Butuan City delicacies: palagsing and decades-old hotcakes
She suggested a few places but the one thing that got my fancy was when she mentioned that I must try the hotcakes at Langihan. It is said to be an institution in these parts, and one that Butuanons know by heart.
I then included this in my travel itinerary that took me across the beautiful provinces in Eastern Mindanao. I was supposed to head somewhere else, but I decided to spend the long weekend instead at my best budd’s place in Surigao del Sur.
Since Louis was still en route to Cagayan de Oro when I arrived at the port of Nasipit, I looked for the hotcake place on my own. After asking for directions from the helpful locals, I finally found the unassuming stall at the Langihan public market.
I actually expected a few hotcake stalls that morning. Mrs. Carissa Tolo or Nang Isang would later tell me that there used to be five of them back in 1984. Her fellow hotcake vendors have since left Butuan, but she chose to stay in the city. She has been flipping these beloved pancakes ever since.
Through her quiet determination and perseverance, the business has been literally selling like hotcakes. She was able to send her children through college as a result.
Nang Isang then flashed me a smile as she flipped open the cast iron griddle that held a golden hotcake. She applied a generous slather of margarine on each piece and dabbed them on a plastic bowl filled with sugar afterwards. Although they are not as pillowy as I prefer them to be, each was still hearty enough to last me until lunch.
“You should serve sikwate or coffee here,” I suggested to Nang Isang. She seemed to like the idea and even asked me if I’d be back the following morning. I politely begged off and said that I’ll be headed to Lingig by that time.
I also bought a pack of palagsing from a nearby sidewalk vendor. These Butuan delicacy is composed of brown sugar, coconut and unaw or sago extracted from a kind of palm tree that grows abundantly in the area.
The palagsing looks like suman from the Visayas, but it has a gelatinous consistency and strips of coconut meat for texture. The taste for it is probably acquired as I almost was not able to finish one. I stashed the remaining pieces inside my backpack, quickly thanked Nang Isang for the delicious hotcakes and proceeded to my next stop in the city.