What You Should Know About This Exotic Drink, Tuba


A tuba is a musical instrument known for its ability to produce a low-pitched sound. THE END. Just kidding. Tuba (pronounced with the short â sound) is the Filipino version of the palm (coconut) wine. This alcoholic beverage is common in parts of Africa and Asia and, thus, has many different names including "kallu", "nsafufuo", "tadi", and "tuak". To keep things simple, this post will only cover tuba.

In the Philippines, tuba can refer to the newly collected sap of the palm tree. This tuba is white and cloudy. Tuba can also be colored with red lauan-tree bark to give it a reddish color. In Leyte, Philippines, the red tuba is aged anywhere from 6 to 24 months to give the sap time to mature and ferment. Tuba aged in this way for no longer than 6 months is called bahal, while tuba aged for over a year is called bahalina. Sometimes, the palm wine can be distilled to enhance the flavor and create a more alcoholic drink. This is called lambanog in the Philippines. 

Swift Filipino Guy. Source:  Richard Parker

Swift Filipino Guy. Source: Richard Parker

Tuba. Source:  Dhruvarahjs

Tuba. Source: Dhruvarahjs

Typically, the sap is collected by a tapper. In this case, a swift Filipino guy climbs the palm tree and fastens a container to an unopened coconut bud to collect the sap. The freshly gathered sap is sweet. After fermentation, the sap becomes a bittersweet, alcoholic beverage. An average tree produces about a gallon of sap each day. In some parts of the Philippines, tuberculosis patients are encouraged to drink tuba to lessen the effects of the disease. I have to confirm this but I've read that babies are nursed with tuba in Bantayan, Cebu... drunk babies. Why not, right?

FUN FACT: When Ferdinand Magellan came to the Philippines on March 17, 1521, he was greeted by Rajah Humabon of Cebu with a great feast that included earthen jars of tuba. Even cooler, Rajah Humabon and his people would offer tuba to their ancestral gods before they converted to Christianity. After getting tipsy together, Rajah was like "Kill my enemies, yo". And Magellan was like, "Anything for you, my Christian bro". Then, Magellan fought Lapu-Lapu, the ruler of Mactan, in a heated battle. Sadly, Magellan met his untimely demise. Poor guy. 

Anyways, I hope I'll get a chance to try this soon and I'll write more about it. More reason to get a drink.

Here is an interesting read: Tuba Ready to Conquer World Markets