Coconuts are an essential food crop in many tropical regions more than ever in the Philippines where these trees are widely distributed. The meat of coconuts, either raw or prepared, is an important food in the Tropics. The terminal bud, known as palm cabbage, is considered a delicacy, and trees are often cut down for the sake of it; the central part of the young stem is also succulent and edible. The sap, or toddy, like that of some other palms, is a favorite beverage in tropical countries, either in the natural state or after fermentation, which takes place in a few hours. Palm wine, or arrack, also a spirituous liquor, is obtained by distillation of fermented sap. The tree root possesses narcotic properties and is sometimes chewed.
Sun’s up again suggesting a sizzling summer. This fruit belonging to the Palm family plays a crucial function in this period of great happiness. The commercial sites of beaches coupled with the strong action of waves and currents invite the frenzied like bums in board shorts printed with magnificent coconut leaves design to take a headlong plunge into the sea. But what I adore most about summer solstice is the thunderous voice of my barkada sounding “mamutong ta bai!” It is really, really, yes, really earsplitting for some, yet, incomparable for us. This is how glory for us is pulled off along with the scorching heat of the jealous father sun since attention is paid to the “butong” instead. Only idiots could forget the famous lines:
”Palayo mo kay basi’g mahugan mo”
“Paghinay og naog”
”Isawd sa pitsel”
”Palit gatas, ice og Marie nga biskwit sa tindahan kay mag-lamaw ta”
…and perfected by the disgusting gulp and slurping sound of the starving faces while swallowing the “lamaw” as sweat trickles from the forehead down to the neck. After that chilly session, someone will certainly scream out loud “mag-inom ta’g tuba!” Who would ever be able to refuse that electrifying and enticing proposal! Drinking session follows without delay. This is the time when great minds and mishaps meet, not only that, everybody becomes real too that sometimes the expression “imung utok nasagulan na og tuba!” comes out when arguments start to float up. But hey, this is not just a remedy for a slack season; this is also a way of loosening up from shabbiness.
Why I included COPRAS in the title…
It was a gloomy April afternoon, but sweat started to trickle down my face as I hurried to the bus terminal with a bagful of grocery stuffs. On my way to the station, I overheard an old man inside a jeepney saying “asa ma’g drayber ani oy?! Mang-larga na ta kay init kaayo! Mura ta’g copras gibuwad!” I heard some giggles and I realized then that summertime was about to kick off! J
“Love is also like a coconut which is good while it is fresh, but you have to spit it out when the juice is gone, what’s left tastes bitter.”
-Bertolt Brecht (1898 – 1956)