23 Oct2007


Buy them. Whatever I write after this sentence, these pastillas still deserve to commune with your tongue and taste buds, at least once. Still at Rockwell at their Baker’s Dozen promotion, and with a Polly’s Chocolate Cake already in hand, I needed more sugar like a hole in the head. But a table carrying Iya’s Jumbo Pastillas beckoned, and within seconds, I had acquired a box of Ube pastillas and another box of pastillas de leche for a whopping PHP500 or slightly more than PHP10 per piece! Pastillas de leche posts on this blog are historically amongst the most visited entries, and I think that these simple yet memorable sweets bring Pinoys “home,” regardless of where they are in the world today. I have very fond memories of pastillas de leche as my mother and her family were sugar addicts so we had this whenever we could get our hands on them. I could eat a dozen in one sitting. I have personally tried to make both kinds of pastillas to mediocre results, hence I find purchasing them to be a super attractive option.


With 24 large looking pieces in an overly spacious soft cardboard box, Iya’s pastillas looked promising. Back home, I immediately tasted one of each and was quite impressed. However, let’s not overly gush, shall we. “Jumbo” as a desciptor is a stretch. These were the normal size of pastillas when I was growing up, and the rest of the pastillas world simply went “Mini” and these ones have restored the older size. The ube pastillas was much more generous, it seemed, than the milk or leche pastillas, which was rather flat and less weighty. Also, the packaging was airy and so while it looked much bigger, I suspect there is a little bit of visual hocus pocus, if you know what I mean. Also, although I am not certain, it didn’t taste like these were made with carabao’s milk, maybe good cow’s milk, but I could be wrong on this. Carabao’s milk has a distinctive rich flavor and texture that seemed to be absent from these pastillas. Nevertheless, they were very good. The ube was moist, flavorful, with bits of the tuber apparent when you spread it over your tongue. Despite the generous sugar coating it wasn’t overly or cloyingly sweet. This was well-done, and just appropriately dry on the outside and yet moist inside. It remained good for three days after we purchased it. The pastillas de leche was likewise very good. Not as dense as some I have tried but just the right balance of flavor, texture, moistness, sweetness, etc. We laid these goodies out during a merienda on Saturday and the entire box of pastillas de leche was quickly wiped out.


At PHP250 for a box of 24, the price is a bit steep. But if you want good pastillas and are willing to pay for them, these are a good choice. Personally, I am more inclined towards a pastillas made with carabao’s milk and flavored with a hint of dayap. I have had nice examples of these before, here and here,but sources are extremely erratic. If you want to order some of Iya’s Jumbo Pastillas, call 729-0325. Two days advance notice is required, and pick-up is from J&C Fruits Stall #18, Market!Market! Mall at Fort Bonifacio. Or you might catch them at the basement of Rockwell Mall this weekend…



  1. ratacutie says:

    Hi MM, would you know if the Baker’s Dozen will still be there until Monday? It’s a long weekend afterall, right?

    Oct 23, 2007 | 1:50 pm


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  3. kitkathie says:

    Hello MM, Does Iya’s Pastillas have a dropoff point near Quezon City area? I’m from Valenzuela area. Yummy!!!

    Oct 23, 2007 | 2:04 pm

  4. wysgal says:

    It’s funny because I realize now that I went to school with Iya of “Iya’s Jumbo Pastillas.” Never thought she’d go into the food business. Who knows, I may go into the food biz myself … “Wysgal’s Whopperific Whatchamacalits,” or something or other.

    Oct 23, 2007 | 2:31 pm

  5. chad says:

    Hahah! When I read the title of the post I immediately thought something like the size of an arm! What a letdown. Hahaha! Maybe we could try a Pimp My Snack recipe and post sometime, MM.

    Oct 23, 2007 | 2:37 pm

  6. Mandy says:

    i had an iya jumbo pastillas hunting when i was at market, market only to be disappointed. i was able to find an alabang supplier of jumbo pastillas–miggy’s jumbo pastillas, Php260 per box of 2 doz. 09175274192 (mike) i just texted the number and he delivered 2 boxes to my house. it’s so much better than iya’s (which i purchased last sun at rockwell too). creamier and less sweet.

    Oct 23, 2007 | 3:15 pm

  7. nang says:

    i saw those pastillas in power plant and thought that they were too expensive. they didn’t have samples for tasting so i hesitated and went for the vargas butter cake and frozen brazo from one of the other stalls instead. are these pastillas better than sevilla’s at market!market!?

    Oct 23, 2007 | 3:41 pm

  8. Nikita says:

    I have yet to try the ube ones, but the de Leche was a bit too sweet for me. You’re right about the packaging, on the airy side.. more wrapper than pastillas hehe. We used to buy some pastillas from bulacan (san miguel i think) that was sold in a plastic tub and you could just spoon it out.. yummm!

    Oct 23, 2007 | 3:55 pm

  9. Mila says:

    I started buying Iya’s pastillas after Nena introduced (ie got us addicted) to them last year. And my mom loves these when I get her a box or (she likes the toasted pastillas version) Sometime in June, I found that they were selling them at Market!Market and was buying them for awhile at that location, but here’s a word of warning: it may be the lack of refrigeration at that dropoff, but I had two boxes of pastillas with a mold problem. So it may be better to buy directly from Iya herself in Makati.

