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How to Make Tuba or Bahalina (Filipino Coconut Wine)

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Making coconut wine is a good experience. I love watching tuba turn into bahalina after a few years.

Tuba is wine made from the sap of the coconut tree.

Tuba is wine made from the sap of the coconut tree.

What Is Coconut Wine?

Some coconut farmers in the Philippines use coconuts not only for making copra (dried coconuts) but also for making coconut wine. This is also called tuba. The process is easy—climbing the coconut trees is the most difficult part.

In the Visayas Islands, coconut wine also called tuba, bahal, or bahalina. In Luzon, it is usually called lambanog. The difference between the two is their mixture and color. The variety that comes from Luzon is made from the pure sap, resulting in an almost colorless or milky white liquid sometimes referred to as coconut vodka. In the Visayas Islands, particularly in Leyte, tuba is the product of mixing barok (the reddish bark of the mangrove tree) with the coconut sap, making the tuba red in color. This is sometimes called coconut red wine.

In Luzon, tuba is produced without colorant and is usually consumed right after it is collected from the tree because it can sour quickly. They allow some of it to undergo fermentation and distillation to form a harder drink known as lambanog. It is often called the poor man's drink because of the inexpensive nature of the distillation process, and the local farmers enjoy it after a hard day's work. Lambanog is also popular amongst the local people during festive occasions.

In the Visayas Islands, particularly in Leyte, coconut wine is referred to as tuba. After it has been fermented and distilled for a few months, it is called bahal. If it's distilled for a year or more, it becomes bahalina. In Leyte, tuba is also referred to as a poor man's drink, and it is a more accessible alcoholic drink that the local people enjoy. This doesn't mean that bahalina is poor quality, however. For me, it is a high quality, organic alcoholic drink that has no added chemicals—just barok (the reddish bark of the mangrove tree).

Terms Used in Coconut Wine-Making

  • Sap: The nectar that comes out when you cut an unopened coconut flower or inflorescence.
  • Barok: In Leyte, barok is the bark of a tree that is reddish-tan in color. According to Wikipedia, it comes from a lauan tanbark tree, a kind of red mangrove tree. In other parts of Visayas, they called it a tungog tree, which means that it is a mangrove believed to have the best bark. It can also come from a bakhaw, another kind of mangrove tree. Barok is used as a colorant and preservative, as it offsets fermentation.
  • Mananguete or Manananggot: This is a tuba gatherer, a person who climbs the coconut tree to collect the sap.
  • Sanggot: This is the knife used by a mananguete to cut the coconut flower.
The mananguete, or tuba gatherer, must climb the coconut tree to collect the sap.

The mananguete, or tuba gatherer, must climb the coconut tree to collect the sap.

How Coconut Wine Is Made

Making coconut wine is not very difficult, but it is a long process that requires lots of work.

The Preparation and Collection of Coconut Sap

  1. The tuba gatherer cuts and prepares bamboo, turning it into a container for the coconut sap. It should be about a foot or longer to accommodate about 1 liter of liquid. Then he cuts a bigger piece of bamboo, double the length, to make another container for the sap to be transferred to. He will carry this bigger bamboo container on his shoulder when he climbs up the tree.
  2. Barok is prepared by chopping the bark into small pieces and putting it into a small container attached to his waist,
  3. With his knife—also known as a sanggot—attached to his waist, the tuba gatherer climbs the coconut tree with the large bamboo container, looking for an unopened flower. He cuts the tip of the flower to release the sap. Then he holds the bamboo container, filled with a handful of barok, up to the flower to catch the juice. He secures the container properly so that it won't fall down.

Note: The quality of tuba largely depends on the tuba gatherer. If he knows how to mix the right amount of barok with the coconut sap, he will produce a very good coconut wine. Each tree have produces a different amount of liquid—if the tuba gatherer can master the right mixture, then he is excellent.

Every morning, carrying the bigger bamboo container on his shoulder, he will go up the tree to collect the juice and clean the bamboo container. One tree can produce a liter of tuba per day, if not more. In the afternoon, the mananguete will climb up the tree and cut the tip of the flower again, put some barok into the bamboo container, and attach it to the flower.

The Fermentation and Distillation Process

In coconut wine-making, there is no actual distillation. The term distillation is often used to refer to the sedimentation, decantation, and filtration. The morning after all the coconut sap is collected, fermentation begins.

