Latest Stories

Revival of nipa palm plantations hope of Bulacan’s ‘sukang Paombong’ industry


PAOMBONG, Bulacan—Hectares of nipa palm (sasa) plantations in this town may have given way to fishponds but makers and vendors of the famous sukang Paombong are hopeful that with the remaining patches of nipa, the local vinegar industry will not die.

“As long as there are patches of nipa palms, we are assured of continuous supply of Paombong vinegar,” says Dionisia de Leon, who has been selling the native vinegar for 20 years now.

Despite the conversion of plantations into fishponds due to higher income yield for their owners, some residents here maintain plantations not only to continue the legacy of sukang Paombong but also because of the low maintenance cost of these farms, which they call “gubat.”

Conchita Villanueva, 69, owns and manages eight hectares of land planted with nipa palm trees.

“I don’t want to convert my land into fishponds because I don’t need capital in my vinegar production business,” says Villanueva, who has been working on the land for 42 years now.

Villanueva says she used to gather the nipa palm fruit juice when she was younger.

“We harvest the fruit when it reaches the size approximating the mouth of an ordinary pail. Then we would kick the tree once a week so it would produce more juice,” she says.

This season, Villanueva’s plantation is expected to produce about 150 fruits, which will give her two to three containers of fresh nipa palm juice. During the wet season, they gather up to five containers.

The juice is kept in tapayan (earthern jars) for three weeks until it ferments and turns to vinegar.

Several years back when nipa palm plantations in Paombong were thriving, locals gathered up to 30 containers of juice. “That’s why Paombong became popular because the town was the major source of nipa palm juice,” Villanueva says.

She blames water pollution and fishermen’s extensive use of commercial feed for the low production of native vinegar since nipa palm trees depend on the quality of river water to survive.

Lucien Marasigan, 51, who is a fourth-generation manager of a 15-hectare plantation, says they used to maintain rows of earthen jars filled with nipa palm juice. “Now vinegar producers lease our plantations and gather nipa palm juice themselves,” he says.

According to him, nipa palm trees regularly get sick because of the erratic weather and vinegar producers renting the plantation often are in debt because not much nipa palm juice is produced.

Despite this, Marasigan says they have no plans of converting their nipa palm plantation. “By maintaining our plantation, the sukang Paombong legacy lives on. This is pure native vinegar, unlike commercial brands now available in the market,” he says.

Frank Valencia, 56, whose father left him and his six siblings a 14-hectare plantation, says converting their land into fishpond is far from his mind.

“Vinegar production is good because we spend less. Although we earn a little, we do not spend much on maintenance. As long as there are trees, we are assured of harvest. We are satisfied with what we earn,” he says.

During the wet season when nipa palm trees produce more juice, Valencia says they earn up to P20,000 a month. During the dry season, they earn about P10,000 a month.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Bulacan , Business , Nipa palm , Sukang Paombong

  • http://www.facebook.com/simoun.magaalahas.10 Simoun Magaalahas

    No choice nanaman ang mga bulakenyo dahil wala nanaman kalaban na matino ang corrupt na gobernor ng bulakan…tiba tiba nanaman ang mga buhaya sa Bulacan

  • DGuardian

    Dapat ay ang mga taong ito ang tinutulungan ng pamahalaan at binibigyan ng financial na tulong upang mapalago ang kanilang mga pananim na nipa palms, imbes na ipanakaw sa mga senador, kongresista, heneral, gobernador, mayor, barangay captain, at mga opisyales ng iba’t ibang sangay ng gobyerno ang perang nakuha mula sa mga taxpayers. Hindi dapat mawala ang negosyong suka mula sa nipa palms. Dapat itong pagyamanin at tulungang mag-survive at lumago. Ano ang ginagawa ng Depatment of Agriculture? Dapat ay si Presidente Aquino ang mag-utos sa Secretary ng Department of Agriculture at sa iba pang mga departamento kung nagkukulang ang mga ito sa dapat na gawin para tulungang umunlad ang kabuhayan ng mga Pilipino.

  • http://www.facebook.com/noelsantos37 pathfinder093

    sukang paombong is the best!

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  • Why are Americans obsessed with missing plane?
  • Napoles to have surgery on Tuesday – report
  • Mayor’s assassination linked to black sand mining controversy
  • Initial batch of Etihad passengers tested negative for MERS-CoV
  • Sports

  • PBA D-League: Waves edge skidding Superchargers
  • Ilad’s last-second basket lifts Gems over Bakers
  • Reigning champs Miami open playoffs with win
  • Spurs subdue Mavericks in playoff opener
  • Wawrinka beats Federer to win Monte Carlo Masters
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • Arrest warrants out vs. Deniece Cornejo, Cedric Lee, et al over serious illegal detention
  • Lindsay Lohan says she had a miscarriage
  • Discovery network cancels Everest jump
  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Easter musings
  • Business

  • Century Pacific Food sets IPO price at P13.75 per share
  • Oil prices down in quiet Asian trade
  • Asian shares mixed in holiday-thinned trade
  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Technology

  • PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia
  • Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks 25th anniversary
  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos in Middle East urged not to panic amid MERS-CoV scare
  • Obama on mission to quiet Asia skeptics
  • Search for Etihad passengers launched
  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • Marketplace