It’s downtime after a few hours of extreme activities from PUGO Adventure in La Union. Indeed everyone seemed to have fun on that stop as our bus was a lot quieter this time with people snatching some sleep as we head to Pangasinan. Our next stop was the Patupat factory in Pozorrubio. Patupat is a native sticky rice Pangasinan Ilocano delicacy. It’s much like the other glutinous rice made as snacks or desserts like suman and tupig but on a different form and preparation.
Our bus pulled on the roadside along an open field. The ground I was stepping on my way to the factory was soft due to the rains. There were piles of sugarcane on the fields around the large open hut factory with galvanized iron sheets as roofing. It was interesting as everything they need was under the roof from giant boilers to sugar cane juice extracting machines.
The first part in making a Patupat was weaving the basket or container which is also a tedious task. The Banana or Palm leaves are cut into even widths to make sure that when woven, the basket would be able to hold the uncooked rice. A master weaver can also create a more intricate basket designs for these.
Once the baskets are ready, they pour in the rice at the basket’s small opening then they tie up the baskets and boiled in a large cauldron with a concoction of sugarcane juice and coconut milk for at least 30 minutes.
In this process the aroma of the leaves mix up with the rice and other concoctions rendering its flavour. It’s also worth noting that the used up sugarcanes are used as firewood to heat up the cauldrons.
The patupat then are tied and hanged to drip after boiling and soon ready to be eaten. It can be served cold or hot and is good for at most 3 days. But the process doesn’t end there. The boiled sugarcane juice are placed on a “sursur” or cut coconut shells which when dried up are turned into what we call Panutsa. As I observed, there is very little waste in the process.
We took a couple of panutsa after this and looked at the finish product. I’m looking at it differently this time appreciating the carefully woven basket and then peeling them away to get into that sweet sticky rice. If I found myself in Pangasinan again, I’ll sure be picking up one or two as a treat
*thanks to reader Vic Romero for some corrections on patupat being an Ilocano delicacy not native to Pangasinan
Join our Backpack Photography Workshop, Photography 101 at Banaue at March 4-5, 2011 and Island Hopping Photo Tour in Batanes on April 17-23, 2011.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.