Moringa, or more commonly known as “malunggay" or "balunggay”, has come a long way. Touted as the most nutritious vegetable, it was the subject of the 4th National Moringa Congress and Exhibits held in Lingayen, Pangasinan last November 15- 16, 2012. The Congress, which was sponsored by the Moringaling Philippines Foundation Incorporated (MPFI) in partnership with the provincial government of Pangasinan,brought together experts on moringa and about 700 participants from all over the country.
Malunggay is now declared as the national vegetable, thanks to recommendation of MPFI, and November is Malunggay Month as passed and approved by the Congress of the Republic of the Philippines.
Among the Moringa Congress speakers was Central Philippine University (CPU) alumnus Dr. Manuel C. Palada who spoke on on the topic “Moringa for Health: A Brief Review of New Developments in Nutrition and Health”. Dr. Palada has a collection, within CPU campus, of various moringa species from around the world. Together with some faculty members, he has conducted researches on moringa and has been a vocal advocate of its numerous applications.
A World Bank agriculture consultant and the 2005 "Outstanding International Horticulturist" awardee of the American Society for Horticultural Science, Dr. Palada is also the President/ Chief Executive Officer of Farm Systems International Organization (FSI). He organized FSI upon his retirement as Head of the Crop and Ecosystems Management Unit at AVRDC -The World Vegetable Center in Taiwan. Dr. Palada brings back to the Philippines a wealth of experience from working in several countries in Asia and Africa and is more than enthusiastic in sharing the results of his work with his countrymen. Before his Taiwan stint, he served as Assistant Director and Professor at the Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Virgin Islands (U.S.) for 13 years.
Dr. Palada remains a consultant of the Taiwan World Vegetable Center (AVRDC) and the University of Virgin Islands (U.S.) and at the same time serves at CPU College of Agriculture, Resources and Environmental Sciences as visiting professor on sustainable agriculture.
Dr. Palada, (center) with Dr. Andreas Ebert (left), AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center, Taiwan and Dr. Rafael Barrozo (right), Organic Training Center, UPLB at the Moringa Farm in Pangasinan, November 16, 2012.