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 the island is owned and coconuts are harvested every two to three months, those that survive typhoons,rainy seasons, and wind storms.
Coconuts are harvested by hand and families supplement their income by working in the groves, bringing down coconuts for sale to local agents to ship to Manilla.
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 but when they fall you need to stand back because you die if they hit your head.
The rest of the team, once coconuts fall, 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 have over a hundred coconuts ready to go to Manilla, 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.