Roadside bakery in Aloguinsan serves Pan Bisaya, Salvaro
A makeshift oven made of wood, galvanized iron sheet, and rebar — heated by burning dried coconut husks — churns out bread by the dozen along a roadside in Cebu’s midwestern town of Aloguinsan.
The roadside stall sells two kinds of bread, pan bisaya and salvaro, of a recipe handed down through generations of the Dayanan family. A loaf of each costs five pesos.
Anunciacion Dayanan, who will turn 75 in March, started selling bread made from recipes given to her by her husband’s sibling as a way to augment the family income in 1955. It is a painstaking process that involves four hours of kneading and getting the dough ready for baking.
Since only a few loaves can fit in the “hurno,” the oven of old that can be made from clay or wood and galvanized iron sheet, Anunciacion came up with the current roadside contraption that can bake around two dozen at the same time.
She said she stopped baking about five years ago and her children and a relative have taken over the roadside business. During her early baking days, Anunciacion said she handled everything — from getting the firewood to preparing the dough and baking it — and would wake up at 4 a.m.
Anunciacion’s salvaro is a far cry from the thin crackers that we’ve come to associate with the name. It is made of flour, grated coconut, kamay (sugar variety of a red color), and tuba (fermented coconut wine) as leavening agent. Tuba allows the bread to last longer and enhances the taste of this sought after snack in Aloguinsan.
Where salvaro is sweet, pan bisaya is slightly salty and great for spreads. Its ingredients include flour, egg, salt, cooking oil, and yeast.
Elena Dealagdon, a relative of Anunciacion, said kneading the dough takes place from 8:30 to 11:30 in the morning. Elena and Anunciacion’s daughter, Maribel Nengasca, were among those who took over the bread baking five years ago.
On an average day, their stall sells around 300 pieces of bread. Elena said the salvaro is a best seller so they bake much more of this than the pan bisaya. Of the 18 kilos of flour that produce 300 loaves of bread, around 14 kilos are set aside for the salvaro.
If there are bulk orders, Elena added, they could go through a sack of flour, which holds 25 kilos, in a day.
Anunciacion’s pan bisaya and salvaro are popular with the townspeople and they know the baking schedules and when best to buy the bread. Her stall is located at a small side street near the town church in Barangay Poblacion.
(This article is part of a project on Cebu tourism supported by Smart Communications, Inc., the wireless leader in the Philippines.)