At Bannawag Norte in Santiago, Isabela, a humble roadside shop called Bretania Organic Food Products sells a merienda favorite among locals—patupat.
The Ilocano glutinous rice-based delicacy, which others also call sinambong, is displayed storefront in bundles.
“I, myself, used to plant sugarcane before,” says Jocelyn Bretania, owner of Bretania Organic Food Products. “In 2006, however, I learned how to make patupat and began selling it.”
Over time and thanks largely to improved roads, Bretania’s patupat has become a tourist-favorite, with visitors taking home the sticky rice snack to Pampanga, Manila, Davao, and even HongKong.
Making it, according to Bretania, is simple.
The process begins with wrapping the glutinous rice in buri leaves. It is then soaked in water overnight.
Using a machine press, the juice is extracted from the sugarcane right behind the shop.
This extract will be where the soaked glutinous rice will be cooked the next day.
The result is a naturally-sweetened snack.
Though the kakanin delicacy has different iterations in the northern region of the country, Bretania uses fresh sugarcane juice as the store is situated near a plantation.
How to consume
As the patupat and the buri leaves covering it are both sticky, Bretania recommends cutting it in half and eating it directly by hand.
Bretania recommends eating patupat for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.
“It’s best paired with brewed coffee,” she adds.
How to order
Bretania’s Organic Food Products is one of at least 25 shops in the area selling patupat, all displayed in small huts made out of wood and other light materials.
Bretania says making the sticky rice delicacy has helped provide extra income for their community.
“Most people here are farmers,” she says. “Being able to make products out of what we farm—sugarcane—has given many of us a means of livelihood.”
Bretania says guests can support the community through stopping by at the shop.
Her shop is open for walk-in customers who wish to try or take home the sticky rice delicacy. A bundle of 13 pieces of patupat retails for Php110.
All tourist destinations in Isabela have health and safety protocols in place to protect locals and visitors alike. Everyone is expected to comply by wearing face masks, regular handwashing, and practicing physical distancing.
To check out up-to-date information regarding local destinations that are open and the safety protocols and requirements needed for each location, you may visit www.philippines.travel/safetrip or download the Travel Philippines app at app.philippines.travel or the Google Playstore.