TAGBILARAN CITY, February 21 (PIA)--From its taste, one could easily tell that it is a steamed rice cake.
But by looking at its form, it certainly is unlike the tin molded torta-like, or milk-can molded puto.
What is it?
This is sarongsong, Alicia Mayor Marnilou Ayuban explained, holding a piece of banana leaf cone-shaped and peeling off the leaf to reveal the familiar fleshy puto.
Sarongsong, apparently the only one of its kind in Bohol is an exclusive "pamainit (merienda) product of Sitio Carangi, Poblacion Alicia, he added.
Recently however, the cook who inherited the recipe and who kept the way it is done, Lolita Butcon, has relocated to Sition Capurao, barangay Untaga of the town, where she accepts orders.
Served as dessert during the solidarity meal for volunteers, guests and participants of the annual mountain bike festival, sarongsong is your customary steamed puto humay (rice cake).
Puto humay, or simply puto is from your powder milled glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk and brown central or white sugar over a steamer while bingka, another rice cake is cooking the cake in an earthen oven.
But as the puto mixture is poured in a banana leaf laid tin molder or milk can before putting in a steamer, the sarongsong uses a weird mold.
"It is a banana leaf shaped in a cone, where the mixture is poured," showed Alicia Tourism Officer Godelia Lumugdang, while talking to amazed people of the press and mountain bikers.
Asked why such a mold, a town native said it traces its roots from long ago when finding tin-can molds were not easy.
Well, it still works, and it does not ruin the taste, so this must be okay, another one said.
Already identified as unique tourism product of the town, sarongsong could be Alicia's official pasalubong, hopes Lumugdang who has been instrumental in the development of the Alicia Panoramic Park Mountain Bike trails.
the native delicacy would also be the presented as refreshment for the soon to be set-up Alicia Cave Tours, which can start serving tourists this year, the tourism officer commented.
From its humble beginnings, a Filipino a native delicacy in steamed rice cake now gets a new form, and in a tropical country like the Philippines, handing out puto in a cone is still that warm message of the Boholano pamainit. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)