For some reason in Western culture, coconuts can be a little bit silly. Throw a few coconuts into a skit and you have South Pacific spoof. Two coconut shells and a grass skirt is a man in drag. Paint one up and stick one on a pole and you have a coconut deity. You can “go coco” or throw things at them to win prizes. This song sums it up really:
Around the Philippines however, they are a major source of so many products and foods. The trees are everywhere. Leave Manila for one hour on the highway, and there they are: Buko (young coconuts) to drink, dried coconut, fresh coconut, coconut oil, coconut matting, coconut fibre, palm fronds for roofing, woven palm frond mats, coconut shell products… the list goes on.
Walking around the house in Palawan, coconuts fell quite frequently from the trees.
I actually thought twice before cutting through the coconut plantation near us. Every hour or two there would be a heavy thud, and a coconut would land on the ground. Have one of those hit you and you’d know about it! Stats say that 150 people a year die from falling coconuts. More than sharks, I understand. (But even that stat has an air of ridiculous about it.)
The caretaker cleaned the young coconuts for us and handed out buko drinks. The machete handling is anything but silly:
Occasionally the caretaker would go around and pick up the fallen coconuts and toss them onto a pile. You see this piles all over the Philippines and they look like discarded refuse. But they will come back at some point and pick up the shells or the fibre casings to make something. Nothing is wasted.