The secret to Mandaue’s bibingka

Mandaue's bibingka (Photo by Bjornson Bernales)

If you ask the few families who continue to bake Mandaue City's bibingka the secret to creating this delicacy, they'd tell you that the manner of cooking matters as much as the ingredients.

Mandaue's bibingka, a type of rice cake made from ground rice, coconut milk and strips, sugar, and yeast or rarely tuba, is popular among Cebuanos, who love its soft and spongy texture.

Bibingka makers still bake it the traditional way or what Cebuanos call "inurno" style. This involves the use of terra cotta ovens where charcoal is burned below and above the bibingka mixture.

Mandaue's bibingka, with its banana leaf wrapping, is not your typical rice cake baked inside modern ovens, but this is what makes it unique and special.

"Ang aso sa uling mas makahatag og mas lamian nga bibingka (The smoke from the charcoal gives the bibingka its distinctive taste)," said Gaga Sereno, 23, one of those selling the rice cake by the Ibabao roadside in Mandaue.

Another vendor said there are buyers, like one from Manila, who provide the ingredients but want the bibingka baked in their terra cotta ovens.

"Lami siya labi pa init pa bisan pa mura og naay uling sa ilawm sa may dahon sa saging," said Dindin, 20, a fan of this Mandaue specialty. (It's delicious especially if it's still hot and even if bits of charcoal stick to the banana wrapping.)

Since charcoal is placed on thin metal strips that cover the bibingka batter container, it sometimes burn through the banana leaves used as wrapper. This is also why the top of the rice cake is toasty brown.

Mandaue's bibingka is sold in packs of threes for P30 in small stalls along Ibabao Street, or fronting the city's cockfighting arena.

It is available all throughout the day.

Husband and wife Victor and Jonelyn Baynosa sell bibingka as early as 5 in the morning. They wake up even earlier to prepare the ingredients.

Mandaue's bibingka is easy to make because it does not require complex ingredients, and some can even be substituted.

The main ingredient of this specialty food is the rice flour. Bibingka makers buy rice and then have this grounded or just purchase rice flour.

Coconut milk, which can be replaced with evaporated milk, sugar, and yeast are also needed. Bakers once used coconut fermented ale as a leavening agent but find that yeast is cheaper and easier to come by.

Getting the milk from shredded coconut meat is easy. Just pour  hot water on it and squeeze repeatedly until you get the white liquid mixture used to create the bibingka.

According to Victor, the bibingka can also be made with evaporated milk and eggs, if the buyer so chooses.

The first-known Bibingkang Mandaue baker and vendor is Claudia Atis. Before she died in the 1990's, she left the business to her children.

Jonalyn Baynosa served as Claudia's assistant  in the 1980s before she baked and sold her own in 1997.

Today, only three families prepare and sell bibingka in kiosks along Ibabao Street in Mandaue City.

The Baynosa family is lucky because their kiosk is near a vacant property, where they set up a cooking station with numerous terra cotta stoves.

This allows them to sell the bibingka fresh from the cookery.

Many vendors used to sell the rice cakes on the sidewalk along Ibabao Street but the City Government has regulated their numbers because they impeded the flow of vehicles and pedestrians.

Jonalyn Baynosa said families used to have a maximum of four kiosks each but are now allowed only one.

When you're in Cebu, don't forget to taste this native specialty that Mandaue is famous for. The rice cake is perfect for snacks or dessert.

Even if you're not familiar with Cebu, it is easy enough to find their selling station. Just tell the taxi driver you're bound for Mandaue City's "coliseum," the more popular name for the cockpit.

If you feel adventurous and want to go on a jeepney, look for one with "Mandaue Ibabao" on the signboard route. It passes by Ibabao Street where the bibingka makers sell their product.


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • ‘Next leader must not be newbie’
    ‘Next leader must not be newbie’

    Vice President Jejomar Binay believes the next president of the Philippines must have vast experience and a long track record in governance and in dealing with crises. “I am very much convinced that the local government is the best training ground for those who want to run for national government positions,” he said. Binay said he is determined to run for president in 2016 on the strength of his competence and track record. …

  • Massacre suspect tests negative for poisoning
    Massacre suspect tests negative for poisoning

    A suspect in the Maguindanao massacre case who had been examined at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) tested negative for poisoning, medical records released yesterday showed. However, the Quezon City court handling the multiple murder case resolved to isolate Police Officer 1 Pia Kamidon from the rest of the accused detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig for his safety. In a two-page order, Regional Trial Court Branch 221 assisting Judge Genie Gapas-Agbada ordered jail officials to …

  • ‘Homework first before Facebook’
    ‘Homework first before Facebook’

    President Aquino elicited laughter from students here as he reminded them to open books first before Facebook. “Finish your assignments first before making a raid in the Clash of Clans,” Aquino said, referring to a popular online game. In a speech during the turnover yesterday of two new three-story buildings at the Tarlac National High School, he said the government could only provide opportunities for learning but the rest of the work would be up to the students. The new school buildings …

  • Espina resignation confirmed; Noy looks for replacement
    Espina resignation confirmed; Noy looks for replacement

    President Aquino ended speculations yesterday and confirmed that Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina had indeed resigned as officer-in-charge of the Philippine National Police. As of this time, we are conducting various interviews and checks on the various candidates,” Aquino told reporters at the Tarlac National High School in Tarlac City. Aquino had kind words for Espina, saying that he stood by and defended the 44 slain police Special Action Force (SAF) commandos in the operation in …

  • Palace welcomes G7 concern over sea reclamation
    Palace welcomes G7 concern over sea reclamation

    President Aquino welcomed yesterday the Group of Seven industrialized countries’ expression of concern over rising tension in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea, calling it a clear indication of the global scope of the problem ramped up by China’s massive reclamation activities in disputed waters. In Tarlac City where he led the turnover of new classrooms, Aquino told reporters that goodwill and not tension must prevail in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea, where territorial …

  • DepEd, TESDA tie up for K to 12
    DepEd, TESDA tie up for K to 12

    The Department of Education (DepEd) has partnered with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in the first two years of implementation of the K to 12 program. “We will use TESDA centers as technical-vocational laboratories for senior high school,” DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro said during the inauguration of 30 new classrooms at the Tarlac National High School yesterday. The classrooms were constructed in partnership with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. …

  • SE Asia Stocks-Philippine falls on foreign selling; others flat to weaker

    BANGKOK, April 17 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets ended flat to weaker on Friday as Philippine stocks slid on selling led by foreign funds and Singapore shares extended losses with investors ... …

  • Philippine Airlines parent says back in black
    Philippine Airlines parent says back in black

    Philippine Airlines' parent firm said it had returned to profitability, the first time in three years either entity reported being in the black for an entire year. In a filing with the Philippine Stock Exchange Thursday, PAL Holdings reported an after-tax net profit of 129.74 million pesos ($2.93 million) in its fiscal year to December 31. …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options