OUR ISLANDS AND THEIR PEOPLE.
produce from two hundred to eight hundred nuts f annually. They are enveloped in a fibrous shell, like the cocoanut, and have a market in Europe, where they are used in the manufacture of a favorite dentrifice.
In the Philippines, as well as in the West Indies, the cocoanut tree is one of the most valuable products. The fruit is exported to China, and the copra to European markets, while the oil and wine are largely consumed at home.
A cocoanut farm will ^ afford an independence for any family that may be so fortunate as to own one.
Some tap the tree by making an incision in the flowering (or fruit-bearing) stalk, under which a bamboo vessel, called a bombon, is hung to receive the sap. This liquid, known as a tuba,a is a favorite beverage among the natives.
As many as four stalks of the same trunk can be so drained simultaneously without injury to the tree. In the bottom of the bombon is placed about as much as a dessertspoonful of pulverized tongo bark, to give a stronger taste and bright color to the tuba. The incisiona renewed each time the bombon is replaceda is made with a very sharp knife, to which a keen edge is given by rubbing it on wood covered with a paste of ashes and oil. The sap-drawing of a stalk continues incessantly for about two months, when the stalk ceases to yield and dries up. The bom-bons containing the liquid are removed, empty ones being put in their place every twelve hours, about sunrise and sunset, and the seller hastens round to his clients with the morning and evening draught, concluding his trade at the marketplace or other known centers of sale. If the tuba is allowed to ferment, it is not so palatable, and becomes an intoxicating drink. From the fermented juice the distillers manufacture a spirituous liquor, known locally as cocoa wine. The trees set apart for tuba extraction do not pro- r - duce nuts, as the
fruit-forming elements are The man who gets to climb the first tree, on
taken away, down the tuba has the trunk of which notches are cut to place his toes in. From under the tuft
The Tinguianes occupy these houses as a means of protection against their enemies, and when attacked they heave down stones on the heads of the besiegers.
a tree-house; in the Philippines.
Various tribes, especially in the southern portion of the archipelago, build their houses in trees; and in some instances there are villages of three to five houses in a single tree.
of leaves, two bamboos are fastened, leading to the next nearest tree, and so on around the group, which is thus connected. The bottom bamboo serves as a bridge and the top one as a hand-rail. Occasionally a man falls from the top of a trunk seventy or eighty feet high, and breaks his neck. The occupation of tuba drawing is one of the most dangerous.
When the tree is allowed to produce fruit, instead of yielding tuba, the nuts are collected about every four months. They are brought down by a sickle-shaped knife lashed onto a long pole, or by climbing the tree with the knife in hand. When they are collected for oil extraction, they are carted 011 a kind of sleigh, unless there be a river or creek providing a waterway, in which latter case they are tied together, stalk to stalk, and floated in a compact mass, like a raft, upon which the man in charge stands.
The water, or milk, found inside a cocoa-nut is very refreshing. to the traveler, and has the advantage over fresh water, that it serves to quench the thirst of a person who is perspiring, or whose blood is highly heated, without doing him any harm.
Well-to-do owners of cocoanut plantations usually farm out to the poorer people the right to extract the tuba, allotting to each family a certain number of trees. Others allow the trees to bear fruit, and although the returns are, theoretically, not so good, it pays the owner about the same, as he is less exposed to robbery, being able to more closely watch his own interests. At seven yearsa growth, the cocoanut tree seldom fails to yield an unvarying crop of a score of large nuts monthly.
One of the most remarkable growths of these islands is the bejuco, or bush-rope. It