Back from a long day of island hopping and sunning on the beach, we returned to the town of Coron (pier behind the market) and took a quick tour of the market only to discover there was practically no seafood on offer at about 4 in the afternoon. But I spotted these unusual looking poles that turn out to be the local equivalent of a humongous butane lighterâ€¦ If my notes are correct, this is called sahing in Coron and it is actually made from the highly flammable dried resin of what was described as a â€œrubber tree.â€ A little more research suggests it is not a rubber tree per se, but Canarium villosum, a resinous tree that is closely related to the pili tree. It is endemic to Palawan but also grows elsewhere in the Philippine archipelago.
The resin is wrapped with dried leaves and tied tightly so that it resembles a very large matchstick. When lit, it can serve to light other large fires for cooking or other purposes and I was told that it could even serve as a torch, in case I wanted to wander like a savage on some deserted beach feeling like a participant in a reality television show like â€œLost.â€ Speaking of which, some European version of such a show was in fact filming on one of the islands near Coron, and they had a humongous yacht on standby for the film crew et alâ€¦ At any rate, I never saw this ingenous lighter in use but I thought I should do a post on it because it is the first time I have seen such a device and it was intriguing to say the leastâ€¦