I just sank my teeth into the marshmallowy softness of Balgoa’s ube-flavored Manapla puto and followed it up with a sip from Venice coffee straight from a vendo.
Not all puto are created alike, not even if they all call themselves Manapla. (Manapla is actually a town in the neighboring isle of Negros that became famous for its puto on a banana leaf base.)
Actually, i’m very careful about passing judgement on food items lest I commit a sin. (he,he). But this one, I’m really convinced about. I just love Balgoa’s Manapla puto. It’s the ultimate. Most puto–which also pass themselves off as Manapla–(I guess, as long as there’s the banana leaf cup, it’s called Manapla) are not as soft and tasty as Balgoa’s. Those sold in the public markets in Iloilo are generally coarse in texture and can sometimes be gummy.
Come to think of it, the ingredients of puto is an open secret. Its the right combination of quality ingredients and the technique of cooking that set Balgoa’s puto above the rest.
There are two varieties at Balgoa’s: 1) The traditional Manapla puto sitting on a banana leaf square and 2) the puto without the leaf. Molded in muffin cups, this puto has two flavors: natural and ube-flavored (that’s what i’m having this morning).
Balgo’s manapla puto is sold in this nondescript tiangge or sari-sari store in Jaro, Iloilo every morning. Striking a conversation with the owner one time, Mrs. Dolly Balgoa, I learned that: her father-in-law, who started this home-industry in Jaro back in 1960 was originally from Manapla, from a family of puto makers (talk about having the rightful claim to the name).