the venerable patupat of ballesteros, and the patupat i know

You missed a lot when you went to Ballesteros, Cagayan and missed its famous "isang subo ka lang!" (you're just a mouthful!) glutinous rice cake, the patupat. It's the mostly Ilokano-populated town's so-called pride, virtually or even officially its OTOP (one town one product) for besides its equally great "royal" bibingka, its own version/rendition/innovation/variety of the blessed suman (rice cake), Balleteros' patupat is almost synonymous to the town's name, well, at least, in the province of Cagayan. Yes, patupat-Ballesteros is kind of venerated as it identifies Ballesteros town all the more.

Heavy snack: Ballesteros' patupat and bibingka, with Lal-lo's tinupig, and Sanchez Mira's nalingta a saba, and that obligatory glassfuls of ice-cold soda!

Yeah, patupat is invented in Ballesteros, a miniature cake of a rice unique for its "cute" packaging of banana leaves, cute as in petite and in its alluring triangular shape intentionally formed bite size to tease more the palate and of course for you to crave more of this mini-sumans, sweetened and cooked in coconut milk then intricately wrapped in banana leaves and then steamed. It's really a gastronomic seduction that you'll sweetly indulge and give in into.

See? Ballesteros Patupat rocks and roll! \m/ Come to where the real patupat is, come to Ballesteros, Cagayan!

Well, yeah, I'm not a so-called "native" Cagayano although of course I can proudly identify myself still a Cagayano because I was born and raised in this valley, in this region, Cagayan Valley where my home province Nueva Vizcaya belong (pre-Hispanic times, the entire valley is actually one vast territory of the original inhabitants, fierce warriors and sultry maidens). But imagine my shock and confusion when I first visited Ballesteros and was introduced to the so-called patupat. I beg to disagree, I pathetically protested then, that's not fucking patupat ever, that's goddamned suman! And they laughed at me, these jolly and merry Ballesteros folks and countered: What suman? And they meticulously described to me what their suman is, which only scandalized me, because what they insist as suman is nothing but our inkiwar in Vizcaya! After some happy word bickering, I rested my case and submitted myself to their patupat especially when I consumed scores of this morsel of a rice cake, satisfied and delighted, having proven that they're not just exaggerating their lavish adjectives heaped on their pride of a snack. So much so for discussions on word meaning, wordage, usage, terminologies, synonyms and other linguistic concerns that usually affect places or towns. I just noted to self that someday I'll show them what a real patupat is!

And I got my sweet revenge when fresh from a short vacation in Nueva Vizcaya, I served on the table the patupat I bought in Bambang:
Patupat of Solano, Nueva Vizcaya.
(Photo by Raymund Catindig)
[click on photo for a larger view]
With vehemence and apparent confusion, they'd just stared at what I humbly presented as our patupat. What the hell is that? Is that even edible? they peppered me with ignorant, errr, innocent queries, and I have my last laugh while I grabbed a knife and cut into half the sticky woven coconut leaves-wrapped thing and brought out the delicious glutinous rice goody inside cooked in molasses, dipped in molten sugarcane juice. This is our patupat, I persisted and have them taste it, and they nodded approval when I asked them how sweet and palatable it is. Well, our patupat in Vizcaya is actually the sinambong of Ilocos region. Called patupat in Isabela, and in La Union, in Pangasinan all the way to Tarlac.

I was relieved in that at least I've proven that there's really other patupat besides the conviction and belief that only Ballesteros has it and that theirs is the best. Well, yeah, no argument here, because I learned to love this patupat and even equally got proud of it, having adapted myself as i-Ballesteros by affinity, this authentic Ilokano delicacy. Here let the photographs speak for themselves to tease your palate and craving (click on the photos to enjoy larger viewing):

More sinambong/patupat photos:

(Photo by Biag Diay Farm)

(Photo by Biag Diay Farm)

(Photo from Out of Town)



  1. Used to eat patupat a lot when i was living in Dagupan... sarap nyan kaso hirap kainin... ang lagkit hehehe.

  2. napakasarap. lalo na yong sinambong. kailan kaya ako makakain uli nito.

  3. I've been searching for a recipe for this patupat. I grew up in Ilocos sur close to Vigan and I remember eating a lot of patupat. I would like to try to make it for thanksgiving dinner. Brings a lot of good memories!

  4. Oh I love all the Ilocanos desserts, esp. the Patupat. Anytime I come to visit our relatives, esp. in Hawaii. They always make patupat for me because they knew it is my favorite (and even make some for me to bring home to Canada). I knew I can make it but have no time and no patience wrapping these in banana leaves. Back we always make these for all the celebrations we had.