Sayongsong: Surigao’s delicious native delicacy

A pile of sayongsong at a roadside stall near Mabua Pebble Beach

The delicacy, bared

Check out the sayongsong in Barangay Ipil, just near the pebble beach,

my longtime FB friend Jun, who I just met for the first time a few days ago when I went to Surigao City, told me when I asked him what are the delicacies in the city. The name, in itself, is already intriguing but for Surigaonons, refers to cone or tapered shape.

Whenever I do travel, checking the local delicacies is one of the must things to do. It is one way of getting to know more of the place and for Surigao City, the sayongsong, is said to be only found in the province, especially in Barangay Ipil near the famous and unusual pebble beach.

Sayongsong pile

That’s why when I was in the vicinity, the van that took me to this barangay stopped at the curve and I went down. There are two stores selling this delicious delicacy, both just a stone’s throw from each other.

When I came up to the first store, there, on a beautiful woven native plate is a pile of sayongsong, its blue top glistening with a coat of oil, peeking from its wrap of blanched banana leaves. This is definitely a kind of rice cake, made from ground malagkit (sticky rice) that is cooked with gata (coco milk), milk and sugar. Lest it might be confused because of its color, ube (purple yam) is not included.

I was expecting a rice cake that is a bit hard or dry but taking a bite after unwrapping the banana leaf was heaven. It was very soft, not too sweet and not too bland. Just enough. A buttery texture and one that does not readily stick to the back of the teeth or palate.

The sayongsong is sold for just P5 a piece. Really cheap for such a delicious native delicacy. I was also told that in the municipality of Mainit, gateway to the sprawling Mainit Lake, is another version which has ground peanuts.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.


  1. Robx Bautista
    May 27, 2012 @ 16:33

    Aaaah this looks so tasty! Hope I can spot one when we go to Surigao in July! 😀

  2. estancabigas
    May 27, 2012 @ 16:44

    its only found in Barangay Mabua 🙂

  3. Edmaration
    May 28, 2012 @ 0:35

    Very very cheap! Sana hindi madaling mapanis para gawing pasalubong. hehe

  4. Jun Piong
    May 28, 2012 @ 11:12

    been photographing sayongsong for quite a while now but it doesnt appear this good. how come? i think there’s something wrong with my digicam. LOL.

    thank you for coming to Surigao. And i apologize again for not being of help during your brief stay here. darn that busy sked. bawi ko next time..

  5. nathalie
    May 28, 2012 @ 15:56

    Thank you for visiting Surigao! Matha’s sayongsong store is still part of Barangay Ipil not Mabua..wala pong nagbibinta ng sayongsong Barangay Mabua. hehe

  6. Jan Ashlee Franco
    May 28, 2012 @ 19:11

    Hello! I love ur blog site! it served as my inspiration in creating my own travel blog. I hope you could visit my blogsite too or even add me on your bloglist. thank u so much and good luck on ur future trips!! – Jan Ashlee,

  7. Daryl Ralph Pedralba Besario
    May 31, 2012 @ 20:53

    That’s not in Barangay Mabua…

    Its in BARANGAY IPIL, SURIGAO CITY.. please do correct your article.

  8. Daryl Ralph Pedralba Besario
    May 31, 2012 @ 20:53

    That’s not in Barangay Mabua…

    Its in BARANGAY IPIL, SURIGAO CITY.. please do correct your article.

  9. Daryl Ralph Pedralba Besario
    May 31, 2012 @ 20:55

    Walang ngbebenta sa Brgy. Mabua niyan…. sa Brgy. Ipil yan….

  10. Arnoldcabanero
    June 20, 2012 @ 23:39

    I am proud to say that I am pioneering the creation of Sayongsong in our town in Anao-aon San Francisco the next barangay from the Ipil..
    Arnold Regunda Cabanero

  11. » 2012 Travels & achievements, Part 2 of 3 | Langyaw: Sojourns and Off-the-Beaten Path Travels
    January 1, 2013 @ 12:27

    […] May A trip to Surigao City started the merry month of May. It has been ages since I’ve been to this northeastern Mindanao province. But it was just a short stop, a break from the hectic travels the previous months and just exploring the city and eating sayongsong. […]

  12. ian | going places
    July 11, 2014 @ 3:11

    I failed to try this on my visit to Surigao last Summer… it looks interesting to taste this local delicacy of the province. Sayang we went to Mabua too, at hindi ko ‘to nakita.

  13. estan
    July 19, 2014 @ 10:56

    while along the way siya, di kaagad mapapansin 🙂

  14. teresa
    December 17, 2014 @ 12:27

    sana may mag post on how to cook sayongsong


  15. aubrey
    February 2, 2015 @ 13:05

    One of my favorites in Surigao. Been here in Manila for 3 years now and I missed the college years when we’re renting trycicle just to buy sayongsong in Ipil. You will see this in every cottage when roaming in mabua’s feebled beach

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