Philippine Durian Varieties

It's unknown exactly how long ago durian arrived in the Philippines, but most likely it has been cultivated for just as long as in Malaysia, and far longer than in Thailand. One Philippine island, Palawan, is actually thought to have broken off of Borneo. Several durian species can be found there, including d. graveolen and d. testudinarium.

Durian hybrids entered the Philippines in the 1970's, when several seeds of Thailand's Chanee were brought home by visiting embassaries. Now two Chanee-relatives, Arancillio and Puyat, dominate the market. Filipinos generally prefer their durian strong smelling and bitter, which is one reason that Monthong never found a strong foothold here. This dominance of Chanee-like durians gives Philippine durian a seeming one-note flavor, but the islands hide some surprising gems.

Ninety-nine percent of Filipino durian is grown on the island of Mindanao, while 70% of that is grown within the Davao City Province, mostly in Calinan.  Production estimates usually waver around 40,000 tonnes per year, although it depends on the weather and in general production is growing. The year 2010 saw a bumper crop of 36,000 tonnes in Davao City alone, with 1500 more hectares of durian orchard to mature in the next two years.


The durian preferred by locals, the native is the original durian of the Philippines. Like kampung in Malaysia and durian ban in Thailand, the term native comprises a number of uncultivated trees. Native is usually white fleshed durian, but also comes in shades of yellow.  It is the strongest tasting durian, but with its large seeds and thin flesh, is the most expensive buy.


My top pick of the Filipino durian, Arancillo combines the strong flavor and bitternesss of the native with slightly thicker flesh and a smooth, silky texture. It is apparently a seedling of the Thai Chanee, discovered by former BPI-PhilFruits director Vicente Arancillo. While it is one of the preferred durians by taste, Arancillo has a tendency to rot in heavy rain and is not a recommended variety for export.


Puyat has a beautiful yellow-orange coloration and a very thick, bitter-sweet flesh. It is one of the largest durians, recognizable by its large brown spikes, pear shape, and thick stem. Like Arancillo, it is a seedling of a Chanee, brought to the Philippines in the 1970's by a Mr. Puyat. When the Singapore Fruits and Vegetable Association visited Davao this year, out of twelve selected varieties Puyat was their favorite. Since the tree is also resistant to phytophtera and other types of fungus, it is currently the favored variety among farmers. Edible portion: 40%

Chanee, or D123 (picture coming soon)

Another import from Thailand, Chanee was the first hybrid variety to hit the Philippines. It wasn't a complete hit, but its offspring, Arancillo and Puyat, are now the most popular varieties.

Alcon Fancy

Alcon Fancy is rare these days. We found one at the SM City Mall supermarket. A bright yellow durian with very thick flesh, Alcon Fancy has a very mild flavor and aroma. It is grown in Tugbok, near Davao City. Edible portion: 40%


A bright yellow durian with a strange, elongated shape very like the Petruk durian from Java. It's actually the seedling of a Monthong, and is reliably sweet. The name Duyaya is a combination of "Durian" and "Bisaya" - the ethnic tribe of Calinan farmer Severino Belviz. Edible portion: 32%

Kob, or D99

Registered as D99 in Malaysia, Kob is originally from Thailand. In the Philippines, it's one of the most popular durian varieties and one my top picks. It comes in two colors depending on the altitude, yellow or white, and is reliably chocolate-sweet with a thick flesh.  It is one of the durians considered for export.


Malaysian durian varieties, such as D101, are just beginning to filter into the Philippines. While rare, D101 is the most popular because of its thick, buttery flesh and frosting-like sweetness.


Another Malaysian variety, D24 is always delicious, although difficult to find. Vendors at Magsaysay sometimes carry this one.

 Red Prawn

Rob's favorite durian, Red Prawn is also Malaysian. We first tasted it in Penang, and it's wonderful. It's really good in the Philippines too, and for a much lower price. We ate this variety every night we were in Tagum City at the Jemapis Farm stall.


