Binignit bliss: Fusing tradition and technology

PRE-ORDER. Joel Tanio, who operates a stall on Osmeña Blvd., Cebu City, sells binignit in tubs for pre-orders and in cups for walk-in customers on March 14, 2024. /
PRE-ORDER. Joel Tanio, who operates a stall on Osmeña Blvd., Cebu City, sells binignit in tubs for pre-orders and in cups for walk-in customers on March 14, 2024. / Jhanneca mondelo, BiPSU intern

ALONG Osmeña Blvd. in Cebu City stands a humble stall selling a traditional Filipino delicacy, binignit.

Joel Tanio, a long-serving binignit vendor and cook whose journey of selling this beloved dessert spans over seven years, shared in a March 14, 2024 interview the secrets behind his family’s thriving business, “Binignitan sa Fuente,” and their tireless commitment to preserving a culinary tradition.

According to Tanio, he and his family started their binignit-selling business long before the Covid-19 pandemic struck the Philippines.

“Hindi naman talaga trabaho yan, eh. Accidental lang to. Naga trabaho man mi sa una, kaso nag-close man aming company,” said Tanio, explaining their reason for starting the business.

(Originally, this was not our work. This was just accidental. We worked at a company, but unfortunately it closed down.)

Despite the challenges raised by the health crisis, they remained firm, continuing to offer warm bowls of binignit to their loyal patrons. Tanio recalls their daily routine, starting at dawn to prepare the ingredients cautiously, ensuring each batch is cooked to perfection.

“Mga five o’clock in the morning, marami kasi. I slice mo pa yung mga kamote, tsaka according sa kagahi-on niya-kung gahi ang kamote, so unahon mo usa kay kung isabay nimo, malata man,” he said.

(We start at 5 a.m. because there’s a lot to do, from slicing the kamote and other ingredients to boiling them all separately to avoid over softening some of the ingredients.)

For Tanio and his family, selling binignit is not just a business; it’s a labor of love.

Each ingredient, from the glutinous balls to the coconut milk, is carefully selected to maintain the authentic taste that their customers have come to love.

Their dedication to quality shines through in every steaming bowl they serve.

Going digital

Tanio’s family has also adapted to the digital age. They now accept pre-orders online, allowing customers to indulge in their favorite binignit easily. Tanio’s son manages these online orders, guaranteeing smooth transactions and well-timed deliveries, proof of their willingness to adapt to changing times while staying true to their roots.

Tanio and his family gear up for increased demand in the Holy Week, as they look forward to sharing their beloved dessert with even more customers.

In a world that’s continuously evolving, Tanio and his family stand as keepers of tradition, preserving the rich heritage of Filipino cuisine one bowl of binignit at a time.

Through their steadfast commitment and resilience, they continue to inspire and delight both locals and tourists alike, proving that some flavors are indeed timeless.

Work from home

Aside from Tanio, Maria Lou also sells binignit in Cebu.

But unlike Tanio, Maria Lou does not sell her binignit regularly. She works from home with her family. Her mother talked to SunStar Cebu about the complex process of cooking binignit.

She carefully selects the quality ingredients: yam, tapioca pearls, palm flour jelly balls, sticky rice, coconut milk and sugar.

Each ingredient plays a vital role in achieving the perfect balance of flavors and textures that define this dessert.

From boiling water to softening solid ingredients and gently cooking the mixture to a desired texture, cooking binignit is a difficult yet fulfilling venture for Maria Lou and her mother.

As she patiently waits for it to cook for an hour, her mother infuses each batch with passion, ensuring that every scoop captivates the taste buds.

Despite the difficulty of making binignit, Maria Lou’s mother makes sure that her delicacy is accessible to all.

Priced at a modest P20 per scoop, her binignit ensures affordability, catering to the masses and allowing everyone to indulge in this flavorful treat.

With mobile platforms such as Facebook dominating the information and entertainment scene, Maria Lou, who manages orders online, embraces technology to reach a larger audience.

While she primarily operates her binignit business online, they ensure that its essence remains, filling each order with the same love and care as if it were served in person.

In Maria Lou and her mother’s story of how they prepare and sell their binignit, we find an amazing fusion of tradition and modernity, proof of the resilience of Filipino culture.

Through their willingness to preserve culinary heritage while adapting to modern demands, she does not only sell binignit but also shares a piece of her identity as a Filipino with the masses.

As customers taste each spoonful of her tasty dessert, they embark on a journey that transcends time, connecting them to the rich tapestry of Filipino flavors. / JAY ADOBO, BiPSU Intern


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