  1. First, the tuba is transferred into a plastic or glass container, though glass is preferable. A long time ago, gallon-sized bottles made of glass were abundant so that you can see the sediments through the glass.
  2. The tuba will release some bubbles. Leave it in the container until the bubbles subside while the sediments form, or about 3 to 4 days. Note: You can drink tuba in this stage or fresh from the tree. It has a kind of rough sweetness to it, also known as mapakla.
  3. After 3 or 4 days, when the bubbles have subsided, the filtration process begins. You will notice that the container has a 1-inch thick layer of sediment on the bottom. Carefully transfer the tuba to another container using a small hose, making sure not to move the container. You want the sediment to stay where it is. After the tuba is separated from the sediment, you can throw the sediment away.
  4. Wait another 4 to 5 days before doing the next decanting. After transferring the mixture from one container to another, the sediment will have almost disappeared. At this point, you can cover the container very tightly, making sure that it's full to the brim. Set the container aside, tightly covered, for a few weeks. If sediment still remains, you may separate the liquid again. Tuba that undergoes a long sedimentation process will become more potent and have a higher alcohol content. This is called bahalina. If you still see a little sediment, set the container aside for a month before repeating the process.

Note: After each process of decantation and filtration process, the amount of liquid left will decrease. It is necessary to have a reserve supply of tuba in another glass bottle in order to refill the main container after the sediment is removed. Make sure the new container is full to the brim so that the tuba will not turn sour; then, cover it tightly.

The longer the sedimentation process, the darker the wine will become. If you tap the glass container and it makes a high-pitched echoing sound, that means it is now bahalina. One-year-old coconut wine is already good, but those that are aged three to five years or more have a much smoother taste.

Making coconut wine is a good experience. I love watching tuba turned into bahalina after a few years. It has left me wondering how good bahalina aged for five years or more would be.

Comments

Emelio Steve Malisa on November 01, 2019:

There are three known types of tuba in the Philippines. The Normal Tuba, Bahalina, Lambanog. All of them are made from coconut sap. I am a student and i am here to sell our products the Darlina Bahalina and the Darlina Coco Vinegar by BREAD MPC. We are a manufacturer of luxurious Coconut Red Wine and pure Coconut Vinegar in Davao del Sur, Philippines. Please support, as we needed proof that we are able to sell online. Search for Bahalina and Vinegar by BREAD MPC in google. Thank you.

Jho malatabon on October 13, 2019:

Please help me about fresh tuba.for the RRl

Yasmien on November 24, 2018:

You used baking yeast?

Ricky on October 06, 2018:

tuba is the sap coming from the cut infloresence, after 1 day you can call it coconut wine because the sugar is fermented to ethyl alcohol, lambanog is the product of distillation of coconut wine. lambanog and tuba is not same thing

larrytom from untied kingdom on July 03, 2018:

am here to sell so beaning just add me on my gmail larrytom466@gmail.com

engel.ebreo@yahoo.com on May 27, 2018:

about copra making sir,,start for small business

Tommy Aquino on March 02, 2018:

Add Life and more FUN in Palo if you drink Tuba o Bahalina Saki,. hala tagay epis-ipese ngan sagolan Pepse ngan susonan het kinelaw haaaaaaaaaa karoyag mo hen Tuba nga marasa call Jeunell Aquino Palo Leyte

Charles Lazaro on May 14, 2017:

Good day!

I'm Charles Lazaro, from the Philippines. I am very interested with your article and did you make your own Bahal or bahalina? If yes, i'd like to ask a few questions. Thank you

garney on December 10, 2016:

this is a nice interactive page. I enjoyed reading and learned more about bahalina. I love its taste when mixed with cola and when chilled.

gepeTooRs on May 09, 2016:

My spouse and I stumbled over here from a different page and thought I might as well check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you.

Tommy Aquino on August 15, 2013:

PALO LEYTE is the Capital of Bahalina Tuba Saki

magzz123 on May 07, 2013:

Hilongos is the Tuba Capital of Leyte!!!!!

Ipeoney (author) from USA on January 05, 2013:

Good question! As I have said the taste of tuba usually depends on the technique of a tuba gatherer; some just know the right amount of barok to put. As to the exact amount, that I'm not sure. Remember they climb up to the tree and mix barok up there. The nectar volume fluctuates each harvest as well that means the tuba gatherer has to adjust the amount to put. Each tuba gatherer do their own estimation, the reason why tuba have different qualities, some are dark red, some are medium red and some are light red. If you meet a particular tuba gatherer you can ask his own estimate and comapred it with another estimate. I say estimate because I don't exactly know the amount of coconut nectar each harvest.

justine on January 03, 2013:

Hi, i just saw this article. very informative. I am looking for more details regarding the making of tuba, like the specific details such as how much grams of "barok" to put in a liters of tuba.

