Nipa Palm in the Philippines

nipa palm in the philippines
Nipa Palm in the Philippines | @natmuseumbohol

Nipa Palm in the Philippines

One of the important plants and a valued resource in Bohol and all over the Philippines is the Nipa, a mangrove palm, which could be used as roofing as well as walling of houses. Commonly seen in the hinterland communities in Bohol as well as in the lowland communities are nipa huts locally known as payag or bahaykubo.

Nipa or Nypa fruticans have characteristics similar to coconut tree leaves especially the palms but grows on low-level inland mangroves. It could grow up to 40-45 cm in diameter of its stem depending on the nutrient source of its environment. This tree has many uses: its leaves can be used to weave baskets (bukag), mats (banig), hats (sarok), aside from roof thatching (atop), walls, and partitions (bongbong). Sticks from the dethatched leaves can be made into brooms (silhig) and baskets while the palms can be used as fire fuels (sugnod). The young sprouts (udlot) of its sap can also be a source of #sasa wine (tuba) or vinegar (suka) which could be drunk fresh mixed with tungog, a pounded mangrove tree bark. It can be also be processed into making a fermented #bahalina, a much stronger wine than tuba.

The use of nipa in thatching roofing had been slowly diminishing due to the introduction of the use of GI sheets in modern houses. Amid the introduction of new materials in the construction of houses, many still prefer to use the traditional nipa for their roofing. Also, nipa continues to be integrated into the architecture and design of constructing cottages in resorts and rest houses for its cool room temperature.

Different resources abound and nipa is one of nature’s gifts to us. Endemic plants must be conserved and nurtured for future generations.

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