The Origin Of The Macopa Tree (makopa Tersana Rose Apple)

Along time ago during the early spanish times, there existed a town in the outskirts of Manila that lay in the vicinity of a high mountain on one side and almost surrounded by forests sloping down from the mountain on all other sides. In the clearing were the vast rice fields and groves of fruit bearing trees which produced good harvests year in and year out upon which everyone living there depended on their livelihood. For many years, the natives there led a peaceful and happy life.

Of all the things the natives took pride in was their golden bell which, according to their forefathers, appeared from out of nowhere in the townsquare. Since then they enjoyed good harvests year in and year out and believed the bell possessed miraculous power and was highly venerated by the townspeople. When the first Spanish friars came to town and started to build the town church, the people had it aptly used as the official bell for the church. Hanging high on top of the church steeple to everycone's view, the bell has a perfect arch and tolls with a loud and clear sound. When it was rang, it would reach everyone's ears with such a pleasing tone everyone, was moved to kneel down and fervently thank the Lord for all the blessings they have been receiving.

Many people from far-fetched towns soon learned about the existence of the golden bell. Not a few developed selfish motives to steal the bell. The group which took the greatest interest in it were the bandits living in the forests. They planned to melt the bell and sell the gold obtained from it once they get hold of the bell.

One day, the entire town was tossed into confusion when the forest bandits known for their gold-stealing activities, sprang a surprise attack at them. Shouts of "The bandits! The bandits! they're coming!" rang across town Fortunately the alarming news reached the parish priest in time. Together with the two sacristans, they quickly brought down the bell and hid it. Hence, when the bandits arrived at the town church they could not find the bell. They ransacked the church and then went after the priest and the sacristans and when they located them, they beat them up without mercy to force them to reveal where they hidden the bell. They bravely refused to utter even a word which drove the bandits crazy who then cut off their throats. The town folks have gathered strenght by that time that the bandits decided to flee and return to the safety of the forest.

The tragedy that befell the parish priest and the two sacristans left the whole town in deep mourning. Everyone likewise felt depressed because their most cherished bell was missing in the church steeple. Neither did anyone know where the parish priest and the two sacristans hid the bell before they were massacred. In the next few days, everyone including the young, the old, the rich the poor all helped searching for the bell that has become a symbol of prosperity for them. Yet, inspite of their ardent efforts, they could not locate where the bell was hidden. Not long afterwards, the issue over the missing bell gradually subsided until no one even talked about it anymore. With the bell gone and the church service left vacant for a longtime, the towns people subsequently abandoned their religious duties. No one even thought of stepping inside the church to pray anymore. Things took a bad turn as the ricefields produce less yield and became neglected. There was always trouble in town. The whole town seemed resigned to misery.

One day, many years after, a number of the townfolks who happened to passed by the church discovered, a strange fruit bearing tree beside the convent that was heavily laden with fruits very much different from those of other trees. Its shape was one of its kind - it was bell shaped and reddish bright in color with a glossy skin that shone like gold. Soon many others joined and crowded around the strange tree, all wondering how the tree came about. Just then an old man wade his way through the crowd until he got in front of the tree. He began to speak enthusiastically, "You know, last night when I was sleeping, I thought I heard a voice summoning me to dig the ground under a certain tree near the convent. But I didn't give it much attention as I thought it was after all only a dream."

The people who were listening closely to what the old man was saying, quickly acted upon his words and ran home to fetch their crude shovels and then started digging the ground underneath the roots of the tree. Not long one of them hit something hard that sends off a loud twanging sound. Quickly they dug further and lo! - there it was the golden bell! A sense of great joy overcame them at the sight of the long lost bell; many could not hold back their tears and shed a joyful tear or two. Then, too, the strong men among the crowd took and carried the bell to the church, then hanged it up in the steeple. Again, they sounded the bell and it rang loud and clear and pleasing like before. Everyone in town became plentiful, and peace returned to the town.

Meanwhile, the strange tree continued to bear fruits, and after some time it was learned that the fruit is edible and tastes sweet. The children, in particular, were delighted at the shape of the fruits, which to them appeared cup-shaped as well. Sometime later, they began to adopt the name of "macopa", which means, like a cup in referring to it, as we still do today. The "macopa" or "makopa" is more properly classified as the Malay Tersana Rose Apple Tree.