoon. The pit is then carefully put on a plate and, with a firm hit of the the palm, a table knife is punched in. Here it is, right before Rebecca went after it with gusto.
Real Academia Española
Don Tirso de Irureta Goyena