We have a family business selling what you call "barok" which we call it in Cebu "tungog" to make bahalina (aged tuba wine) and "bakaw" which i believe is also called barok for making tuba (for quick consumption).

We are the largest and direct supplier here in Cebu. And i want to expand our business not only supplying tungog and bakaw, but also go into Tuba or Bahalina making business.

please email and share your information of secret recipe making tuba.

Anyone can contact me in my email address:

jazzmotors@gmail.com

or

jlo_51387@yahoo.com

FGG STORE on November 29, 2012:

ALL THE PEOPLE OUT THERE IN ALL WOKS OF LIFE TUBA BAHALINA IN MAASIN CITY SOUTHERN LEYTE IS VERY SWEET AND TASTE LIKE RED WINE SO CAME AND VISIT MAASIN CITY

LAMI SI EH COME VISIT PHILIPINES. SIP AND DRINK TUBA BAHALINA .

neknek_2004 on August 19, 2012:

tuba is good lalo na pag may pepsi and ice....:))))

Ipeoney (author) from USA on August 08, 2012:

In Visayas Island Philippines there are many red coconut wine (tuba). I have seen photograph of coconut plantation in India and many of these coconuts looks healthy and producing a lot more fruits than some that I have seen in the Philippines.

Gargi on August 08, 2012:

I'am from India, even in India specifically in Kerala, coconut wines are famous... as coconut trees are in plenty.....

& yes without a doubt it has good effects on our body when consumed in a moderate amount at a regular interval...

to be frank i never had it cz I'am born n brought up away from Kerala but have heard a lot about it from my parents as my grandfatrher was an Ayurvedic doctor... he knew the effects of wines on our body....

Also by myself, I have found out alot about coconut wines & I make coconut wines at home also tried changing the flovors....

coconut wines by all means are the best...

I miss the red ones..........

Ipeoney (author) from USA on July 02, 2012:

Oh wow your Grandpa must be in the Philippines. I wonder if Tuba have good effects on the body if taken moderately, you know like what they are saying about red wine.

Ipeoney (author) from USA on July 02, 2012:

Some people reserve few gallons of tuba for special occasion. Mostly for fiesta, wedding or something like a family reunion.

Ipeoney (author) from USA on July 02, 2012:

Oh thank you as well for reading the Hub.

Ipeoney (author) from USA on July 02, 2012:

Goodluck Stephen!

Ipeoney (author) from USA on July 02, 2012:

Yes for fresh Lambanog(white tuba) they usually consume it the same day. But now there are commercially prepared and bottled Lambanog (white tuba) that is sold in the market.

willy on May 08, 2012:

helpful article - i have my bahalina after a year or two cause i have started fermenting bahal (last 07 May 12)

shintaro sa-ato on May 05, 2012:

this site is realy great..because of this, i finished my thesis chapters 1, 2 and 3..thanks a lot.. 2 thumbs up.

Stephen happiness on April 18, 2012:

Tuba is niece,i like it and am embarking on it for my project practical in my school

Caribe on April 15, 2012:

Hello All you Great Filipino people..We are the same in culture from the Coconut wine to the food and fruits and its great....The exception is we never leave the wine overnight. We always use all we harvest the same day... But it will sure try the vinegar with chili recipe...

By the way I will be relocating to the Filipine shortly..

JANE on April 02, 2012:

hi everyone, this s JANE from LEYTE.. LEYTE is one of the best supplier of TUBA (COCONUT WINE). we have this business of TUBA. We supply our product in different places here in the philippines. if you want to try our TUBA, please contact me in my email mcjm_018@yahoo.com.. :)

kim mee on March 18, 2012:

Philippines is the best........................

PEDRO on March 13, 2012:

TAGAY BAY!!! EXCELLENTE

Regie A. Cabaltera on March 06, 2012:

Pnuto Mga guyz..........xD

boholana on February 18, 2012:

The "sour" you are tasting occurs when the alcohol in the Tuba has been oxidized by either air or certain bacteria. The alcohol is oxidized into vinegar, thus the sour taste. jpeoney is correct when stating that there is no way to reverse the souring (turning vinegar back into alcohol). Sorry but true. You can make the best of it and use the coconut vinegar in cooking or adding some chile peppers and garlic to it to make a spicy sauce for your scrambled eggs or anything. Commercially prepared spicy coconut vinegar is available in Filipino stores here in Hawaii.

quintessa014 on January 23, 2012:

,,,tnx for the info...its always been so good here in the Philippines,,,

lulu 1998g on January 17, 2012:

Omg's My grandpa luv;s it!!! it is part of his life. Now he is still drinking Tuba even his 80plus. He get's mad if he can't drink tuba with his amigo.lol!!!! I luv my Grandpa he makes me happy.

