I vividly remember the thickness and tenderness of the “santan” (coco jam) mixed by my kin in Lopez, a town in the Fourth District of Quezon Province. It was in the 60s until the 80s when I last tasted the yumminess of shredded, coconut meat squeezed its pure milk poured with muscovado-type sugar simmered in large pots for hours until it was densely brown.
Sometimes, the “santan” was flavored with sprinkled “pili” nuts or peeled peanuts to add tastiness or visual delight to it.
Unfortunately, in many towns of the province’s fourth division and the Bondoc Peninsula, they don’t make this kind of viscous “santan” anymore except the syrupy and thinly fluid coco jam.
One perfect example was when actress Cataleya Surio gave me “pasalubong” (gifts originating from regions or other places of departure) of coco jam from Catanauan, Quezon. I was excited to spread it on a bun, the first time it deliciously tasted no matter its watery. Then I let the Catanauan “santan” rest on my breakfast table only for several days thinking of consuming it later as an alternative to my sandwiches.
Sadly, when I applied it on my tasty bread, it was already rancid and had molds on top of it unlike the “santan” (commercial or personally consumptive) of my youth which was authentic and freshly tasted with its aroma still intact.