A Tradition of Good Taste
By Sally Villasis, RAC Representative, Aklan State University
and Jeffrey Gervacio, Information Services Specialist, FITS Altavas
Since 1914, the family of Evelyn Belarmino, Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) of Altavas, Aklan, has been engaged in the production of puto tostado, a delicacy made from finely chosen quality rice that undergoes a fine technology or quality control all happening in a simple household.
“This business has been going on since four generations ago,” said Evelyn who has been managing it for 33 years. The production of the delicacy has grown to become the major cottage industry of the town.
So popular is the Altavas puto tostado that it is one of the major products promoted by the Local Government Unit. It is one of products displayed during agro-industrial expos and provincial, regional and national exhibits and fairs. It is also sold in a tourist center in Altavas which is visited by local and foreign tourists.
Puto Tostado is made from finely chosen quality rice grains that are soaked in water overnight. The following day, the soaked rice grains are drained and pounded into rice starch in a wooden mortar and pestle.
The rice starch is sifted in coarse sinamay (fiber from banana stalk) then with a finer one. Then it is evenly mixed with muscovado or refined brown sugar. The mixture is molded and placed upside down in a clay-pot steamer fully wrapped in cheese cloth.
After being steamed, the cooked mixture is toasted in an improvised can oven over charcoal. Once it is cooked, it is allowed to cool and stored in a tightly sealed plastic.
Puto tostado is an innovation of a regular rice cake that originally had a one-day shelf life. With the improvement, its shelf life has been extended to two months.
A single production costs P162.00, which turns out 17 packs with 50 pieces of puto tostado each. It is sold at P30.00 per pack that gives 68.23 % return on investment per production.
MS Belarmino confides that through the income from the business, they were able to send their five children to school, who are now professionals.
MS Belarmino said she learned much about the business at a young age, and said, "I would like my children to continue the tradition."