Mandaue’s Nanay Salbing continues tradition of cooking bibingka in clay pots
MANDAUE CITY, Cebu – When was the last time that you tasted bibingka (rice cake)?
If you plan to buy one, always look for “Bibingka sa Mandaue.”
Many say that the best bibingka makers in Cebu are found in Mandaue City.
And one of them is Salvacion “Nanay Salbing” Soco, 66. Nanay Salbing of Barangay Tabok has been preparing tasty rice cakes for 40 years now.
Customers would always look for her to make bulk orders for special occasions including Christmas celebrations and pasalubong or for retail.
Nanay Salbing continues to prepare her bibinga in a clay pot. And her ingridients are prepared the traditional way.
Bibingka ingridents include rice flour, coconut milk, grated coconut, sugar, and yeast.
Cooking in an ‘urnohan’
Nanay Salbing said she makes sure that all of the ingredients are already available the night before.
When she wakes up early in the morning the next day, she would then soak rice in water for at least an hour. The rice is then crushed using a mortar and pestle.
She would then filter the flour to make sure that it is very refined and powdery.
Flour is then mixed with coconut milk, sugar, and yeast. The mixture is left for at least an hour and while Nanay Salbing prepares her clay pots.
Nanay Salbing said bibingka is best prepared on a clay pot.
When everything is ready, she then places a banana leaf on the clay pot before she adds a cup of her mixture and some grated coconut. Hot charcoal is placed at the top and bottom of the pot to cook.
And after a few minutes, Nanay Salbing’s yummy bibingka is ready to serve.
Nanay Salbing sells her bibingka in packs of three for P130. She also sells budbud pilit, budbud kabog, tagaktak, bibingka kabog, and puto maya.
Growing her business
When she started her business about 40 years ago, Nanay Salbing said, she would only need three kilos of rice flour per day. She would then travel to the Carbon Public Market in Cebu City to sell her bibingka to vendors and shoppers in the area.
“Libod-libod, sugat-sugat lang ko sa mga tawo sauna karun nga daghan nako suki, wala na gyud ko kalibod karun kay order-order na man, dili naman gale ko ka ato kay daghan na,” she said.
As years passed, she started to also receive orders. She now uses at least eight kilos of rice flour per day and earns around P4, 000.
Nanay Salbing said that since she now accommodate orders, she already ceased from visiting Carbon Market to sell her kakanins.
She also wanted to focus on accepting orders to recover from her losses during the pandemic.
When quarantine restrictions were still in place, Nanay Salbing said, she had to stop from accepting orders. She and members of her family survived the pandemic by selling puto maya to neighbors.
It was just recently that she again started to accept orders for her famous bibingka and other kakanins.
And with the holiday season just around the corner, Nanay Salbing said, she looks forward to increasing her daily produce because she would normally get bulk orders during this time of the year.
Unlike in the last two years, she expressed confidence that more people will be going to churches to hear dawn Masses this year. And this means more people buying her bibingka and other kakanins after hearing Mass.
Nanay Salbing said she distributes her products to vendors who sell near major churches in Mandaue City.
Selling bibingka and other kakains is something that she intends to continue for as long as she can with the help of her five children.
“Dako kaayo og tabang oy. Hinuon wala ko ka paeskwela nila og college, highschool ra pero kaning duha nigraduate sa UV. Usa sa Consolacion. Tungod lang ani’ng pagmapaligya og budbud ug bingka. Kay akoang bana sayo man namatay,” she said.
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