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Lorzano’s Bakery: More Than a Paborita Story

I do not know what the humble paborita – a local biscuit – could ever have done to deserve its stereotypical association with the funeral wake; or, as we say in Tagalog, the burol. I suppose the biscuit’s relative inexpensiveness has a lot to do with this.

Then, of course, what self-respecting panaderia – or bakery – will set up shop and dare not have the paborita on the shelves? The paborita, therefore, is readily available everywhere. Finally, there is this little matter of the paborita seemingly being a perfect mate for the barakong kape, which those who stay overnight in wakes rather tend to ask countless cups of.

I was, therefore, hesitant when a former colleague asked for a feature on the paborita that the Lorzano Bakery in Lipa City makes. She was insistent that it was well worth trying and well worth writing about as well. Who, or at least I thought to myself, would want to read anything about the paborita?

I did ask a cousin who lives in Dizon Village just outside Fernando Air Base in Lipa City all about the allegedly famous paborita. Yes indeed, my cousin agreed; in fact, she used to bring the paborita as presents for my uncle’s doctors when she used to go visit him in Manila.

As things would have it, on a whim, I decided to pay my cousin’s mother – and, therefore, my aunt – this morning. Because Lorzano’s bakery just happens to be a convenient stone’s throw from my aunt’s house, I thought I would see what the big fuss was all about.

How much, I asked the sales assistant at the bakery. 7 pesos each small plastic pack, he told me. Interesting. Even the humble paborita had not been forgotten by inflation.

Would you have packaged paboritas to give away as gifts? Yes, the sales assistant said. They cost 6-50. Why was I surprised when he brought out this huge brown box and placed it on the counter in front of me?

Oh... He meant 650 pesos. And I was thinking of cute little paboritas in colourful little plastic pouches... Since I had no intention of dying just yet, I told him I would instead order 10 of those small packs that sold for 7 pesos.

I also bought a few bars of the ube bread that I used to ask Mom to buy for me everytime she went to the market when I was young. The ones I used to love were plainly coated with white sugar. Lorzano’s version had tiny white flakes that looked like ground coconut.

What are those? “Dessicated...” the sales assistant began. Like I thought; dessicated coconut. I was not sure that I would like the bakery’s ube bread – for the same reason that I do not eat really like macaroons – but I thought I would at least give it a try.

And what are those? I pointed at round pink thingeys that I thought were flat puto secos. Crinkles, the sales assistant replied. Silly me... Why in the world would I think that they were puto secos?

I did not get to taste everything until I got home. True enough, the paborita was well worth the fuss. A shade sweeter than most bakeries’ paborita; but the added sweetness was done subtly and, therefore, perfectly. It was also not only softer to the bite eaten by itself; it was also perfect for dunking in a mug of juice, coffee or just plain water.

The ube bread, as I suspected, my palate did not quite fully agree with. That said, I thought that it tasted interesting. A bit bland, perhaps; and could have used a bit more sugar. However, I can understand if other people think that it is perfect the way it is. I just have an aversion for dessicated coconut and prefer my ube bread coated with sugar.

The surprise of the day, however, was the crinkles. I asked for just ten pieces; but subsequently wished that I had ordered more. Each crinkle was light, sweet and creamy. The creaminess, in particular, was delightful to the palate. Each crinkle that I put into my mouth simply made me want to reach out for the next. These were by far probably the best crinkles that I have ever eaten.

For anyone interested in paying Lorzano’s Bakery a visit, Dizon village is accessible via a narrow road right next to the Tambô Elementary School along the J.P. Laurel National Highway in Lipa City. The bakery itself is known to everyone inside the subdivision and should not be difficult to find.