Practically any Filipino you ask will have some recollection of a favorite childhood snack from their local bakery. Simple and unassuming, these breads remain to be a guilty pleasure for many.
As an homage to the little neighborhood bakeshops we had growing up, we revisit those sweet and tasty childhood treats.
Photographs by yours truly. Words by Tony Battung.
Those of you more familiar with this may remember feeling at least a little disappointed upon discovering that, despite its bright cotton candy appearance, it’s simply a pretty take on classic tasty bread.
Our local version of the well-loved donut. Soft and tasty, sprinkled with generous amounts of white sugar.
Another variation of the same popular snack, sometimes also known as the Chinese Donut.
A bakery staple, the pan de coco is a soft bun filled with dried and sweetened grated coconut.
Rolled out onto a sheet, brushed with melted margarine, sprinkled with sugar, and twisted into a log — spanish bread is another bakeshop mainstay.
Also known as putoputo, our small and yellow local muffin, is fondly called the kababayan (countryman). Our best guess is that this is due to its shape which is reminiscent of the common native straw hat.
You’ll find pies of all sorts filled with all kinds of sweets in your neighborhood panaderia. Some other common variations are coconut and ube (purple yam).
The monay is a simple bread roll, traditionally made with a split down its center. This version in particular seems to be a hybrid of that with the pinagong, a less common and more quirky panaderia treat.
The pinagong (pagong, the Filipino word for turtle) is made to have a flat bottom and a curved top marked with ridges to look like a turtle’s shell.
Also known as putok (explosion), this bread gets both its aliases from the shape formed on its top upon baking. These buns are similar to the monay, but smaller and more dense.
What seems like a hybrid of star bread and torta, a flower shaped and buttery muffin-like bread — every now and then, you get a wildcard like this one. Its ambiguity, a result of nipping and tucking (and mixing and matching) through the years.
Finally, a classic Filipino dessert, the ensaymada. A soft and fluffy roll of bread smeared with butter and topped with — you guessed it, more sugar. Bonus: sometimes it also comes topped with grated cheese.