Yummy, curing, and a legal psychedelic — the ELEMI NUT.


Peanuts, Cashews, Almonds, we’ve all heard of them and most likely consumed and made wonderful dishes with them, but have you ever heard of a fatty, Philippine nut called Elemi?

Mark Bantigue, the man behind P-3.ph, tells us his fascinating story on Elemi nuts including the side effect that’s as intriguing as the nut itself.


Yummy, curing, and a legal psychedelic — Presenting the ELEMI NUT.

by Mark Bantigue

I just flew back from a talk I gave at a respected university in Naga, Bicol, a province and state in the Visayas in the Philippines. In a country of 7100 islands, it is a given that each region has its signature dishes and specialty produce. Naga is known for its Bicol Express or Laing — large green taro leaves slow-stewed in thick coconut cream, ginger, and chilies; there are meat and vegan versions. But that’s not the food that took me by surprise on this trip.

No matter how many talks I give, the butterflies in my stomach prior to going on stage never ceases to impede eating prior my call time. It’s no surprise that after my talk, I was famished! I took it upon myself to put on my comfy kicks and stroll the streets of Naga looking for local, cruelty-free fare.

The colors jumped at me. There was a fruit stand at almost every other block that curated the sweetest tropical succulence this side of the Pacific. I almost gave in to my impulse but a voice in my head said to stroll on. Out of the blue, it caught me. Piles and piles of Pili Nuts; English name: Elemi. It is the nut that has the highest fat content in the world. Who can resist vegan fat? Name them: virgin coconut oil, nut butters, olive oil, avocado — guilt-free goodness!

Copious amounts on my lap sitting on the sidewalk and I’m just getting started. The minute your teeth sink in an Elemi nut, you immediately feel the oil coat your tongue in a pleasing way. The earthy flavor contrasted with the different preparations — dry roasted, candied, even mini Elemi pie!ย  I remember my grandmother telling me that Elemi is not only high in protein and good fat, but the oil is also used to treat wounds, bronchitis and coughs, stressed dull old skin, and scar tissue. Hey, all the more reason to eat and eat.

As I walked with my last handful and with Elemi shells tracing my route, I suddenly felt a strange feeling –waves of euphoria. At first I thought that it’s just the rich fat and protein entering my bloodstream coming from a calorie-depleted state. But these sensations were different. They reminded me of the nightlife haze of my early to mid 20s. Blissful! In addition, I started seeing sparkles in whatever I fixated my eyes upon. Am I tripping? What the hell is happening? Upon reaching my hotel room, the googled Elemi and realized it contains Elemicin — a precursor natural and organic compound to MDMA (ecstasy), and has amphetamine properties of mescaline (similar to LSD).

I am not advocating natural tripping. But it’s just so cool that anyone can have a healthy snack and have a little pick-me-up while at it. Everyone could use a little more indulgence and happiness in their lives. Health and Peace. Fly with Elemi!

A guest post by Mark Bantigue
founder and chief administrator of P3, a citizen journalism website based in the Philippines. Heโ€™s a former San Franciscan who now lives in Manila and is lacto-vegetarian.


Elemi or Pili Nuts are sold in Asian and Filipino grocery stores in the US. To learn more about Elemi Nuts, check out this article from MarketManila.com.

To see other guest posts, click here


TJ & RG at AstigVegan would love to hear your own unique veg adventures to share with our readers.

Whether it be with an essay, photo, video, recipe,
weโ€™re excited to feature you!

Just email us at astigvegan@gmail.com

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