Saturday, August 27, 2011

10th National Coconut Festival

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Coconut is also known as the "Tree of Life" and the coconut is not called this for nothing. This tree has many uses from the roots to the tops.

In the 10th National Coconut Festival, the common uses and the recently discovered uses of this wonder tree was showcased for free.

Here are some photos from the exhibit and some coconut tidbits in relation with the photo.


First of all, coconut provides food... and drinks.

(Above) Nata de Coco or Coconut Gel is a favorite ingredient for making Filipino desserts. These gel cubes are usually colored green or red and it is commonly used in buko (young coconut) salad and fruit salads. Nowadays, it is now mixed into fruit juices such as grapes, strawberry, and lychee; but, it is better to use the white colored cubes for a neutral color blend.

(Left) A dessert made from young coconut, coconut milk/cream, and coconut flavored jelly called "buko pandan"

(Left) Coconut Jam is a delicious companion to bread... as in any kind of bread, specially the famous hot Pan de Sal. Some Filipinos even eat this with rice, or, by itself.


(Right) This product is yet to be discovered by the masses but it seems that it has a full of potential to be a household choice.

(Left) People debate whether to call this coconut water or coconut juice. With all that jazz, one thing is for sure, this drink is one of the purest drinks available in the market today. This drink helps the body in so many ways. One thing is that this is a good remedy against urinary tract infection.

And here is the best part of food and drinks... coconut is also used to produce an essential body fluid that we all need    ---    ALCOHOL.

In the Philippines, this spirit is locally called LAMBANOG and they come in different colors and flavors. When translated to English, many people still call this as coconut wine but SOME already prefer to call it COCONUT VODKA. Vodka sounds right because wine production goes through a different process than in vodka and/or lambanog. Anyway, old folks originally infuse lambanog with jackfruit and/or raisins but today's generation has more flavors to choose from --- from pineapple and strawberry to bubblegum and so on. There were also several Philippine alcopop brands made with lambanog in the early 2000s but I wonder where they are now. As far as I can recall, one brand was called "Malice." Anyway, though this alcoholic beverage comes in tutti frutti colors and flavors nowadays, 100% pure lambanog (with no flavoring or whatsoever) is still popular to many people since it is used as the base for many new-age concoctions.

A man samples a shot of coconut wine / vodka at the expo

In other countries, coconut VODKA is also popular. French vodka maker Ciroc is one of the many examples of its fine producers. A 750ml of Ciroc may cost around $30 but a homegrown (Philippine) brand will just cost you around $3 to 4.

Going back to the topic, another use of coconut in connection to food and beverage is being part of food preparation and dining.

(Below) Coconut oil was discovered to be rich in lauric acid, which is known for being antiviral and antibacterial. One of the pioneers of Philippine cooking oil brands was seen present at the exhibit.

(Above) Vinegar can be made from coconuts and spiced coconut vinegar or locally known as SINAMAK is an important condiment in a Filipino gourmand's meal.... and after meals. This goes well with pork rinds, fish crackers or any other fatty and salty food. This also goes VERY well with grilled or fried fish and meat; and this is the standard dip for a "special" street food in the Philippines called isaw. By the way, one of the best isaw stalls is in University of the Philippines - Diliman Campus, just ask people where U.P. Mall is.

(Below) Coconut seems to produce sugar and it can be a good substitute to other sweeteners. They say that this is a better alternative than artificial sweeteners for diabetics. Coconut sap sugar is also rich in vitamins and minerals and that really proves that it is a better choice than sugar cane based sweeteners.

Another use of coconut is that it can be used for healthcare. Virgin coconut oil is used as a food supplement and for cosmetics.

(Above) According to new findings, coconut can help people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. This man, known as “Doctor Coconut,” was there at the exhibit and has explained something about this. He gave his panel speech and has been answering questions from his audience after.

(Right) This machine extracts virgin coconut oil from desiccated coconut powder. Operators just put a handful of the powder and the liquid comes out in just a few seconds.


The coconut tree really proves itself as the tree of all trades since many of its parts can be used for household effects; or, can also be used as home decors, packaging, and fashion accessories.

(Above) Coconut husk can be used for scrubbing pots, pans, and even tiles. This was a very common use for coconut husks in the provinces several decades back since non-abrasive scouring pads were not yet commonly available in the market. It can also be used as a “manual” polisher for wooden or concrete floor.

Coconut fiber, or otherwise called coconut coir, can also be spun and woven into many desired shapes and products.

(Left) Door mats made from coconut fiber available in different colors.

(Left) Coconut midribs makes a good outdoor broom... just like the Nimbus 2000.


 (Above) A coconut fiber net

(Above) A roll of coconut fiber yarn/rope

 Lanterns made from coconut shells give that tropical ambiance in your lounge

(Below) Table lamps made from coconut shells

(Above) Coconut fibers used for growing orchids and other aerial plants.

(Left) Natural packaging for coconut jam using coconut shells

(Above) Many fashion accessories are also made from coconut materials.

These are just some of the uses of the coconut tree and there are actually more uses out there. From rice cake packaging, desserts to kitchen utensils... From toys, clothing to building materials... Just name it and you may just have it. This tree is really one of the most versatile masterpiece of nature and it is also one of the most resilient trees around that is able to withstand all types of inclement weather.

To sum up, the event was successful and TWO-THUMBS UP to the organizers for a job well done.


Coconut: The Tree of Life

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