Ipeoney (author) from USA on January 07, 2012:

I don't think tuba can be reverse to it's original taste once it turns sour. In my knowledge it will just continue to be more potent sour. I could be wrong.

tuba-leyte6501 on December 14, 2011:

hello!!!! I have tuba here in our home, but it taste sour for how many weeks... is there a way to turn back the sour tuba to its original taste? please help me..!!!! thanks a lot... god bless......

from Leyte matalom on November 11, 2011:

who wants to order tuba? we have many stock bahalina in Leyte matalom if u are interested to buy just text me this number; 09996173007 or u can email to order at.............honest_serious@yahoo.com

claive alvin acedilla on November 01, 2011:

please drink tuba

this is our culture

it is very healthy and refreshing especially fresh tuba from the coconut tree because it is sweet

i hope all filipinos are able to drink tuba and the whole world

Lhor on October 23, 2011:

Whew!! great huh! i'm from leyte and we are producing coconut wine, i have some gallons of tuba at home older than a year!! would be nice if i find some buyer, and i will be the whole saler.. hehehee...somebody from abroad want to try to sell our tuba ther?? :)

WillSteinmetz on October 12, 2011:

WHat the good hub, great information about tuba.

Ipeoney (author) from USA on September 29, 2011:

Hi nosaut, I didn't know about the nipa tree wine. The leaves is used for roofing materials and is a very good roof too. But never heard of wine until now. Thanks.

sunshine on August 29, 2011:

I love tuba and drink everyday.

nosaut on August 24, 2011:

I love Tuba, yummm...I grew up in Negros Occidental and I used to drink Tuba almost every morning coz it's still fresh and sweet. Then, I married a Zambaleno who just love Tuba as much as I do, but this time, it isn't from coconut but from Nipa Tree, Sasa in Zambal. It's as good as coconut tuba. I love to drink it chilled. Cheers!

Ipeoney (author) from USA on August 19, 2011:

Hi Gegmelep, that's right barok from Mindanao is good quality, someone told me so I guess those barok came from Indonesia but I am not really sure of that. You could experiment how your bahalina will taste but a good bahalina starts with a good tuba gatherer. It's like cooking, some cook are super chef but some are not.

Ipeoney (author) from USA on August 19, 2011:

Hi Edlozada, I'm sorry for the confusion. Yes I understand the distillation(in chemistry)involved heating or boiling but you know among many locals that I talked to, they often refer the process as distillation and fermentation which is true in Lambanog process. Although the tuba (red coconut wine) didn't really undergo distillation scientifically but "distill" is often the word used by locals including me. Wrong it maybe but often used. To clear the confusion, we can call the process of separating sediment as the following: Decant, Filtration, Sedimentation, Clarification, some call it Racking. But if you ask many locals how they make tuba, they will answer you, "You distill it" No offense it's just sometimes words are used in a different way. It is similar to saying, can you buy me Coke? and then turn around - I want pepsi. Or can you buy me Colgate? i want Crest. What they really mean is buy me a softdrink, I want Pepsi or buy me a toothpaste I want Crest.

edlozada on August 17, 2011:

hi gregmelep, in the years past barok here in Leyte was taken from the taken from San Juanico Strait (the strait between Samar and Leyte Islands) which was abundant of Mangrove. When the mangrove in there was used up barok was taken from the island of Palawan (in the Southwestern part of the Philippines. But when the harvesting of barok there was restricted, barok was taken from another country, particularly from Indonesia. However, there is a a reforestation of mangrove here in San Juanico Strait area and there is already barok that is harvented from Guiuan, in the southern part of Samar island and I am aware of a study that barok from that part is comparable to imported barok. Happy tuba making!!!

edlozada on August 17, 2011:

Ok, maybe "fermentation" is not exactly the right word, rather it is the "aging process" which starts after fermentation, in which you siphon it to a container - to the brim - and seal it tight, otherwise it will sour as there is still some fermentation going on during the aging process.

edlozada on August 17, 2011:

Note: After every distillation process, the amount of liquid will become less and less, so it is necessary to have a Tuba reserve... I think that what you mean here by "distillation" is "fermentation". Distillation is the process wherein the (mash, wine, beer or even tuba)is boiled and the vapors (condensate) is taken to make whiskey, brandy, rum or lambanog.

