Mindanao—the second largest island in, down south of the republic…very far yet so close to my heart. For most of the urbanites, it is a place that most should avoid because of adjectives associated with it: war-torn, poverty-stricken and home of the “terrorists.” Indeed, the notion of the island has evaded so many people to visit this great island in the south. However, in my own perspective, we have to take a second look onto this island. Mindanao has so much to offer, so much to see, so much to experience yet so neglected and feared by many.
Mindanao was (and for some, still is) “The Wild West” of the Philippines, as what they said–a tapestry of stories of three seemingly opposite cultures, vastly still unexplored and full of potential.
On December 15-16, Tropical Storm “Sendong/Washi” gave Mindanao its first major typhoon in decades. The island and its residents were not used to such phenomena that usually devastates parts of Luzon and the Visayas. Sendong was one of a kind this year, and it has devastated lives in the cities of Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, the Province of Compostela Valley and other provinces. Iligan was caught by a surprise as flood and muck rushed towards the city, 200 missing and 100+ dead so far. In Cagayan de Oro, 20,000 families were affected–this major city in Northern Mindanao has tasted the worse flooding in its recent history.
I grew up in Greater Manila for most of my childhood life. Eat, sleep, talk and think as a city boy. Although I frequently visit the provinces because my parents are provincianos and my dad has a lot of out-of-town projects, which is a nature of his work. However, when I stepped into college, have chosen myself as Ilonggo and hometown at Iloilo, it was the time that I was reintroduced and reoriented with my parent’s birthplace…the “Land of Promise” down south, Mindanao. The fascination and the sojourns have changed my life forever.
Ask anyone in my folks in the office who likes to have a taste of manna from CDO (short for Cagayan De Oro City) or the pride of Camiguin, and everyone agrees it’s the “pastel”. Nope, that’s not one kind of crayons you use when you’re still elementary, and it’s not about the color. It’s a delicacy from heaven.
Pastel, is a sweet delicacy from Camiguin Island, known for paradise in Northern Mindanao. These are soft, fragrant and sweet buns filled with the original yema (made mostly of milk, eggs and sugar) or any other flavors that gives this delicacy that makes the food melts in your mouth.
Boxes of 6 are sold at stores in Camiguin towns or at the shopping centers of Cagayan de Oro for about P50 and Boxes for 12 at around P120. It’s a hit pasalubong for anyone craving for sweets and anything Camiguin or CdeO (of course don’t forget the lanzones and the pineapple).