In the Philippines, you can feel the yuletide season as early as September, when everyone starts playing Christmas songs and puts on decorations. Synonymous with this celebration is the increased popularity of bibingka and puto bumbong, usually sold outside churches after simbang gabi. Fortunately, if you crave for these Filipino delicacies in the middle of the year, you can drop off at the Tayuman Station of LRT 1 where Felymar’s Special Bibingka is located.
The place is hot and humid, thanks to all the burning charcoals used in cooking. I am amazed while watching the cooks do their thing, cracking and beating eggs with one hand in lightning-speed while doing an entirely different procedure with the other. The foods are cooked on the spot with all of your preferences so you need to wait for a couple of minutes. This causes the long queues outside the store but when the warm kakanins covered in old newspapers (for take out) or served with banana leaf (dine in) are handed to you, the wait forgotten.
Most of the customers prefer to bring their food at home but I like eating it right away since it is better consumed while still warm. In the tables inside the store are grated coconut and white sugar. Free salabat is also served to complete the package but I am not fond of the drink.
Puto bumbong, according to WikiPilipinas,is a type of puto or rice cake named after the bamboo tube in which it is steamed (bumbong). It is unusual among puto, being sticky, having a long thin shape, and purple color. The elongated shape results from the method of cooking while its color comes from the violet pirurutong rice where it is made of. It was chewy and warm and delicious and I could put as many sugar and grated coconut as I pleased.
Felymar serves a couple of varieties of bibingka, there’s ham and cheese, bacon and cheese and hotdog and cheese but I always settle for plain old special bibingka. Something sweet (sugar, rice flour and coconut milk) plus something salty (cheese and salted egg) is always a good combination. This never fails to remind me of Christmas and all the wonderful things related to it.