For today’s Tropical Thursday and 3rd feature about the Lubi and its significance in the observance of Semana Santa in the Philippines, let’s explore the Culinary Practices involving the hardy Coconut during Lent.
From leaves to roots, the coconut is used in almost every conceivable aspect of daily life, primarily for food, shelter, medicine, and crafts. The humble coconut holds a distinct place in natural history as a master of survival with fossil records dating back to tens of millions of years. Revered as the Tree Of Life, this versatile palm has been sustaining tropical communities since time immemorial.
As Catholics abstain from meat during the Lenten Season, native Filipino treats and vegetable dishes cooked with “tuno” or coconut milk become in demand to satisfy famished folks. One of the popular desserts in this region is the Binignit, a hearty snack that is a concoction of Visayan culinary staples. It is a sweet stew made of coconut milk, Saba (banana cultivar), tubers such as Ube, Gabi or taro, Camote, glutinous rice, or Landang (palm flour jelly balls), and Sago. Binignit is traditionally served on Good Friday but can be prepared at any time of the year.
The coconut is deeply engrained in our culture and plays a key role in our historic past and in shaping our current and future communities. In the wake of super typhoon Odette, almost half of Bohol’s 6.7 million coconut trees were toppled down. Hence, the need to protect and conserve our remaining coconut trees reserves and foster resiliency and sustainability in our local communities and for the next generation.