Graveolens are native to the island of Palawan, Philippines. Although rare, they are grown sometimes around Davao, and are often grown for rootstock. We happened upon our first Graveolen near Magsaysay Durian Park. Graveolens taste very different than normal durians, with an incredible odor and heavy, thick flesh. They weight less than a kilo and come in three different colors; red, orange and yellow.

Thornless Durian

The thornless durian wasn't fruiting when we visited BPI, but Dr. Virgilio Loquias assured us that it is as smooth as a grapefruit. It was discovered in Compostela Valley in the 1950's by Mr. Dominador Pascual, Superintendent of the then Davao Experiment Station ( BPI-DES). Several trees were planted at Llaneza Farm, in Mulig, Torril, near Calinan. In 1964, a tree was planted at BPI, which is the one we saw. According to Dr. Loquias, its a white fleshed durian with a taste very similar to a native.

On June 27,1964, President Diosdado P. Macapagal planted a thorn less durian tree served as a memorial tree during his visit at the Davao Experiment Station with BPI Director Eugenio E. Cruz during the opening of the Mindanao and Sulu Industrial, Commercial and Trade Fair.

Honorable Mentions:

Soriano/Obusa: often mistaken for Monthong. Not popular because of tendency to rot.

Lacson 1 and Lacson 2

Mamer: A type of native, it was named after Mamerto Fernandez and has an edible portion as high as 25 percent! Commonly found in Barangays Serib and Dumalang in Calinan.


  1. this was excellent to read....thank you.....40%! on puyat, i can believe with you on Arancillo and White Cob....i am amazed that the redprawn taste same and is 6times cheaper! that is great news for me....Tagum 2013 is on my Radar for sure...aloha,D

  2. wow you guys did an amazing job researching all the varieties and their history. learned so much!

  3. Puyat
    "Since the tree is also resistant to phytophtera and other types of fungus, it is currently the favored variety among farmers. Edible portion: 40%"

    Is Phytophthora not a fungus, and is from "a different kingdom altogether"?:

    Is it also popular because of its long shelf-life?
    And is that long shelf-life due to something other than its resistance to "phytophtera" (phytophthora) and other molds?

    "The name Duyaya is a combination of "Durian" and "Bisaya" - the ethnic tribe of Calinan farmer Severino Belviz."
    Is it more correct as Biyaya (not "Bisaya")and also meaning blessed or grace?

    Is it more accurately the Graveolens?:

    Red Prawn
    Mostly signposted as 'Red Fron', and is that because they pronounce it that way?
    Known in Malaysia as Udang Merah and Ang Hae.
    And is it D175, as mentioned here?:

    Thornless Durian
    "...Several trees were planted at Llaneza Farm, in Mulig, Torril, near Calinan."
    "Torril" (Toril) is about 20 kms southwest of Davao City, but Calinan is maybe about 50 kms northwest of Davao City.

    And where is Mulig?

    "Honourable Mention:

    Mamer:(;?) A type of native..."

    Are the native/kampung/durian ban all seedlings?
    And if they are all seedlings, is a native 'variety' such as 'Mamer' etc only available from only one tree specimen?
    Or are the native varieties actually grafted or cutting-grown trees, and all with fruit that have a low percentage of edible flesh?

    And a seedling/native tree's fruit all have the same taste from the tree that they grow on?

    1. Wow, you've really done some durian websurfing! Let's see if I can answer all your questions.

      All the experts I've spoken to so far described Phytophtera as a fungus. I guess I should have wiki-ed it!

      Yes, Red Prawn is the same as D175. That is the name it is registered under in Malaysia. They do pronounce it "Red Prawn" in the Philippines, and it has many different spellings, my favorite being "Red Frown."

      You can google map "Mulig", its in the district of Toril, which is all vaguely referred to as "Calinan" by the durian vendors.

      All native/ban/kampungs are seedling trees. If a tree is very good, sometimes people will name it and distribute scions to others so they can have the good quality durians. Then it becomes an official variety, as with Mamer.

      Durian flavor varies somewhat depending on the season, amount of rain, amount of sunshine, fertilizer, and even the side of the tree it grows on, but in general yes, if a tree is good all the durians on that tree are good.

