Coconut wine making (Lambanog)

The process begins with the coconut tree — “the tree of life.” As with most fruit-bearing trees, flowers turn into the fruit. Lambanog making trees never produce fruit, because it is the sap from the coconut flower that is the crucial ingredient for this unique coconut wine. Plantation workers called mangagarit. tukil climb the coconut trees every afternoon to prune the flowers so that their sap drips into bamboo receptacles called .(This process is analogous to rubber tree tapping.) The next morning, the mangagarit returns to collect the sap from these receptacles. The sap is then put through a cooking or fermentation process, which produces a popular coconut toddy called tuba. The tuba is then taken and distilled to produce lambanog. Until recently, lambanog was primarily an local drink, much like the Tequila of Mexico and Vodka of Russia. Lambanog is widely enjoyed by the locals of this municipality, and festive occasions are incomplete without the traditional “tagayan” or wine-drinking. While the “tagayan” can take on different forms, the most common kind involves taking turns drinking out of a single glass set in the middle of the group.

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