Have you been to Butuan? Today, let’s feast our eyes on the Butuanons’ sweet delicacy – the Palagsing.
There’s a popular line for tourists in Butuan that goes, “You have never been to Butuan City if you have not tasted “Palagsing”. This local delicacy has some similarities to the suman and budbud in the Visayas. It is wrapped with leaves and goes well with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee. However, the “palagsing” has a deeper flavor compared to the “suman” and “budbod”. It is sweeter compared to these delicacies and has a gelatinous consistency with strips of coconut meat for texture.
The Butuanon delicacy consists of brown sugar, coconut, and the “unaw” as the main ingredient. Unaw is from “lumbia”, a palm tree (Metroxylon sagu) from the family Arecacea that commonly grows on marshlands that Mindanao is abundantly blessed with. The tree is of commercial importance as it is the main source of sago obtained from the trunk by washing the kernels and by pulverizing the pith of the stem. The starch is used worldwide for the production of pudding, noodles, bread, and serves as a thickener as well. In the Philippines, the rich starch obtained from the bark of Unaw palm has become the staple food among marshland dwellers particularly the indigenous people.
In Butuan City, “palagsing”-making is very popular and is mastered in Brgy. Banza, one of the oldest communities in the area. The mixture of unaw, young coconut, and brown sugar makes the “palagsing” moist and chewy. To achieve the soft consistency of the “palagsing”, it is delicately wrapped in banana leaves and boiled for 30 minutes.
Under Presidential Proclamation No. 469 on April 13, 2018, the whole month of April is declared as Filipino Food Month to highlight the importance of Filipino cuisine and how it helped create our Filipino identity. The celebration also hopes to bring people together and promote our rich Filipino heritage.