Bird's Nests from Gensan
1st Class Balinsasayaw
The bird's nests that are harvested come from select species of the swiftlet, a tiny bird found throughout Southeast Asia. These birds inhabit dark caves, and the males construct the nests on the cave walls. Instead of using twigs, straw and other plant material, the swiftlets utilize their own saliva to create a small, shallow basin attached to the rocks.
The nests have high levels of calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium. They are traditionally believed to provide health benefits, such as improving the voice, easing digestion, alleviating asthma, raising libido, and strengthening the immune system.
The most heavily harvested nests are from the edible-nest swiflet (Aerodramus fuciphagus) and the black-nest swiftlet (Aerodramus maximus). The Aerodramus fuciphagus is found in the Philippines, with the local name of balinsasayaw. The birds are found in El Nido, a region in Palawan whose name literally translates to “the nest.” Even before the Spanish occupation, Chinese travelers and herbalists were documented as having explored the area just to harvest the rare delicacy that the balinsasayaw produces.