Workers risk life for a drink…
ArchipelaGold must surely rank as the worlds most precious wine. The unique fruit wine derived from fermentation of coconut sap, which tastes more like a liquor than a wine, is named Archipelagold, after its south pacific origin. The Archipelago is a group of 7 thousand islands, collectively known as the Philippines, and its tropical climate supplies 25% of the worlds coconut produce, of which this exciting and delicious Filipino beverage is derived.
The “mangangarit” or the agile coconut sap collector for the production of Archipelagold could easily make it to the short list of extreme ways of earning a living. But for 58-year-old Rolando Rubiales, who climbs at least 12-meter-high coconut trees and balances himself as he crosses bamboo bridges that connect the trees to each other to collect the sap, the job is nothing extraordinary.
“ Yes, there is risk and danger but it’s an honest job,” Rubiales said. Risky and dangerous are a glaring reality for this old front man, after one of his sons fell to his death while following his footsteps in Majayjay town, Laguna province. Rubiales also has his own ghastly experience of two falls. He survived both accidents with a few fractured bones. “The bamboo cracked and split midway while I was crossing the bridge. Luckily, I landed directly on a soft moist spot below. I was hospitalized for almost a month,” he recalled. There’s also the numerous near-brush with death after the bamboo bridge suddenly snapped and left him clinging to whatever he could hold on to until he struggled back safely to the top. Each one of the “mangangarit” carries on his back a stainless steel container with a wooden handle. A sharp knife for pruning the coconut flowers is also attached to his waist. When a “mangangarit” climbs a tree in one corner of his assigned area in the morning, he makes his descent in another tree every day after gathering all the morning sap (tuba) from the “tukil” or bamboo container that collects the sap drippings. In the afternoon, he will repeat the climb and bamboo bridge crossing, but this time only to do the pruning.
The coconut sap, after proprietary processing is flavoured with a secret formula…the end result is Archipelagold, a deliciously smooth liquor which comes in 6 outstanding flavours…Chocolate, Coffee, caramel, strawberry, mint and orange. Even more distinctive is the ‘environmentally friendly’ packaging of fully recyclable paper mache boxes, which have a metallic look…and will be sought after by collectors. Each box is a work of art…hand crafted by local artisans. Archipelagold retails for $39.95 for 750ml. Makes a great Christmas gift…especially all six with their distinctive box colours for each flavour.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PHONE (03) 9690 0878 (Victoria, Australia)