Tuesday, April 23, 2019

T is for Tamarind Tree (A to Z Challenge 2019: Fruit Folktales)

Sampaloc Lake is the largest of seven lakes near San Pablo City in the Philippines. There is a legend about how the lake was born, and that legend just happens to be tied to a tamarind tree.

The legend tells of a greedy couple who lived nearby once upon a time, and owned a huge tamarind tree. On a hot day, an old woman stopped at their house, begging for some tamarind fruit from the tree; she was sick, and only the sour taste of the fruit could cure her. The couple, however, rudely told her that the fruit was not for sale, and they would definitely not give it away for free. The old woman kept begging, and even tried to pick a fruit, until the evil couple set the dogs on her.

Chased away from the tree without any fruit, the old woman cursed the owners. They laughed at her words... but soon after an avalanche was unleashed, and it buried them, house and all. The avalanche was followed by a deluge, and a new lake was formed where the house had once been.
Legend says that the huge tamarind tree still stands on the bottom of the lake, full of fruit. Legend also says that the lake claims a life every day, so people should not be swimming in it.

The lake is called Sampaloc Lake - sampaloc is the Tagalog word for tamarind.

(Read the legend here or here.)


  1. I looked up the lake online, and Wikipedia has very little information, but has this story! In their version the man was a nymph in disguise.
    I was hoping to read how dangerous it was to swim in the lake. It is a collapsed volcano, so it would be very deep, which would scare me!
    The only think I know about tamarinds are the Mexican drink made from it, tamarindo.

  2. I found it next to impossible to find Tamarind. Thankfully I didn't have to get it from the tree on that lake.

  3. How mean of the couple as not to share tamarind with the sick lady. It is said that the fruits/bounty of Nature should be shared with all needy.We used tamarind in Indian cooking.


  4. The lake looks so peaceful. It also looks cold. Must be that mountain in the background.

  5. OMG! My mouth started watering the moment I read the title of your post! :P

    Such miserly couples! Tamarinds grow in such abundance on trees, how come they couldn't find it in their hearts to share even a small piece? Huh! Very weird.

    Well, I don't have any travel plans for Philippines in the near future, but in case I ever go there, I'll stay away from this lake! :P ;)

  6. A real lake origin story - how fabulous. I've never had tamarind, but I'm putting it on my seek list.

  7. Yummy! Love tamarinds! And by the way, thank you for your great support for AtoZ challenge ;)

  8. Never had tamarinds myself, but it's an interesting story.

  9. Tamarind is kind of everyday stuff where I come from, used in cooking and making chutneys and as curry base and summer drinks and a whole lot of other things - I don't really understand why anyone should be so super reluctant to give a couple of pods away... :)

  10. The fruit is totally foreign to me but the story is a good lesson on charity.
    Stephanie Finnell
    @randallbychance from
    Katy Trail Creations

  11. We had huge tamarind tree in my grand parents house in the village. It was more than 30 years old but one day it just fell on the balcony of our house but there was no damage. We enjoyed tamarind chutney and other sweet sour things made from it. Now we have planted Neem tree in its place.

    Each story has the moral - be good, do good, give more and quit being greedy. I like these folktales.
    Wonder if the tamarind tree really exists below that lake.

    Three Two One…

  12. I’ve only had tamarind as a sauce in which to dip my Indian takeaway. I wonder what the fruit would be like?

  13. Sounds like karma in action to me!

    DB McNicol, author
    A to Z Microfiction: Tea

  14. I like the idea of a tree under water...

    Ronel visiting with the A-Z Challenge music and writing: Sweet Country

  15. oh what a tale of Sampaloc Lake and tamarind tree. I love the tangy taste of tamarind a lot.