Sunday, April 19, 2009

Travel Philippines: Local liquors (Alak)

Alak” is the generic Tagalog term for liquor or wine. Philippines do have local liquors that are indigenous and commercially manufactured beverages. Aside from tobacco industry, the production of liquors is also one of the most profitable industries here. However, because of the invasion and supremacy of commercial drinks, our native drinks have been confined to small-scale local productions. Below are some of our common native liquors you may want to try on from WikiPilipinas (I can’t drink coz I have allergy on alcohol):


Tuba is coconut toddy that has a stinging sweet and bittersweet taste. The process involves extracting the sap of an unopened coconut bud. The tip of the bud is lopped and the pale juice allowed trickles into bamboo containers. A sturdy tree yields about a gallon of liquid daily. The fermenting process involves the sweetish liquid is stored for one to three days in earthen jars or bottles in modern times. The rust tint of tuba is acquired through the addition of powdered bark called tangal.

From coconut water, comes a syrup concentrate for tuba. Tuba is a sweet, fresh or mildly fermented sap taken from tapping the young expanded flowers of the coconut. It is said that only tough men can withstand the effect of Tuba that affects men’s senses and sanity. Filipinos consider Tuba as a type of hard drink.


Lambanog is wine made from coconut. Lambanog is famous for its potency that normally carries about 80 to 90 proof variations. It is mostly produced in the Quezon Province, Philippines. It has been passed down throughout generations of coconut plantation farmers. The process involves collecting the sap from the coconut flower, similar to rubber tree tapping. The sap is then cooked and fermented to become tuba, it is a popular coconut toddy. The tuba is then distilled to make Lambanog.


Basi is a sugar cane wine made in Ilocos Norte and particularly plentiful in Naguilian where a Basi Festival is held annually. The product has been produced and consumed even before the invasion of the Spaniards. The strong basi is called basi lalaki and if it is weak, basi babae.
Basi wine is made by fermenting boiled, freshly extracted, sugar cane juice. The juice is then boiled in vats and stored in earthen jars. Once it has been cooled, flavorings made of ground glutinous rice and duhat (java plum) bark or other fruits or barks is added. A dried powdered starter is used to start the fermentation. The mixture is left for up to three months to ferment and up to one year to age. The final product is a light brown color and has a sweet and a sour flavor.


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