    Having recently eaten a small container of pure carabao milk halaya (the essence of the pastillas de leche) from Pampanga, there’s nothing that comes close.

    Oct 23, 2007 | 3:59 pm

  10. portugalbear says:

    Iya’s pastillas are also available in SM Makati at the food stall near the entrance going to ace hardware.

    Oct 23, 2007 | 4:41 pm

  11. zel says:

    My mom once brought home pastillas from batangas years ago and it was the best! Instead of granulated sugar, they used confectionare’s sugar. It was creamy and not that sweet. Until now, I don’t know who made it and my mom can’t seem to remember the name of the store either. So sad. Now, if I see pastillas made from granulated sugar, I don’t bother because I keep thinking of those pastillas from batangas!

    Oct 23, 2007 | 5:24 pm

  12. Blaise says:

    Oh.. right, I saw that fruit stall already.. always wondered what supposed to be inside those cow-laden boxes.. Would this also be a good pasalubong for relatives in the US? Doesn’t it perish easily?

    Oct 23, 2007 | 5:29 pm

  13. myra_p says:

    Chad, i think you’ve hit on an excellent idea. You can Pimp-My-Snack several faves that always seem to be too small for a good mouthful. I wish someone would make yema balls the size of jawbreakers. Imagine pastillas the size of turon. Pili tarts as big as a pecan pie. Lengua de Gato like Madeleines…

    Oct 23, 2007 | 5:48 pm

  14. Katrina says:

    My family and I love these! My mom brings them as pasalubong to the US, and relatives there freeze them and ration them out one at a time.

    Re: the “jumbo” descriptor, I totally agree that this was the regular size when I was young. In fact, when I first saw and tasted Iya’s pastillas from Nena, my first thought was, “It’s the pastillas from my childhood!” But I think it’s perfectly all right to label them that, in the context of today’s tiny pastillas. They’re pricey, yes, but I’d rather pay more and get the real thing than the dry, tasteless specimens more commonly available.

    Did you try the toasted flavor, MM? It’s similar to dulce gatas, but smoother. When I bought those for my family, it was wiped out (the ube was the least favored, though not snubbed, either). Again, that’s a variety of pastillas that’s a taste from my childhood.

    Oct 23, 2007 | 9:15 pm

  15. mariapia says:

    I love these! I was asked to speak about the Philippines at my son’s preschool. Part of the activity was to present the kids – majority of whom were not Filipinos – to Filipino food. I brought these, along with rosquillos (a homage to my son’s Cebuano heritage, that). The kids went absolutely crazy for both. I suspect the teachers were slightly horrified, though. I was leaving them with a bunch of preschoolers on a sugar high!

    Oct 24, 2007 | 12:06 am

  16. Maria Clara says:

    Yes, pastillas are good especially with a hint of dayap in greasy wrapping – that’s their trademark. If you happen to come across at the market pastillas from Magalang, Pampanga they are the best please grab one. They only make them the traditional way with a hint of dayap the milk ones no ube and come in a plain brown cardboard box with a rubber-stamped logo. You are better off buying pastillas from a good source rather than making them yourself. Lots of sweat and grease elbow involved three times more work than your famous and award winning budbud kabog. The milk used whether from carabao, cow or canned source does not last long even kept refrigerated – the smooth texture turns grainy and rind begins to develop even sugar coated not to mention mold growth. Yes, you are right they were the standard cuts before. I think due to inflation and the downturn of the buying power of our money pastillas makers cut them into smaller pieces for illusionary effect – more value for your money!

    Oct 24, 2007 | 1:00 am

  17. munchkin mommy says:

    hi MM! i can eat a whole box of pastillas! it ranks high in my list of comfort food. :D my late date had a co-worker who lives in bulacan. the co-worker often gifted my dad with the real deal…pastillas made from carabao’s milk. and who can ever forget the pastillas wrapped in colorful japanese paper with intricate cut-out designs?! that’s hard to come by now. one really has to go all the way to bulacan.

    don’t you think it’s very disappointing to get a pastillas which is only half the size of the wrapper it came in? you can’ ever tell what size you’re gonna get. hahaha! and i agree, P250 is a tad expensive for a box of 24. :D

    Oct 24, 2007 | 4:39 am

  18. Candygirl says:

    Ooh ooh, I love pastillas when it’s dry, crisp on the outside and then moist inside. Yum! They’re available in Market Market? Too bad, I was just there yesterday.

    Oct 24, 2007 | 2:10 pm

  19. wits and nuts says:

    Try the pastillas produced from UP Los Banos. Made from carabao milk.

    Oct 25, 2007 | 4:50 pm

  20. Trina says:

    Wow no offense meant, but if the size of Iya’s pastillas were pretty standard when a lot of you guys were young, I can’t help but wonder when that was :p I have loved pastillas de leche since I was a kid, and I have never encountered any that came close to the size of these ones!

    Oct 28, 2007 | 2:33 pm


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