When I was a kid, I had a fierce love for bibingka. My Mother used to take me to church a lot during the Christmas season, and the sellers of bibingka and puto bumbong would be lined up outside all day long. The smell wafting through the church doors was irresistible, and it would not be a rare sight for me to tug at my Mother’s skirt to signal that I wanted some bibingka. As a child, I knew Christmas was around the corner when a bazillion bibingka and puto-bumbong sellers suddenly pop up out of nowhere and line our usually empty school sidewalks.
I remember the times when my Mother would occasionally take me to church after school, back when I was a little girl. Around Christmas season, there would be these stalls on the churchyard selling the lovely yellow bibingka and the purple puto bumbong, these Filipino pastries that were baked using traditional bamboo and ceramic cooking tools, and banana leaves. I used to think that this was the only right way for these Christmas staples to be made. They were the very measure of authenticity for bibingkas and puto bumbongs. These days however, we’ve got a slew of commercialised bibingka stalls in the malls, plus instant box-mixes I’ve always been hesitant…