The Difference Between Tuba and Lambanog

The tuba, a popular alcoholic drink of Leyte was featured on Jessica Soho recently. It is a reddish wine from coconut sap. Frankly, the tuba I know is the cloudy fresh coconut sap with a mixture of sweet and alcoholic taste. It only last for few hours cause the fermentation of sugar to alcohol and of alcohol to vinegar are fast. Anyway, their version is reddish brown and has a stable shelf life. wine in glass

The well known lambanog also came from coconut sap but it does not mean that they are the same. They are both alcoholic beverages but undergo different processes.

After sap collection, the sap is added with barok wood which will give the characteristic reddish color. Stored in cool room temperature to allow natural fermentation. High storage temperature will probably cause spoilage, turning to vinegar.

Tuba comes in two variations, the bahal and bahalina. Bahal is fermented and aged for one to six months while bahalina is aged for over six months and has higher alcohol content.


In reference to white and cloudy coconut sap. Someone who is into coconut sugar making gave us one bottle. He reminded us to consume it all immediately upon opening. We have a clear idea what will happen. It will become wine and later vinegar. The taste was deliciously good. Our conversation was so short that I forgot how they managed preserving it.


On the other hand, lambanog is colorless. Flavor variations are created by soaking food of choice like bubble gum, grape and langka. After sap collection, the sap is stored in cool room temperature to allow natural fermentation, about a day or two. Then the fermented sap is passed through a large distilling apparatus. See lambanog.

The Tuba of Leyte is somewhat similar to toddy. See Making Coconut / Kaong Toddy.


I think the equivalent of Toddy is the sweet juice which has no exact local term. The tuba is the alcoholic beverage. Toddy is not  popular locally because of the fast phase conversion process.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

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