It was a sweltering, hot day when we, the EV bloggers, visited the Vino de Coco factory in the suburbs of Tacloban City.
I just read about Vino de Coco in 8 magazine a couple of days ago and when I received an invite to meet the genius behind the innovative product I was more than excited to tag along. Honestly, I had an ulterior motive. I wanted to know what makes this wine more special than the tuba my lolo and uncle brew at home.
My lolo was such a talker and he loved good conversations. If he'd been still alive today, he would have loved discussing with Mr. Al Moreno, the owner of Vino de Coco about life and wine making.
They are both so passionate about their drink that I'm sure they will have a lovely time debating the pros and cons of the old and the new techniques.
Lolo made his the traditional way with his dama's while Mr. Moreno has got these gargantuan tanks to season the wine in.
While my uncle sold his in plastic mineral water bottles, Mr. Moreno marketed his in imported wine bottles.
What started out as a joke between Mr. Moreno and his stepfather, Mr.George Paraliza a few years back is now employing coconut farmers from various municipalities in Leyte and Samar like Barugo, Alang-alang, Jaro and Dulag during off copra season.
If you are interested to supply coconut sap, you can visit them at their factory at Marasbaras, Tacloban City;just across Mikyu Mart. I warn you though that they have stringent quality control. You can also contact them via their Facebook page if you have any inquiries on distribution and etc.
If I only know how to climb these coconut skyscraper's at my grandparent's huron, I would be selling Mr. Moreno fresh coconut sap too.
The father and son duo fusion of the managuete's old ways with modern science and technology has produced Vino de Coco - acetic, light, clean, smooth and very easy to drink. This product has already made the rounds of local and national product fairs and has steadily gained its fan base among wine connoisseurs and enthusiasts. In fact, there are already demands from places abroad.
Mr. Moreno warmly offered us a taste of both the white and the darker barok stained Vino de Coco. Me and the girls loved the white variety. It smelled like the common coconut vinegar and even tastes like one but there is a subtle sweetness in it that makes you crave for more.
It was a synesthetic experience for me and a palooza for my senses! The aroma flooded me with old memories. It reminded me of my hometown, Burauen and our house there which forever smelled like tuba.
When lolo was still alive and lola was still agile, there was always an unlimited coconut toddy for everyone who dropped by our place. He and lola would always drink a glass or two of tuba after every meal. Can I credit this as an elixir of youth?
My uncle, on the other hand who is very enterprising has turned tuba making into a booming business. His tuba has been hailed the finest in one Octubafest, from what I've heard
I got my first and last sip of tuba when I was about seven. Lola made me drink it because of its purgative qualities. I don't know the truth about this but I will never forget its taste.
As the fumes from the wine I sampled filled my nose it began exciting and stimulating my taste buds. (This is specially true for the darker and stronger Vino de Coco.) My eyes also got to see the beauty of the wines color and its bouquet.
Just as the barok stains never left its imprints on any Waraynon or Samarnons earthly possessions, tuba has also forever taken root in our own national identity. It is what fuel our merrymaking and boisterous fiestas. Hence, it is also the source of inspiration for our sidays and folk songs.
It is no wonder that this once upon a time backyard enterprise from the Las Islas Pintados is now slowly but surely conquering and captivating the world with its unique taste and history. Soon the world will be singing the Waraynon's alcohol intoxicated anthem:
Sung by the Mabuhay Singers in their Album "Bahal nga Tuba"
Waray-Waray, pirme may upay
Mayda lubi, mayda pa humay
Iton dagat damo it isda
Ha bungto han mga Waray.
Waray-Waray pirme malipay
Di makuri igkasarangkay
Nag-iinom kon nagkikita
Bas' kamingaw mawara!
Lugar han mga Waray-Waray
Kadto-a naton, pasyadaha
Diri birilngon an kalipay
Labi nga gud kon may fiesta.
Mga tawo nga Waray-Waray
Basta magkita, mayda upay
Diri kabos hit pakig-angay
Sayod kamo basta Waray.
Waray-Waray! (Waray-Waray kabuhi maupay)
Waray-Waray! (Damo iton lubi pati humay)
Waray-Waray! (It mga dagat riko hin isda)
Ha bungto han mga Waray!
Waray-Waray! (Waray-Waray pirme la malipay)
Waray-Waray! (Diri makuri igkasarangkay)
Waray-Waray! (Nag-iirignom kon nagkikita)
Bas' kamingaw mawara!
Our motley crew left the factory with high spirits and a Vino de Coco cradled on one arm, all thanks to our host Mr. Moreno. But as we walked out into a cold rain shower, all of a sudden, I felt like crying. A few months from now, Lolo will be having his first death anniversary. I'm sure tuba will freely flow again in our house but on that day, I'll give lolo and his drinking buddies in heaven something to talk about. I'll open up my special Vino de Coco token and pour Lolo a tagay.