The Legend of Java Apple or Macopa - Syzygium Samarangense
Macopa as it is called in the Philippines, or the Java apple fruit is eye catching in its reddish color. The macopa fruit is crunchy, mildly sweet, spongy and is a favored snack in the country's warm weather.
Back in the homeland, there was a macopa tree I used to climb. It was a decent size with low branches to climb and sit on for a 5 to 6 year old kid after I picked one or two of the red and ripe fruit. It also served as my hiding spot when I got my mom mad or for hide and seek with my playmate. Years had gone by and I sure missed having the fruit.
Other common names this fruit is known for is wax apple and wax jambu. And with its interesting bell-like shape doesn't it make you wonder and ask where did the macopa tree come from? There is an interesting Filipino that goes like this.
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 long 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. It's truly 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 were 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 waste any minute. They put the golden bell down and hid it. When the bandits arrived, the golden bell was no longer there in the church. The priest and the sacristans all got beaten up, and were forced to tell where they hid the bell. And for all the pain and torturing they went through, all three still didn't tell the bandits the bell's hiding place. This made the bandits furious 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, the old, even the rich and the poor went looking for the hidden bell. But they all couldn't find it. Many days passed by and the golden bell was continuously missing. By then, the people had 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 reddish in color. It reminds them of their golden bell.
One elder man stood in 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," he said. "But I didn't bother with it since I thought it was just a dream," he added.
Hearing this, the people started digging. They were 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.
The mysterious tree continuously grow bearing many red, bell-shaped fruits which the people later on found out was edible.
The kids love the fruit's unique shape, to them it looks like a goblet. And just after few days, the people started calling the fruit 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.
Have you eaten a macopa (java apple fruit)?
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