Nature’s Rubik’s Cube

High school students, clad in bright orange life vests, fill the floating classroom. Today they will explore and learn about Puerto Galera’s diverse marine ecosystem of mangroves, seagrass, and coral reefs.

With each trip, a discovery.

Since 2014, we have sailed hundreds of SAS trips, with each trip presenting a new and unique learning experience. During a recent trip, a student discovered a natural Rubik’s cube, a no-gadget puzzle game!

Curiously, the student pries open the fruit revealing eight seeds. The scientific name of this peculiar dried fruit is Xylocarpus granatum. In Tagalog, the name is “tabigi,” and mangrove cannonball or a puzzle nut in English. The tree is a mangrove associate– a plant species that live together with true mangroves. The “tabigi” is a popular natural toy among the locals. The game’s object is to solve the puzzle fruit by reassembling the seeds to their original form. It took this kid about 45 minutes to assemble the puzzle fruit.

By Jason Arbaquez, EACY program coordinator, SFI