Located in the majestic mountains of the Cordillera Administrative Region in the Philippines, particularly Banaue and Mountain Province, lies a tradition as rich as the soil itself – Tapuy, a rice wine steeped in history. Believed to have originated with the indigenous tribes, this alcoholic beverage transcends mere drink; it’s a cultural cornerstone. Traditionally brewed for weddings, rice harvests, and festivities, it was even offered to deities. Today, tapuy continues to be a vital part of Cordilleran life, preserving ancestral customs and adding zest to community celebrations.

Crafted from either glutinous rice or a blend with its non-glutinous cousin, tapuy boasts a clear, full-bodied character. This unique beverage offers a delightful balance of moderate sweetness and a pronounced alcoholic punch, typically reaching around 14% ABV. Unlike some wines, tapuy is free of sulfites, those preservatives that can trigger allergic reactions and contribute to hangovers.

The creation of tapuy is a fascinating journey. First, glutinous rice is cooked and cooled. Then comes the magic ingredient – “bubod,” a disc-shaped starter culture teeming with beneficial microorganisms from fermented starch. This unique element jumpstarts the fermentation process. The mixture is then sealed in a container and undergoes a months-long transformation. Interestingly, the longer the fermentation, the higher the alcohol content. Finally, the fermented liquid is strained to remove the rice solids, revealing the finished tapuy.

While the Ilocano people know it as “tapuy,” this cherished rice wine holds other names in the Igorot languages, where it’s called “baya” or “bayah.” This beautiful diversity in names reflects the deep connection tapuy has woven into the rich cultural fabric of the Cordillera region. It highlights the significance of this beverage across various indigenous communities, serving as a cherished symbol that continues to resist the tide of commercially produced alternatives.

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Additional Information

Read more about the local drinks to try in the Philippines and also the Cordillera Region. Check out the links below to learn how to get there, what to do, what to see, when to go, where to stay and many more helpful information about this attraction.

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