Coconut trees make pretty pictures, but they make money too.
On Marinduque, coconut trees grow up the sides and over mountains, in valleys and in flat areas that have been cleared of brush to make orchards, rows of the trees standing like sailors at morning muster, in a line, Irish pennants clipped and shoes spit shined.
All the land on this island is owned and coconuts are harvested every two to three months, those that survive typhoons,rainy seasons, and wind storms.The coconuts are harvested by hand and families supplement their income by working in the groves when the time is right, bringing down coconuts for sale to local agents to ship to Manilla, and, from there, around the world.
Uncle Estoy works on the first step in the harvest process, using a long stick with a hooked curved blade on one end to cut the neck that attaches the coconut to its tree. The coconuts look like clusters of grapes from the ground but when they fall you need to stand back because they feel like a bag of rocks if they hit your head.
The rest of the team, once the coconuts fall to the ground, carry or toss them to a burning station where the skin is burned off.
These guys work most of the day, and, when they walk home, the colorful T shirts wrapped around their heads make them look like tired but happy pirates.
By the end of the day, they harvest over a hundred coconuts ready to go to Manilla. Everyone is tired, but all are safe, and it is a job well done.
You wouldn’t want to do this every day.
Then, it would really be work.