A member of the nightshade family, the tomato is related to eggplant, potato, and bell pepper. It grows to at least one meter to about three meters in height. A support is often needed due to its herbaceous stem. Originally from the Americas, the tomato is believed to have reached Philippine shores during the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade in the 16th Century. The tomato is celebrated every December in the town of Laoac in Pangasinan province.
The fruit can be used raw in salads or served with condiments, such as patis (fish sauce) and bagoong. It can also be sauteed with garlic and onion to impart a savory taste to various dishes. Aside from being processed into ketchup, the fruit of the tomato plant can also be used in making beverages. Following is a picture of some tomato fruits: