We recently discovered this place, thanks to a friend (hi Che!).
Just about 1.5 hours away from Manila (we came from San Juan) lies this little farm where you can actually do Mulberry and Fig picking (depending on season, of course!)
Wilson’s Instant Tree Bank is located in San Fernando, Pampanga. To get there, all we needed to do was search WILSON’S INSTANT TREE BANK on Waze (you can also search via Google Maps).
When you get there, you’ll be asked to pay for a cup for picking for PHP 50.
This is how it’ll look like when you enter the actual fruit picking area. It’s small — the perfect place for children!
My son was so excited to pick on his own (he actually got to fill his cup) because of the size of the trees — so many berries also on the lower part of the trees — the height definitely made it very attractive to my child.
We left Manila late, so we arrived around 3 or 4 in the afternoon, which meant that many of the berries had already been picked. All that was left was the red variety — sour but high in anti-oxidants!
We bought the cup with their harvest so we could taste the darker berries, and wow! They were sweet. Really good.
We weren’t there for a long time, but we definitely enjoyed! It was worth the daytrip!
If you’d like to do this too, here are some information and tips:
- Follow WILSON’S INSTANT TREE BANK on Facebook and Instagram to get updated on the picking dates. Take note that it’s not everyday, so make sure there’s picking before you go. You may also call: +63927-6261099. We asked when the next one will be — sometime around March, according to them (and May for figs). I think they’ll try to do fruit pickings every month if possible. Apparently, the owner (Benson Aboujafari) of the farm is a Plant Scientist and Plant Doctor and not only did he acclimatize the mulberries from Illinois, Chicago to our tropical climate, he also researched and came up with the idea of defoliating them so that they don’t only grow in seasons. This method allows them to harvest mulberries every 60 days! No wonder they call it EVERBEARING! His daughter wrote an interesting blog about their story. You can read it HERE.
- Operating hours: 08:00 AM – 06:00 PM for picking. Until 05:00 pm when there’s no picking. You can also visit the farm even if there’s no picking (if you’d like to buy tree seedlings).
- I know parents often have concerns about the origin of food, so to take away your worries, i’m happy to report that they don’t use pesticides or insecticides in their trees. We actually ate them straight from the cup. Of course, you can also wait until you get home and wash the fruits if that’s what you prefer.
- You don’t need to reserve if you plan to go, but it’s best to go early in the morning so you have a higher chance of a better quality harvest. That said, we went late afternoon and still enjoyed our experience.
- To go there, simply search Wilson’s Instant Tree Bank on Waze or Google Maps. For reference though, here’s the complete address: KM77 McArthur Highway, City of San Fernando, Pampanga
- You can park outside, but there are also some parking spaces inside.
- I wanted to bring my own “cup” to do less waste, but not sure how since that’s their measurement for their picking. I wish they would switch to compostable baskets.
- There are three varieties of their Illinois Mulberries:
red – sour, high in anti-oxidants
red with purple – sweet and sour
purple – sweet
According to their guidelines, you are allowed to taste one piece for red, and one piece for dark.
- Entrance is free, parking is free, you only pay per cup, which is PHP 50/cup of mulberries. You can also buy cups with their pre-picked harvest for also PHP 50/cup.
- You can also buy seedlings for PHP 150. It comes with a mineral fertilizer. How to care for it: water once a day, and put the fertilizer twice a month around the plant. This tree thrives in full sun!
That’s about it. Hope this blogpost was helpful in your planning. I hope you also get to visit and enjoy fruit picking with your family soon! Safe trip!