The day after Valentine’s Day of 2011, I found myself waking up at the ungodly hour of five to cover a Civet Coffee tour in Mt. Malarayat, Batangas.
It was a long hike that saw me gasping my way up the mountain, where, in the end, we were treated to this view:
That, my friends, is one really expensive pile of dung. :P
These fermented coffee beans are droppings of the local civet, called alamid, a cat-like creature that loves eating the sweetest, ripest coffee cherries. And their droppings are worth their weight in gold. Seriously, ask any coffee connoisseur anywhere in the world and he’ll tell you that a cup of civet coffee costs up to $100 a cup.
Apart from finding ourselves knee-deep in ebak (this was literally the word of the day; it translates to “poop” in English), we had a fun time taking in the scenery:
While we didn’t really see an actual civet—we learned they were nocturnal, and we really did just climb all the way up to see their you-know-whats—we still had a lot of fun. The last mountain I climbed was Mt. Banahaw, and that was way back in college. I didn’t realize how much I missed the outdoors until I went on this trip. I miss breathing in fresh mountain air, the smell of mint and other herbs in the vicinity, and I miss hearing twigs crunching while I walk. :D
One of the things I miss the most are the lunch breaks. After half a day spent hiking under the sun (thank god it was breezy), we couldn’t wait to eat a really good, hearty meal. I was expecting a packed lunch, but what we ended up having was so much better:
Slowly cooked over a fire—inihaw na bangus (grilled milkfish):
And pork barbecue!
Needless to say, we ate back all the calories we lost hiking.