To the Filipinos in the Bicol region, the pili tree is known as the “Tree of Hope”. Much like the ubquitious coconut, everything from it can be made useful, from the edible nuts to the sturdy bark. But for pili advocate Rosalina Tan-Ong, its true treasure is the oil that comes from the fruit, kernel and resin. Aided by the Department of Science and Technology, Tan has been able to determine that pili oil contains high levels of Vitamin E – natural skin oxidants, including the highly desirable Elemi oil, a key ingredient in perfumes such as Ralph Lauren and Chanel. With daughter Mary Jane, Ong vows to bring pili oil to world attention, attending trade shows, planting pili trees throughout the country.
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