Atis is the Philippine name for sweet sop or sugar Apple. This strange-looking fruit, which looks like an alien space ball, is actually native to Central America,the Caribbean and northern South America. The fruit was introduced to the Philippines during the Spanish times when Spain and Central America were actively engaged in the galleon trade of the 16th century. One can say that the atis is one of the many ‘souvenirs’ from the Philippines’ Spanish colonial past.
It takes some patience to eat this fruit. Its sweet soft flesh is literally pock-marked with small black seeds, each individual pod practically containing several small seeds. It is only eaten when fully riped, spooned out, and while sucking on the fleshy parts the black seeds can easily be spitted out.
The bark, roots and leaves of the atis tree are known to contain medicinal properties, and before modern drugs were introduced in the Philippines, the bark or leaves are used to treat diarrhoea, colds, fevers, insect bites and a host of other minor ailments.
Mabuhay ang atis!