15 Mar2009


Thousands of these small bibingkas with coconut shreds were being baked and sold at the Valladolid fiesta. They are an incredible testament to Pinoy ingenuity, from the cooking vessels, stoves, etc. At just a few pesos each, they were best straight out of the oven. Many locals adore the coconut shreds in the bibingka, but while I did like it, perhpas the coconut takes a little getting used to. What intrigued me more was the manner in which they were prepared…


First the coconuts were split open and the meats shredded by hand… the guys were smiling because they thought it was so odd that I would be photographing them.


Next, the mixture of flour/rice flour, coconut milk, coconut shreds and that wonderful light brown sugar of Negros was stirred by hand in balde (pail) sized batches.


Steel ovens which require heat sources from below and above were “fired” up with coconut husks and wood.


Other folks used charcoal to temper or better control the heat. And notice the nicely golden tops of the bibingkas in the oven drawer.


Other vendors used large oil tins as makeshift ovens.


And the cooking pans themselves were formed by cutting out the lower inch of canned goods and lining them with banana leaves. On the one hand, I love trolling through Sur La Table, Williams Sonoma and Dehillerin for cooking gadgets, but this other end of the spectrum with recycled cans, makeshift ovens, etc. is equally fascinating and amazing!



  1. betty q. says:

    I have to hand it to them, MM! They are indeed VERY RESOURCEFUL!!!!!!

    And Chris: you asked me about fish smokers? Maybe you can make a similar one using those tall tin cans like the picture above….cut a square small opening on the side down at the botoom wide enough that you can put a really small skillet with wood chips….heat tthem up first before putting them inside the can. Oh, you have to put hinges on the opening so the flap can go down. Google Little Chief smoker so you have a better picture of the components.

    Mar 15, 2009 | 10:28 am


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  3. Bearhug0127 says:

    The bibingkas look good and makes me really homesick. I really miss the bibingkas from villa in iloilo and the ones in plaza libertad and
    In jato too. They were the best bibingkas because the coconuts in them were young.

    Mar 15, 2009 | 11:04 am

  4. Bearhug0127 says:

    Oops, I mean jaro,iloilo

    Mar 15, 2009 | 11:06 am

  5. shella says:

    i miss eating bibingka :(

    Mar 15, 2009 | 1:45 pm

  6. sanojmd says:

    wow, i love bibingka. especially with young coconut inside.and salted egg on top. wow, yummy!

    Mar 15, 2009 | 2:56 pm

  7. Jack says:

    The best ones I had are from Balasan Iloilo and Mohon Oton Iloilo.

    Miss these I hope to have them when I go home this coming December.

    Mar 15, 2009 | 3:22 pm

  8. millet says:

    what did they use for leavening, MM? tuba?

    Mar 15, 2009 | 3:47 pm

  9. Marketman says:

    millet these were quite heavy, so I am not sure they even used a leavener, but I would guess it wasn’t tuba as they didn’t leave this batter to sit and were cooking it right after mixing it up… maybe the shortcut was baking powder?

    Mar 15, 2009 | 3:54 pm

  10. Mimi says:

    in bicol province, on the highway to tabaco, they sold something similar to this but they cooked them in half coconut shells/ bao lined with banana leaves. also cooked in empty cooking oil cans using dried coconut. don’t know what they were called, but they were yummy and fluffy when hot…when brought home not good anymore…

    Mar 15, 2009 | 4:51 pm

  11. Mangaranon says:

    These bibingkas from the small towns in Negros/Iloilo are the best! Especially with the coconut.

    Mar 15, 2009 | 6:31 pm

  12. natie says:

    yum! i miss these a lot too…just had them 2 weeks ago in iloilo.i also love the one with the salted eggs. i make my own here in the U.S. it turns out fair enough

    jack, the bingka from balasan is RCJ..it’s the most popular stall during the Jaro fiesta weeks. we had to stand on line! i could finish 2 bags of Mohon bingka in one sitting..

    Mar 15, 2009 | 8:51 pm

  13. simone says:

    IMHO Mohon bibingka is the best! But it is almost always sold out and sometimes they don’t make it daily. When I came home to Iloilo lasat month,I made sure to stop by Mohon after eating at Allan’s Talabahan in Oton. Now that I’m back in Manila, I miss it. Bibingkas in Manila are mostly puto like in texture with little to no coconut shreds.

    Mar 15, 2009 | 9:00 pm

  14. Apicio says:

    Still wondering about the connection that links our puto to the Southern puttu or for that matter, all our versions of bibingka to the Goan bebenca which I read about in John Irving´s Son of the circus. When I actually came face to face with this Goan cake, it looked to me more like the Indonesian multi-layered spice cake.

    Mar 15, 2009 | 10:02 pm

  15. jun says:

    Here in singapore/Malaysia some of their desserts sounds similar with ours such as putu piring, binka ubi. The looks and taste are almost the same with a rich taste of coconut and brown sugar(gula melaka).

    click on the link to see more.


    Mar 15, 2009 | 11:40 pm

  16. Vanessa says:

    One has to admire that the ecological footprint in this preparation is very minimal.

    Mar 16, 2009 | 5:57 am

  17. millet says:

    thanks, MM…i guess majority of our rice delicacies are now leavened with the faster and more convenient baking powder.

