Speak of Cebu and images of the Sto. Niño , the province’s patron, come to mind. And so does the valiant Lapu-Lapu, sweet mangoes, the famous lechon, guitars and beaches. But it is more than that. Cebu is a special and beautiful place. It is also my home.
The traveler passing by the municipalities of Catmon and Borbon would get curious what budbud kabog is as kabog in Cebuano means a large fruit bat. For the uninitiated, it is a kind of suman, a type of elongated rice cake wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. The main ingredient is millet, rather unusual as most budbud is made from either pilit (malagkit in Filipino and sticky rice in English) or ground cassava and to some extent, corn, in the case of pintos.
One note though, budbud kabog is known as from Catmon and they even have a festival celebrated for this one but when one gets to the town, finding this delicacy is hard and, as what I found out, most of the time unavailable. I asked around and was pointed to a store beside the municipal hall but I didn’t see any budbud there. This is also found rather common in Dumaguete where it is sold near the pier. One can also get these at the Salcedo Saturday market in Makati.
Other than the kabog, there is a stretch of stalls by the roadside that sells bibingka (round rice cakes) as shown at right. Really good when eaten fresh from the fire.
A road trip to the south especially after Carcar is a pleasant one and when one reaches Argao, one can see several stands of bahay-na-bato, Spanish era houses that attests to its position as a heritage town. When I think of Argao, its not only the baroque church that comes to mind but food stands out in the form of the Argao torta.
This town is famous for this one and whenever I’m visiting, I always drop by Chitang’s for this treat. Argao’s torta is a local cake. A rich one. Just sink your teeth to its smooth texture which is topped with sugar and bits of cheese and raisins and you can’t help but close your eyes and feel bliss. People attest to its secret ingredient: tuba, red fermented coconut milk that seems to bring out its character. There is also another ingredient: pork lard. There are also other bakers of torta in the town but I find this one to be the best.
Chitang’s also sell other delicacies like broas, soft and delicate pastries that can be eaten as is or added as decoration or one of the ingredients of pastries or cakes; this is also found in many places in the country. There’s also podreda, star or flower shaped biscuits that comes plain or special with an added fruit jam at the center. The town also boasts of it’s tableya, puck-like concentrated cocoa chocolate that is best consumed as a hot and thick choco beverage. But nothing beats the torta.