The Legend Of Macopa (Java Apple)
Macopa as it was called in the country, or the Java apple fruit is eyecatching in its reddish color. The macopa fruit is crunchy, mildly sweet, spongy and is a favored snack to the country's warm weather.
And when it comes to memories, I had some childhood macopa memory of climbing a macopa tree that was growing in the farm where we used to lived when I was 5 or 6 years old. I used to climb it and just pass time up in the small macopa tree, and it doesn't bore me. I think, I really like spending time with myself even as a kid. And it's been also my hiding spot when I got my mom mad or if I just want to look at the red fruits, pick one and eat it. As of now, I can't even remember the last time I had eaten this Philippine fruit, and I sure missed it.
And for the legend of the macopa tree, here's how the Philippine legend goes.
A long time ago, there was a town found close to a high mountain, and it was surrounded by forests. The town's people here are happily living in peace. The vast fields and fertile land is rich in fruit bearing trees giving the people an abundant harvest serving as their means of livelihood as well as food.
But of all things that they should be proud of, the people of the town are proud of their golden bell that was hanging from their church's dome in which the bell's origin has been longed forgotten. According to their ancestors, the bell has been with them for ages and was well respected. Along with the bell is a mystery, and the people believed that their blessings are coming from it. That golden bell has a beautiful shape, loud and has a full sound.
When the sound is heard in the town, people would kneel on the ground and utter a thankful prayer to the Creator for all their blessings. Truly, the bell was an important part of their lives.
Soon, people from neighboring towns learned the importance of the bell to the town close to the hill and not only few had attempted to own the golden bell for themselves. But of them all, the bandits that was residing in the forest has the strongest desire to get the bell. And their plan is for the golden bell to be melted once they got it.
"Bandits! Everyone! The bandits are coming in our town," the whole town was shocked hearing the screams of someone who saw the bandits on their way heading for their town.
The priest and the two sacristans didn't wasted any minute. They put the golden bell down and hide it. When the bandits arrived, the golden bell was no longer there on the church. The priest and the sacristans all got beaten up, and was forced to tell where they hide the bell. And for all the pain and torturing they went through, all three still didn't told the bandits the bell's hiding place. This made the bandits so mad that they beheaded the three. Unsuccessful, the bandits went back to the forest.
The whole town was a mess after that. All were gloomy as they wouldn't be able to see their beloved bell again. No one knows where it was hidden except the three beheaded men. All the people went to look for the bell: the young, old, even the rich and the poor went on looking. But they all couldn't find it. Many days passed by and the golden bell was continuously missing. The people had then forgotten their righteous way of living. Nobody goes to the church anymore, the farm was left unattended, and there's always some sort of fight in the town. The town was wrapped with sadness.
After many years, people passing by the church has been noticing a strange tree. Strange as they haven't seen any kind of fruit like the fruits it bears, the fruits were shaped like bells. The people were obstreperous around the tree. They can't figure out why the fruits were like bells and it's reddish in color, reminding them of their golden bell.
One elder man stand on the center of the crowd and spoke, "I just had a dream about a tree. And I heard a voice telling me in my dream to dig under that tree that was growing beside the convent." "But I didn't bothered with it since I thought it was just a dream," he added.
Hearing this, the people started digging. They we're just so happy finding their golden bell under the big roots of the strange tree. They went inside their church and gave their thanks to the Lord for having their bell back. Afterwards, the full sound of the golden bell was once again heard in the whole town. This gave happiness and peace to the heart of each and one of them while praying solemnly.
Philippine folklore books
The mysterious tree continuously grow and it bears many red, bell-shaped fruits which, the people later on found out was edible.
The kids loves the fruit's unique shape, to them it looks like a goblet. And just after few days, the fruit had been called makopa or macopa (java apple.) Until now, the fruit was still called the same, macopa.
And that's how the macopa tree came into existence according to this macopa legend. If you saw this red fruits shaped like bells, don't hesitate to try. Who knows? You might end up liking it.
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