Seeing the Unseen: The Coconut Farmers

Coconut Farming boy in Mindanao
Coconut Farming boy in Mindanao

Seeing the Unseen: The Coconut Farmers

Deep in the middle of Mindanao I was lucky enough to visit one such farm run by an elderly man called Steven. It ‘s a place no tourist has been to. At least Steven says so. And why would they.

It’s not in a guide book. It’s got nothing of massive interest. You have to travel across some rough places on a crowded Jeepney to get there. I think it was my first Pinoy rooftop trip!

But it’s a place with more value than any “tourist attraction” I’ve read online or on paper. What’s the value? Quite simply, the people.

His house is across a river, through a small trail surrounded by tall palm trees and encroaching undergrowth. His simple house has a striking resemblance to west African dwellings, complete with outside kitchen and plastic buckets. Not to mention several containers of palm wine. Slowly fermenting into something a little more toxic to the liver.

At Steven’s invitation I headed off for some coconuts with him and one of the local boys that hang out  by his house waiting for work.

Click here to read the whole story …

Coming soon on Seeing the Unseen: the last in this series, and yes it’s special. Meet the blind masseurs …

This is an additional post and one of a series highlighting the island of Mindanao & the people living in The Philippines

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9 Replies to “Seeing the Unseen: The Coconut Farmers”

  1. oh wow, that is so cool.. village kids are sweet – simple and carefree and they know a good, coconut meal when they see one! excellent shots and write up – v touching:)

  2. love coconut and buko juice! it amazes me how people can climb palm trees.. wish i had that skill. and wow, your first pinoy bus ride on the roof!! i haven’t even experienced that. sounds fun :)

  3. Coconut farmers are one of the backbones of the country’s economy.
    Philippine coconut industry is an intrinsic part of national development as it counts among the top ten (10) product exported by the country. It is ironic though that they still suffer from the stigma of the coconut levy’s quagmire and the dismal labor practice that haunts the hinterlands of the country.

  4. I live in the heart of cocnut country – it looks exactly like Dave’s pics all around my house. The guys actually climb the trees here tho and seel the meat as ‘copra’ for making cocnut oil etc. Some types are made into buko juice. They also tap the palm to make tuba, an alcoholic drink.
    The shame here is that more use could be made of the coir (fibres) and the shell (this is converted to charcoal). We cook with charcoal ourselves and rice boiled up in earthenware pots tastes like now rice you ever tried. Even Dave (not a rice lover) may like it.
    Finally, the price of a coconut has gone up a lot in recent months. Now they charge 15 to 20 peso for one nut. Fortunately, we have our own trees as I eat the stuff daily.


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