By Queenie Rose A. Donaire*
Way back in high school in Barbaza National High School, students were made to decide what electives to take when they reach 3rd year. So I took up entrepreneurship. The best part was when we were given 100 pesos to make products and sell them in our school canteen. By the end of the school year, we should return the capital to our teacher whether we earned a profit or not. My group chose to make bandi niyog because it’s a low cost product and almost all of the group members knew how to make bandi except myself.
Actually, it’s because of that high school project that I learned how to make bandi. Although it was not a formal business, we were very happy when one of our group members told us that the friends of her mother in Hongkong wanted to order bandi from us. And that was our first “export” of bandi. So her mother paid us in advance and we used it to buy ingredients. We made more or less 200 bandi. Since we wanted to make a good impression on our customer, we made sure everything was perfect—from choosing the ingredients to cooking them, to forming the bandi and then packing them. And it all started there. My friends and I began talking about putting up a bandi business after we graduate from college. Who knows, we might end up “exporting” them again abroad.
Bandi niyog is a delicious candy, a native one. It is made of coconut and brown sugar called muscovado. It’s a delicacy of the Antiqueños. It served as a dessert and even as a viand to some. Bandi niyog may look rather ordinary, perhaps not as enticing as the bandi mani of the Ilonggos. To tell you, making a perfect bandi niyog is one tough job. It needs care in choosing the perfect coconut and sugar. It also needs proper quantification of ingredients and accurate timing.
To Ilonggos, when you say bandi they would automatically think of one thing because there’s just one bandi to them: the bandi made of peanuts. Actually, this kind of bandi is specifically called bandi mani in Antique. Not knowing that bandi niyog and the bukayo of the Ilonggos are just the same, I argued with my teacher that the two are different. I kept on insisting on this until one day I went to SM. I was lining up at the grocery counter when I saw a woman holding a wrapped bandi. I was amazed that they were selling bandi in SM and so I tried to look at the label to know if it really was from Antique. And to my surprise it was named bukayo and it was made in Iloilo. Then I thought, there’s nothing to argue at all. Our bandi (niyog) and the bukayo of the Ilonggos are just the same.
If we, Antiqueños, have our bandi niyog the Ilonggos too have bandi but it goes by another name-bukayo. For us, however, bukayo is another thing. Bukayo is also a sweet candy made of coconuts. The coconut in the bukayo of the Ilonggos is shredded and it is round and flat while in our bukayo, the coconut is grated and it is shaped into small balls.
Apparently, bandi niyog and bukayo are not popular because they don’t circulate in the market. People make bukayo or bandi for their own consumption though there are very few who make a living out of selling them. They’re already part of the Antiqueño tradition. Usually our lolos and lolas were the ones fond of cooking native foods like bandi and bukayo. The recipes are then passed on to the younger ones. An example is my grandmother. She would usually say, “Agto dya kag lantawa ako magraha para makamaan kaw.” (Come and watch me so that you will know how to cook this.)
My lovely cousin eating bukayo
Now, I will share to you how to make delicious BANDI NIYOG.
Here are the ingredients:
1. Shredded coconut
(Tip: Choose the durolsihon type of coconut. This coconut is between the butong and the lahin in maturity scale.)
3. Buko Juice (You may also use water in substitute of buko juice.)
4. Vanilla (optional)
You also need the following:
1. Frying pan
2. Luwag or ladle
3. Coconut shell (will serve as your measuring cup)
4. 2 Forks
5. Clean kararaw (winnower) or any clean flat surface
1. Measure the shredded coconut and the sugar using the coconut shell. Put the same amount of coconut and sugar in the frying pan. (i.e. 3 coconut shells of sugar, 3 coconut shells of shredded coconut)
2. Add small amount of buko juice (i.e. Using example in procedure no. 1, you will need only half coconut shell of buko juice.)
3. Heat and stir until the coconut has absorbed the melted sugar or when the sugar is sticky.
(Tip: To test the stickiness of the sugar, try to get a spoon and dip it in the syrup. Try to stick a small amount of the syrup in the spoon and then dip it in a glass of water. If it does not spread out, then it’s almost cooked.)
4. While waiting for it to cook, sprinkle water on your kararaw or in the clean flat surface.
5. Remove the pan from the heat. Using the 2 forks, get a small quantity (the size of the bandi you want to make depends on you). And then put it on the flat surface.
6. Using the forks, form it into round shapes while it is still wet.
7. Leave to dry.
There you go! Your dessert, snack, or even your viand!
By the way, if you want to try, you can go visit my town Barbaza in Antique on a market day or better yet order from me.
I’m Queenie Rose A. Donaire. I’m 18 years old. I’m a 2nd year BSBA-Marketing student at the UPV, city campus. I love food that’s why I’m fond of cooking. When on break from school, I would usually raid our ref in my home in Antique. I’ll find anything I could use for my food experiments.
You can contact me through my phone +639082146246 or by e-mail email@example.com.