CocoCreamFest By: Terence Talagon @trncrobeje
The rays of the morning sun swayed to the dum-dums of the drums in Kati-kati, where the Aeta tribe merrily danced to their annual coconut festival.
The women wore coco shells that covered their breasts; wove skirts out of palm leaves that covered their thighs. They danced to men clapping empty coconuts.
In the sidelines, the rest of the tribe ate and drank. There was ginat-an, fish cooked in coconut milk; pinirito, meat fried in coconut oil; tuba, rum made from soured coconut water; even the young meat of the fruit was not spared.
A woman who wore a single shawl of red malong came to a booth where different plates of shaved coconut meat were served. A tribesman came to assist her.
“Would you like to use a spoon Ma’am?” he said.
She took it reluctantly; her eyes shied before him but she managed to give a smile. She dipped the spoon to the first plate, and the tribesman’s gaze followed it into her lips. It fell smoothly to her tongue, and the moment the shaved meat felt the insides of her mouth, it melted into cream.
“That was fast,” she said. She chuckled and circled her lips with the tip of her tongue. She then went down for the second plate.
“That one looks harder Mmm-aam,” the onlooker said.
“Just how I like it,” she replied and winked at him.
He looked while she chewed the coconut meat and listened as her tongue slapped the roof of her mouth. He noticed her jaws pulsating.
“Are you okay Ma’am?”
The coconut cream flowed from her teeth and dripped into her lips.
“Urghhh,” she said as she spat the rest out. “The milk tastes spoiled.”
“I’m sorry Ma’am.” He then scampered to find her some towel to wipe her lips.
“Is this last one good?” she demanded.
“Try it for yourself Ma’am,” he replied with confidence.
She inhaled the aroma of the shaved coconut in her spoon. Her tongue slipped out, and she emptied it into her mouth. She then added another spoonful.
The breeze blew over her sweating body and she closed her eyes. The hair in her skin stood up and her foot clenched to the ground. Her body twitched as she chewed the mouthful of coconut meat. Her right hand found her neck while her left pulled her hair from the back.
Her eyes rolled towards the clouds and he stared at her while she swallowed the big bulk that was left of the coconut.
This one wins for me,” she said, turned away from him, and headed to the judge’s table.