    Mar 16, 2009 | 7:28 am

  18. paolo says:

    hi marketman! next time your in bacolod please try the bingka made by Liddy Montelibano! it’s available at pendy’s and 21restaurant

    Mar 16, 2009 | 9:05 am

  19. lety says:

    Really, MM. How I wish I am one of your travelling companions. The places to go and all the food you see is just incredible. Thank you for all the pictures and the stories that go with them.

    Mar 16, 2009 | 9:17 am

  20. Vince says:

    I like bibingka man. Growing up from Ilocos Norte you always come across to an old or a young lady baking some bibingka around the village. You don’t have to be in the market, it would be just on the road as your passing through wondering around the village with a slingshot. I think bibingka are like our own version of Haan (Indian Flat Bread). I made a research about bibingka and I think the Portuguese brought it to the Philippines. Or maybe the early settlers of India did. They even have bibinka all the way to Mosambique of Africa.

    Maybe it had a different name. The Spanish Conquistador just called it bibinka because it looks similar to the Indian version they discovered and called bibinka.

    Here’s the link I found in Wikipedia.

    Mar 16, 2009 | 9:46 am

  21. dee bee says:

    love travelling through you :)

    we are ingenious at recycling. i remember we had dustpans made from old oil tins. our driver would cut it diagonally across and attach a wooden stick to each half, and one tin would result in two dust pans. o di ba, nothing wasted!

    Mar 16, 2009 | 10:02 am

  22. Vince says:

    I meant the early settlers from India. That might of brought the bibingka to the Islands. Or the other way around.

    Mar 16, 2009 | 10:14 am

  23. luna miranda says:

    wow, i miss bingka! when i was a kid, my aunt and her friends would buy me like a skirt-load of bingka to keep me entertained and wouldn’t spy on them.:D

    i learned to love all the rides in the perya growing up in Valladolid. my grandfather took me every night to the sample each ride.:D

    Mar 16, 2009 | 11:38 am

  24. Cat says:

    There’s this bibingka stand that sells yummy, gooey, and sweet bibingka at the Jaro, Plaza here in Iloilo. RCJ’s Balasan Bibingka, it’s called. Before, they were only available around Christmastime till February (for the Jaro fiesta). We would drop by after Simbang Gabi and buy 2 large, steaming bibingkas for breakfast! Always excellent with tsokolate :) Now, I’m glad they’ve taken a more permanent residence at a house near the plaza.

    Mar 16, 2009 | 9:05 pm

  25. Cat says:

    Uhm, this is a naughty one: Was waiting for my jeepney ride across from a movie theater. This movie theater catered to a more “adult” audience, if you get my drift. What made me chuckle was the banner of the movie being shown that time: “Bibingka – Init sa Itaas, Init sa Ilalim”! No kidding! Haha!

    Mar 16, 2009 | 9:08 pm

  26. jack says:

    natie and simone

    My thoughts exactly. The Balasan one can be bought in Jaro Plaza right across our house. hehehe They make a bigger version of it and is packaged in a box.

    The Mohon Bingka has a a denser texture.

    Either way they are really good and I think has 70-30 ratio of coconut to batter. I get the feeling the batter is just there to hold the butong strips together.

    Mar 17, 2009 | 3:06 am

  27. Maria Clara says:

    Bibingka and puto can be cloned and portable living outside our archipelago BUT as not good as the ones made locally. The ones made in our place have a distinct and unforgettable taste which I totally contribute the way they bake our bibingka with our makeshift wood burning oven as opposed to gas or electric oven. Our local air and water are another contributory factor for their yummy taste. I once told the Caucasian husband of my friend who told us “If they are easy to make how come you gals did not learn how to make them?” I told him who would bother to make them back home where you can get them in every street corner and competition is so stiff that you can even customize them to suit your taste – bring your own eggs, sugar, butter or margarine, etc.

    Mar 17, 2009 | 3:13 am

  28. Apicio says:

    Vince, lurking history buffs should correct me on this but the Spaniards and Portuguese traditionally and by contract kept out of each others hairs in the new world. Remember the pope of that time who drew a line on the globe to lessen disputes? And if bebenca shows up in Mozambique it would likely be through Portuguese contact. They were plying that area from Vasco da Gama on through the (nineteen) seventies and eighties. They only lose control of Macau and Timor in very recent modern times.

    Mar 17, 2009 | 10:09 pm

  29. britelite says:

    Hay jack—we should bring MM around when he decides to go to Iloilo—from the suman latik,bicho-bicho,pancho sa buho,buko-cheese dirty ice cream,baye-baye,alupi,lumpia up to the buko pie and bibingka galore and of course kansi,pata and batchoy and even our mani along diversion road…then derecho to tatoy’s with the ducot of the valenciana and the binakol–and the aligui rice and managat of breakthrough .

    Mar 17, 2009 | 10:30 pm

  30. calixte says:

    And as pasalubong from Iloilo, we will send you home with some tapa from Botica El Car – the ones from San Andres will have nothing to say once you have tasted this tapa. Aside from the usual Panaderia de Molo of course.

    Mar 17, 2009 | 10:38 pm


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