Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Philippine national helmet is made of upo

Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature - School on Blog 
 Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio 
738 KHz DZRB AM Band, 8-9 evening class, Monday to Friday

The calabash, Lagenaria siceraria, also known as upo squash, bottle gourd or long melon is a vine grown for its fruit, which can either be harvested young and used as a vegetable, or harvested mature, dried, and used as a bottle, utensil, or pipe. 

Upo and Katipunero. What is the relationship of the two?


Soldiers of the Katipunan (KKK) during the time of Bonifacio and Aguinaldo wore a special helmet. It is made of the tough shell of mature gourd or upo (Lagaenaria siceraria). It is light and cool and princely to wear. It is also worn on special occasions, and fits well with the early barong style wears. During rainy days, it was paired with the annanga, a native rain shield made of anahao (Levistona rotundifolia).

The fruits of upo come in two varieties: elongated and oblong. Both are a favorite vegetable while still young and succulent. When allowed to mature on the trellis, the fruits develop a tough rind that is impervious to water, and resistant to pressure. The elongated fruit is made into a receptacle to carry food and water. The round fruit on the other hand, is cut across the middle with the upper half fashioned into a helmet, while the lower half is made into a tray.                                                                            
                                                                                
Monument of Diego and Gabriela Silang. Santa, Ilocos Sur. The hero's helmet is made from the tough rind of upo.

If we have a national tree (narra), national flower (sampaguita), a national fruit (mango), surely upo, by these criteria mentioned, deserves to be our national fruit-vegetable. Above all, the Philippine national helmet.~

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