How Tuba and Bahalina, Also Known as Coconut Wine, Are Made

Updated on October 1, 2018
Tuba is wine made from the sap of the coconut tree.
Tuba is wine made from the sap of the coconut tree. | Source

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 is called tuba, bahal or bahalina. In Luzon, it is usually called lambanog. The difference between the two is their mixture and color. Tuba, or lambanog in Luzon, is a drink made from the pure sap, resulting in an almost colorless or milky white liquid sometimes referred to as coconut vodka. In Visayas, 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, they call coconut toddy, or coconut wine, tuba. After it has been fermented and distilled for a few months, they call it 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.

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 has to climb the coconut tree to collect the sap.
The mananguete has to climb the coconut tree to collect the sap. | Source

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 three to four 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 three or four 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 four to five 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.

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    • profile image

      Ricky 

      9 days ago

      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 profile image

      larrytom 

      3 months ago from untied kingdom

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

    • profile image

      engel.ebreo@yahoo.com 

      4 months ago

      about copra making sir,,start for small business

    • profile image

      Tommy Aquino 

      7 months ago

      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 profile image

      Charles Lazaro 

      17 months ago

      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

    • profile image

      garney 

      22 months ago

      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.

    • profile image

      gepeTooRs 

      2 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Tommy Aquino 

      5 years ago

      PALO LEYTE is the Capital of Bahalina Tuba Saki

    • profile image

      magzz123 

      5 years ago

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

    • Ipeoney profile imageAUTHOR

      Ipeoney 

      5 years ago from USA

      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.

    • profile image

      justine 

      5 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      FGG STORE 

      5 years ago

      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 .

    • profile image

      neknek_2004 

      6 years ago

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

    • Ipeoney profile imageAUTHOR

      Ipeoney 

      6 years ago from USA

      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.

    • profile image

      Gargi 

      6 years ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ipeoney 

      6 years ago from USA

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ipeoney 

      6 years ago from USA

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

    • Ipeoney profile imageAUTHOR

      Ipeoney 

      6 years ago from USA

      Oh thank you as well for reading the Hub.

    • Ipeoney profile imageAUTHOR

      Ipeoney 

      6 years ago from USA

      Goodluck Stephen!

    • Ipeoney profile imageAUTHOR

      Ipeoney 

      6 years ago from USA

      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.

    • profile image

      willy 

      6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      shintaro sa-ato 

      6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Stephen happiness 

      6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Caribe 

      6 years ago

      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..

    • profile image

      JANE 

      6 years ago

      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.. :)

    • profile image

      kim mee 

      6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      PEDRO 

      6 years ago

      TAGAY BAY!!! EXCELLENTE

    • profile image

      Regie A. Cabaltera 

      6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      boholana 

      6 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      quintessa014 

      6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      lulu 1998g 

      6 years ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ipeoney 

      6 years ago from USA

      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.

    • profile image

      tuba-leyte6501 

      6 years ago

      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......

    • profile image

      from Leyte matalom 

      6 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      claive alvin acedilla 

      6 years ago

      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

    • profile image

      Lhor 

      6 years ago

      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 profile image

      WillSteinmetz 

      7 years ago

      WHat the good hub, great information about tuba.

    • Ipeoney profile imageAUTHOR

      Ipeoney 

      7 years ago from USA

      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.

    • profile image

      sunshine 

      7 years ago

      I love tuba and drink everyday.

    • profile image

      nosaut 

      7 years ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ipeoney 

      7 years ago from USA

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ipeoney 

      7 years ago from USA

      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.

    • profile image

      edlozada 

      7 years ago

      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!!!

    • profile image

      edlozada 

      7 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      edlozada 

      7 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      gregmelep 

      7 years ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ipeoney 

      7 years ago from USA

      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"

    • profile image

      jajha 

      7 years ago

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

    • Ipeoney profile imageAUTHOR

      Ipeoney 

      7 years ago from USA

      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?

    • profile image

      elme  

      7 years ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ipeoney 

      7 years ago from USA

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

    • profile image

      cherryl 

      7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      Junji 

      7 years ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ipeoney 

      7 years ago from USA

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ipeoney 

      7 years ago from USA

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

    • profile image

      funky23 

      7 years ago from Deutschland

      that article is nice

    • Tuba_enthusiast profile image

      Tuba_enthusiast 

      7 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      nongsky 

      7 years ago

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

    • Ipeoney profile imageAUTHOR

      Ipeoney 

      7 years ago from USA

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

    • toyboyclip profile image

      toyboyclip 

      7 years ago from India

      Coconut wine..

      I dont Drink Wine HaHa..

    • Ipeoney profile imageAUTHOR

      Ipeoney 

      7 years ago from USA

      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.

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 

      7 years ago from I'm outta here

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

    • Ipeoney profile imageAUTHOR

      Ipeoney 

      8 years ago from USA

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

    • dpinoy13 profile image

      dpinoy13 

      8 years ago from Antipolo, Philippines

      hahaha... i love the philippines

    • Ipeoney profile imageAUTHOR

      Ipeoney 

      8 years ago from USA

      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.

    • profile image

      Bhart1989 

      8 years ago

      i like it. informative

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