Piling-pili from Bicol

Bicol Pili Sweets

Got pili sweets from my sis-in-law and a wonderful friend, Pinky Losantas-Co, who has always brought home a slice of Bicol from her travels to her home province. Pili (like abaca and coconut) is native to Bicol.

In the realm of Filipino food, the Bicol region has contributed quite a hefty chunk to variety and character, and versatility of local produce. Take, for instance, coconut and chili. I’ve always wanted to go to Bicol for a food adventure, but never had the chance.

Pili Sweets from Bicol

Prized for its nutty and buttery flavor, pili makes good sweet treats. In recent years, we’ve seen pili not only in mazapan, but also in yema, polvoron, baked goodies (like tarts, pies, cookies and chewy squares) and even in mooncakes. The original glazed pili has evolved with more variants like sea salted plain roasted, chili-flavored, honey-glazed, and more.

Mazapan de PiliMy favorite mazapan (marzipan). Also love the tiny molido kind.http://tradewindsbicol.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/1.jpg

Did you know that the pili tree (Canarium ovatum) is a sustainable, low-maintenance and stress-resistant tree? Pili is indigenous in the Bicol region where active volcanoes and rainfall abound. The more the pili tree is shaken and beaten by storms, the more it blooms and bears better fruit, according to the Department of Trade and Industry-Bicol Tradewinds (here).

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De-shelling pili nuts are done manually through a process called pagtilad, providing paratilad experts with sustainable livelihood.

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Photos of pili nuts (last 3) courtesy of DTI-5 Trade Winds Bicol
Photos of pili sweets by BlauEarth

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