      Hope that answers your questions!

    2. Duyaya
      "The name Duyaya is a combination of "Durian" and "Bisaya" - the ethnic tribe of Calinan farmer Severino Belviz."

      -Yes, this is correct. "Duryaya" comes from "Durian" and "Biyaya". "Biyaya" means Blessing in the Davao Dialect, Bisaya.

    3. Thanks for clarifying RC_Tech.

    4. Duyaya is coined from the words durian and biyaya, du for durian and yaya from biyaya which is the visayan word for blessing. My dad used this name because when he tasted the duyaya, it is a blessing from God to plant such a delicious durian.

    5. Hi Emmanuel, thanks for commenting. Did your dad grow this durian first? That is very cool.

  4. hi lindsay,

    as a singaporean durian lover now exiled in durianless europe, i am completely awestruck how you have elevated durian eating into a science AND an art form at the same time

    love red prawn and will check out phillippines for sure. Would I be able to get red prawn in Jan/Feb and where would you recommend?

    many thanks

  5. Hey Jem,

    Thanks for reading! Hope you get the chance to fill up on durian during your visit :)

    The best place for you in January is Peninsular Malaysia - just go up north a little to the Raub area and you will be in heaven. You're missing Red Prawn season, but there are plenty of other fantastic cultivars.

    There will be few durians in the Philippines in January, and no red prawn. You need to go in late August to catch red prawn.


  6. Hi Lindsay,

    Would like to know when the next durian season in the Philippines is. Thanks.

  7. Dear Lindsay,

    Could I use your picture of the thornless durians for a presentation? You are the only person with pictures of it. I will credit your website in the slides.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Yih Shian, I don't mind you using the photo, but it is not mine. I'm actually not sure whose it is or where I found it, now that I think of it. I really should look it up and give proper credit. Thanks for reminding me!

  8. Tried Arancillo today for the first time, its really nice with perfect amount of bitterness for my liking,, not too sweet and amazing texture. I got a couple Kob's today but some of the pods had some kind of rot.

    1. Hi Ben, in my experience Kob has a tendency to be overripe by the time it gets to market.

  9. Hi loving the page/blog.I have been staying in Cagayan de Oro for the past month and all I have come across is Chanee, Puyat, Arancillo (today I found a place selling Native will try tomorrow). Are there really all of these varieties? Or what cities should one be on the look out for for each type? my other question is, is there any truth that Durian should be eaten alone and not with other fruits? alot of people keep saying that one shouldn't or can't eat Durian with Coconut, jackfruit, mango, etc (i think they have said all fruits). True or Myth?

  10. ^to add to above. Out of the 3 I have tried, Puyat I thought tasted the best. But Durians seem to be "hit or miss". I have had Puyat 4 times and the others just one. The first time it was gross, 2nd it was good, 3rd time not that good, and fourth time good. Do you think I Should give the others a go again?

    1. Hi Anonymous,
      I would definitely give the others a go again. Puyat is actually very closely related to Chanee and they should taste similarly. It's possibly you simply had a bad one. To get more variety, head to the Tagum City area or further south to Calinan area near Davao. Davao City also has quite a bit of diversity. Personally, the only fruit I wouldn't mix durian with is tomatoes, but I have friends who love that combo! I don't know any reason you shouldn't mix durian with other fruits other than personal preference.

    2. yea i tried the other night mixing durian with jackfruit to see if I would explode since they consider that suicide here, nothing happened. I also tried another type of Durian that was really delicious and Nutty flavored it was my favorite so far! they were selling Puyat and this kind that is not on your list, and I think the name was "bula bula", or "pula pula" or something along those lines. Know anything of it?? I think I will give Arancillo another go, when I had it tasted like almost sort of sweet but spicy/a little nutty mixed with bubblegum it was strange best way I can describe the taste. Literally the Puyat has tasted different each time I have had it. I feel like many natives are selling me the bad ones, and I am having a hard time telling which ones are good =( .


So, whatcha think?