I spent 12 days in the Philippines with Ezrael and his family this past holiday season. While I’d love to recount every single moment for you, I’m sure you’d get bored… so let’s go with some glimpses!
Coconuts were introduced to the Philippines in 1642 as a colonial crop. Coconuts account for 26% of the total agricultural land in the PI. There are about 340 million coconut-bearing trees and 68 out of 79 provinces are coconut areas. For more coconut facts and historical perspective, check out the Philippine Coconut Authority. Yes, that’s a thing! It is managed by the Philippine Department of Agriculture.
Ez’s dad had a bunch of coconuts picked to make buko juice and buko pandan (a refreshing Filipino dessert). He also chopped up a couple with a machete so we could drink the fresh juice – check out the pics below!
Coconuts make popular souvenirs, some of which I came across in the marketplace. We hunted for some souvenirs in Greenhills, which was a huge shopping center with boutique mall shops, restaurants, and stalls upon stalls in a flea market setup. You could bargain for anything from electronics to fake designers purses, clothing, home goods, and souvenirs. In one stall, I tried my skills at bargaining in Tagalog (“tawad”) and came away with quite a few pieces to set up in my apartment. My favorite piece has to be the fused coconut shells seen below, which make a wonderful platter for candies or snacks. On the top, you see pastillas (made from sugar and milk with different flavors), boat tarts on the left, and Choc-Nut candy on the right. Coconuts are a huge industry in the Philippines so it’s nice to have brought a piece of that back with me.