The Philippines, known for world-class surf spots and beaches, also lead the world in coconut exports (specifically coconut oil).
“the hero nut” coconut butter on our marketplace comes from plantations in Batangas and Quezon Provinces on Luzon Island, the largest of the 7700+ islands in the Philippines Archipelago. These provinces are a day’s drive southeast of Manila, but a world away from the sprawling mega-metropolis of over 14 million people.
Batangas is a combination of mountains, volcanoes, plains, beaches and diving spots. It is renown on the one hand, for having one of the world’s smallest volcanoes, Mt. Taal, which erupted most recently in 2019.
On the other hand, there is its coastline along the Verde Island Passage, variously described as “Amazon of the Ocean,” and the “Center of the Center of Marine Biodiversity”.
Although coconut trees are happy to grow in marginal soil, the fertile soils generated by volcanoes ensures that coconut trees absolutely thrive.
Quezon, on the other hand, is characterized by a rugged terrain with patches of plains, valleys and swamps. It is the country’s leading producer of coconut products, and home to the Niyugyugan Festival.
In the local vernacular (‘tagalog’), ‘Niyog’ means ‘coconut’ and ‘Yogyugan’ means ‘shake’ – the festival was started in 2012 by the regional government to move, shake and promote the products, places and creativity of the region. Celebrating the diversity of the coconut, at the festival each of the 39 municipalities in the province compete for honours in building their own booths out of coconuts, to showcase the best qualities of their town and the products their respective towns produce.