At the end of the nineteenth century, several plant species were introduced into the Philippines. These came from different parts of the world and included fruits, vegetables and medicinal plants. Some proved to be valuable and easily adapted to the Philippine conditions while others were less promising and did not gain a wide acceptance among the populace. One of the introductions which proved to be suitable to the Philippine soil and climatic conditions was the avocado.
Known as ‘aguacate’ in Spanish and ‘alligator pear’, ‘Palta pear’, ‘Midshipman’s butter’ and ‘avocado’ in English, it is called as ‘abokado’ in the Philippine vernacular. It was introduced into the Philippines in 1890 by the Spaniards through seeds coming from Mexico. However, it was only from 1902 to 1907 that avocado was introduced successfully into the Philippines by the Americans. Through the Bureau of Agriculture (now the Bureau of Plant Industry which is under the Department of Agriculture), planting materials were received from Hawaii, Costa Rica and the United States. In 1913, the Bureau of Agriculture, together with the College of Agriculture of the University of the Philippines Los Baños, started the countrywide spreading of avocado trees. Now, avocados are found growing all over the country, most of which are cultivated in backyards.