By the way, i think "grape tannin" can be a substitute for "barok" as the main component in "barok" is the tannin which inhibits the acetobacter that makes tuba sour. However, Grape tannin will not make the tuba red. Grape tannin can be bought in wine supply stores here in the internet.

gregmelep on July 29, 2011:

17 containers of tuba was delivered to me yesterday which was already aged for several weeks. I want to know how the taste and smell can be improved. Today I added 4 spoonfull of dried raisins which I believe will improve the quality and smoothness of the bahalina. Likewise I was told also that the "barok" coming from Indonesia which was directly bartered by viajeros to Mindanao and Tacloban was superior in quality than our local ?barok".

Ipeoney (author) from USA on July 17, 2011:

Hi jajha That would be coconut vodka or "Lambanog" you're talking about. They are both coconut wine of course but have different taste because of the "baruk"

jajha on July 05, 2011:

its good ......... now i know that theres a coconut red wine... but i i thought that it is color white ahahah

Ipeoney (author) from USA on June 23, 2011:

Hi Elme you are correct. how was the Obtubafest over there in Leyte. I heard there was a big Tuba wine tasting and supposed to be the biggest. Did they get the Guiness world record for that?

elme on June 21, 2011:

hey...im from barugo leyte phillipines..i know how to make tuba wine....barugo bahalina is the best of all tuba maker.. that's why im proud to be one of them..thank you.

Ipeoney (author) from USA on May 13, 2011:

Hi Junji, it is the blossom(unopened flower) that sap is extracted from. I'm not sure any other way.

cherryl on May 11, 2011:

wow its nice to learn our own wine and im proud to be pinoy

Junji on April 22, 2011:

hey I'm writing a book(though I am not sure if it will be yet), which involves some information about Tuba, it seems there is a difference with one of your step that I know of. I don't think it was the coconut flower, my uncle never told me about it, so maybe it is possible also. What I was taught was to cut the palm leaf or rather the whole branch near or a foot or two from the branch's foot. Before doing that, it needs to be angled to a point that it will allow the sap to drop easily down to the container, I think they use a pea size pebble to use as a wedge on the branch until the desired angle is met. From that point, the branch can be cut off, the angle is also increased daily if I am not mistaken.

Great info though confirms most of what I know. A great and more convenient coconut is the dwarf coconut. I hope someday I will have one in front of my house.

Shalom!

Ipeoney (author) from USA on February 27, 2011:

I am from Illinois. I don't know anything about Date Palm. I only know Coconut Palm. And I don't know how it is done without the bark of tree mix with tuba. It is different without bark of tree (barok)because coconut sap will ferment easily without "barok". It will easily turn sour. I learned how to make the coconut red wine or coconut brandy but not the coconut vodka. In Luzon Island, they usually make the coconut Vodka or Lambanog. and they even make a Lambanog commercially and international sales. It is mixed with other ingredients like fruit flavors I think. Red tuba is the best in coconut wine and is yet to be develop into the Interantional market. Good luck with your Tuba plans

Hi funky23 thanks for the comment.

Ipeoney (author) from USA on February 27, 2011:

Hi nongsky thanks for the comment. are you climbing coconut? OMG! please be careful, really dangerous. Leave the climbing to the expert climber.

funky23 from Deutschland on February 24, 2011:

that article is nice

Tuba_enthusiast on February 15, 2011:

Lpeoney

Great work! I am very much interested in tapping (making) Tuba. Where are you located? I am in California. I am sure you know the whole process. I want to try it on a Date palm. Your help will be greatly appreciated. Please give me your feedback. Thank you.

nongsky on January 26, 2011:

great... im starting to gather sap and information to make bahalina. thanks for a very informative one.

Ipeoney (author) from USA on October 31, 2010:

That's fine, don't forget to drink water though. Fresh young coconut water is good too. cheers

toyboyclip from India on October 31, 2010:

Coconut wine..

I dont Drink Wine HaHa..

Ipeoney (author) from USA on October 29, 2010:

Hi Katiem, long time no see, thanks for the comment. Tuba is the Filipino word of Coconut wine, but I read somewhere, it is the same word they use in some other Asian country. Many people doesn't know about coconut red wine. The mature one aged for a long time, I called it coconut brandy.

Katie McMurray from Westerville on October 25, 2010:

How interesting, I've never heard of Tuba Coconut Wine Making, Cool!

Ipeoney (author) from USA on October 17, 2010:

Me Too! Thanks for the comment dpinoy13. Let's make Tuba.

dpinoy13 from Antipolo, Philippines on October 17, 2010:

hahaha... i love the philippines

Ipeoney (author) from USA on October 17, 2010:

Thank you Bhart1989. This hub concentrates on how to make coconut red wine. The other kind- coconut vodka (lambanog)is already in the export market, and they add new flavors.

Bhart1989 on October 17, 2010:

i like it. informative