American Travelers: "Filipino Street Bakeries Should Not Be Overlooked"
Rafael Reynante | Jun 29, 2016
For many Filipinos since time immemorial, our go-to comfort food was rice: whether it be freshly steamed with salt or pandan, or fried in some oil and garlic, and served with egg and longganisa, our love affair with rice was universal in the country. However, when we were conquered by the Spaniards hundreds of years ago, our choices broadened to include other food options, including the only other type of food capable of rivaling our affair with rice: bread.
Bread, for a lot of Filipinos, functions in the same way as rice: it has the same capacity to fill you up, especially if partnered with meat, and its versatility is as limited as your imagination. The many complex uses of bread have made it a staple in the day-to-day lives of countless Filipinos over the ages, and have led to bakeries popping up on every street corner, some of them even fiercely competing with each other.
Our fascination with bread is so well-documented and universal, that even for an American family like the Shreeves, they can easily see how much we love our daily dose of carbohydrates.
According to the duo that comprise The Unlikely Travelers, “Street bakeries should NOT be overlooked while traveling in the Philippines. We waited out the rain under the protection of a street bakery awning. We enjoyed some [pan de coco] and [S]panish bread.” The bakery itself was in Intramuros, Manila, a truly historic place, that rightly serves historic (and of course, delicious) bread.
And with that simple picture, the Shreeves were able to showcase to the world how much the Filipino loved its bread, as well as showing the traits that differentiated us from the rest of the planet. First, that Filipinos are inherently compassionate, even to strangers, offering them food and shelter. Second, that Filipinos are inherently creative, able to create something foreign and “Filipinize” it. And lastly, that wherever you go in the Philippines, Filipino food is tasty and delicious!
The Unlikely Travelers have also featured other noteworthy places in the Philippines with their three children. And compared to other travel bloggers, they show the humanity and compassion of the people in the places they go to, especially when it comes to the Filipinos interacting with their very young children. Other places they’ve gone to are Baclaran, Bataan, and Taal, just to name a few.
So, the next time you grab a bag of freshly baked pan de sal, pan de coco, or Spanish bread, remember the heart and history that went into every delicious piece of bread you eat.
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