Tubá is coconut wine, a delicacy of Cebuanos. It is extracted from a sapling that is about to bear coconuts. According to my dad, once there is a sprout, it will have to be slowly bent — over a few days — to bow so gravity will cause the sap to drip down.
The ‘trained’ sap will then be sharply sliced, revealing the veins from which each would have grown into a full fruits.
Twice a day, mornings and evenings, the sapling will have to be finely sliced to remove the dried out veins and reinvigorate the flow. The sap will be sweet and a delight to drink. During the world war, my cousin lost her mother and was fed liná, or what the sap is locally referred to — a mother’s milk substitute.
The cloudy sap is what the coconut tree would feed to fruit into young coconuts. After a day, the sap would turn a little sour hinting fermentation.
My mom loved the taste, flavor and the sweetness, especially the portion that she keeps cold in the fridge. But she could not explain — despite the medical doctor training in her — why she is wobbly after a glassful.
The sap will remain delightful for two to three days and then it would really sour into vinegar. The rusty color of tubá is derived from mixing powdered bark of mangrove, tungog, which makes the brew taste characteristically bitter.