Buko pie and fresh coconut water along the road in Laguna

casaveneracion.com Rocking chairs and hammocks for sale

It is often the case that Holy Week is the hottest part of Philippine summers. So hot that it is best to keep a jug of iced water when traveling by road. This year was no exception. On Good Friday, after shooting everything that could be photographed in Pangil, Pakil, Paete and Siniloan, we stopped at Mabitac on our way back to Antipolo. The primary reason was to buy a broom. Along the highway were stalls of native products and we stopped where there were the most number of stalls. You know, so we could compare prices and haggle. You won’t miss the spot if you find yourself in Mabitac. In Barangay Paagahan, there is a row of stalls selling rocking chairs, hammocks…

casaveneracion.com Fans made with woven dried coconut fronds

Baskets, fans and, yes, brooms. Of course.

We looked, we inquired, we took photos. Speedy bought a broom and we were about to get back into the pick-up when we decided to check out what was across the street. There were the usual sweets but I wasn’t particularly interested. But when I saw the glasses of coconut water which I just knew would have shredded coconut meat, I was magnetized.

casaveneracion.com Buko pie and fresh coconut water along the road in Laguna

Short of drinking the coconut water directly off the husk, nothing could get fresher than this.

casaveneracion.com Buko pie and fresh coconut water along the road in Laguna

Coconut water and shredded meat…

casaveneracion.com Buko pie and fresh coconut water along the road in Laguna

From coconuts split and scraped on the site.

casaveneracion.com Buko pie and fresh coconut water along the road in Laguna

The perfect thing for a hot summer afternoon, I tell you. And I would have been content with that. We were still going to stop at Pililia for a late lunch at Bulawan Floating Restaurant and I could wait to satiate my hunger. I wanted a meal while comfortably sitting down.

But when Speedy paid for the coconut water at the store’s counter, he discovered newly baked buko pies.

casaveneracion.com Gwenn's buko pie at Barangay Paagahan in Mabitac, Laguna

Gwenn’s buko pies. The owner said they still have to reproduce the flaky crust of D’Original buko pie in Los Baños but they were proud of the filling which they make with real condensed milk and butter. We bought a box which we enjoyed at home later.

How was Gwenn’s buko pie? Okay, if you grew up with D’Original buko pie like I did, Gwenn’s buko pie is different. Not different in a bad way but just different. The custard is more firm, the coconut is more fleshy though soft (meaning, more mature coconut are used than what go into D’Original buko pies) and the crust is browner and thinner but not flaky. We liked it. I especially enjoyed the moderate sweetness and generous amount of coconut meat in the filling. If we pass by Mabitac again, we’ll drop by at Gwenn’s. And, next time, we buy not only the buko pie but the cassave cake as well.

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