Nuts Over Beetle Nut Boxes

    It took me a while to get what they were. Perhaps I have been to far too many store that sells items from China, particularly the cricket box that crickets.  

     I collect small chests or 'bauls'.These metal boxes caught my eye during my last trip to Davao. I couldn't figure out what they were for with all its mini compartments inside. So I asked the shop keeper. She said, its is for beetle nuts. Stupid me I said. "Oh, they place them here after they are caught?" The shop keeper gave me the local, did-you--just-say-that look. (not the beetle insect?) Then she said it is for 'nga- nga'. Heck I know, nga-nga! So they are beetle nut boxes.  Our laundry woman when I was growing up was addicted to it as evidenced by her red orange teeth.  

     The practice actually involves chewing a combination of areca nuts and beetle leaves.  This explains the smaller compartments inside.  It is common in South East Asia.

    I examined the boxes more closely. What a pleasure it must have been for some to indulge in it. I heard it is an addiction. The boxes are either in-laid with silver or craved brass and there are three smaller compartments inside. I wanted to buy one. But they were not cheap. the one I liked was selling for P4,800 and the more intricate ones for up to P18,000. I said to myself I will wait until I have one of my Muslim family with me and haggle. Till then since I always have some use for all the chests I have collected at home, I will also try to figure out what to do with it once I buy it. Interesting and beautiful, don't you think?

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