Gintong Aral

The Origin Of The Macopa Tree

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.