The Philippines is blessed to have grown coconuts in abundance. It was believed that the first coconuts to have reached the Philippines were brought by sea travelers and explorers. During the Spanish-era Philippines, Spanish authorities instructed each and every Filipino to plant coconut as much as possible and as much as they can. The result, today, the Philippines ranks as one of the world's largest coconut producing countries.
I can still remember when I was a lot younger when my grandmother used to cook us a Filipino delicacy called "biko". It is made from a certain type of rice called "pilit" mixed up with "latik". A latik is a molasses-like mixture of pure coconut milk and a much rawer form of sugar called "camay" cooked for several minutes until the mixture boils and becomes very sticky. The cooked pilit is then poured into the boiling latik and, after being mixed up very well, a biko now it will be called.
A biko would never taste any good without the coconut milk as one of its ingredients. The more coconut milk being used, the better the biko would taste. The following are just some of the many uses of coconut trees:
- Coconut timber for lumber. Coco lumber is more affordable than other lumbers.
- Coco milk as hair conditioner. It leaves the hair looking very shiny and fresh.
- Coconut ribs for brooms.
- Cholesterol-free cooking oil produced from the matured coconut meat.
- Coco milk for cooking purposes.
- Coconut husk as floor polisher.
- Young coconut meat or also called as "buko" for snacks is not only delicious, but a very nutritious one as well.
- Coconut shells for fuel and also for charcoal.
- Young leaf shoots may be eaten as salads.
- A natural vinegar will be produced from the fermented coconut water.
- The coconut water is a natural isotonic beverage, with the same level of electrolytic balance as the blood, is, in fact, more nutritious than milk.
- Native wine called "tuba" is produced out of its nectar.
There are still a lot more uses of the coconut tree. It is just right to call it "The Tree of Life".