THE MALUNGGAY ADVOCATE, CONSUMER, AND PARTNER
SHE IS THE MOTHER of celebrity Drew Arellano and the mother-in-law of another celebrity, Iya Villania; she is also the daughter of former Pangasinan governor and minister of the Department of Agrarian Reform Conrado Estrella Sr. But Bernadette E. Arellano, 68, of Rosales, Pangasinan, has created her niche in the agriculture industry as a quiet but powerful force in the promotion of malunggay, the so-called “wonder vegetable.” MALUNGGAY’S BENEFITS “Bernie,” as Arellano is fondly called, is convinced of the nutritional benefits and healing powers of malunggay. Thus, she wants this vegetable propagated and consumed by people of all ages nationwide.
Malunggay’s scientific name is Moringa oleifera; in English, it is known as the “drumstick” or “horse radish” tree. It is abundant in the Philippine countryside as a backyard vegetable, and is a popular addition to bread, soup, and various viands. Filipino recipes like tinolang manok, corn soup with malunggay, and malunggay-enriched pandesal all contain the leafy green vegetable.
Packed with nutrients like calcium, iron, phosphorus and vitamins—especially Vitamins A and C—it has many medicinal uses, with all its plant parts utilized for that purpose. The young leaves of the malunggay are fed to lactating mothers to increase their flow of breast milk. Malunggay fruits and leaves are good for constipation, hypertension, gout, and asthma. Powdered roots are used for inflammation and swelling.
So many are malunggay’s health benefits that Arellano herself consumes five capsules of malunggay every morning, noon, and evening. She believes her quick recovery after pancreas surgery—much to her doctor’s amazement—was due to malunggay’s benefits.
HER ADVOCACY Arellano founded the Moringaling Philippines Foundation, Inc. (MPFI) in 2009 to “build up a strong, sustainable and globally competitive moringa industry in the Philippines.” Members include farmers, processors, exporters, consumers, exporters, and health enthusiasts.
Every year, the foundation organizes the Moringa Congress, during which members meet to share experiences, listen to discussions of trends and advances in the industry, and network with other participants. Although Arellano is no longer the chairperson of the MPFI, she actively participates in its activities.
She believes that malunggay is the key to preventing malnutrition among children and she strongly advocates for its propagation and consumption. Arellano maintains four
The malunggay advocate, Bernadette E. Arellano, at her residence in Rosales, Pangasinan.