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Savoring bibingka a la Digos

Every region in the country has its bibingka variant; but what makes bibingka a la Digos different is the addition of buko shreds within the rice cake itself (instead of as topping).

Digos in Davao del Sur used to be known as the “big” place that divides Regions XII and XII; the last somewhat-developed place the bus stops at when you’re heading from Davao City to Cotabato City (just before you hit Kidapawan City).

But this place that is located near a once-popular dark-stone-filled beach (that isn’t as frequented now, largely due to bad development of the place) actually has an attraction that has been gaining prominence by the day – i.e. the bibingka sold by the local vendors along the National Highway.

Bibingka is, of course, a type of baked rice cake, traditionally cooked in clay pots lined with (usually banana) leaves. It is a subtype of kakanin/snack foods in Philippine cuisine.

Every region in the country has its bibingka variant; but what makes bibingka a la Digos different is the addition of buko shreds within the rice cake itself (instead of as topping).

The bibingka recipe is somewhat similar… everywhere.

Ingredients:

1 cup rice flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup fresh milk
3 pieces raw eggs
Pre-cut banana leaf

Instructions:

  1. Combine rice flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Set aside.
  2. Cream butter then gradually put-in sugar while whisking.
  3. Add the eggs. Whisk until every ingredient is well incorporated.
  4. Gradually add the rice flour, salt, and baking powder mixture. Continue mixing.
  5. Pour-in coconut milk and fresh milk, then whisk some more.
  6. Arrange the pre-cut banana leaf on a cake pan or baking pan.
    Pour the mixture on the pan.
    ***It is at this point where the bibingka de Digos sorts of diversifies the approach, with the addition of the shredded young coconut flesh. This adds a somewhat fresh taste to the bibingka, particularly when buck is added abundantly.
  7. Bake for 20-35 minutes, or until the color of the top turns medium brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool.
  9. Serve.

This type of bibingka is, by no means, exclusive to Digos; a similar version is available in Quezon Province. But exactly because the somewhat-similar variety is in Luzon, Digos’ version is… peculiar in Mindanao. And so this makes this a must-try.

So when in Davao del Sur, particularly when passing through Digos City, be sure to grab some along the National Highway…

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The Mindanao group of islands in southern Philippines has long been called as the country's "Promised Land" - albeit this is often said as a yet-fulfilled potential, instead of highlighting what the place now has to offer. We don't only believe it's wrong; we also strongly believe time to correct this and highlight everything about this place that is, indeed, a land full of promise. So here's... Mindanaw Magazine!

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