Photo by: Hexilon Palattao

By Hexilon Palattao

As a seasoned native cake maker, Merlyn Baggao is proud to share that her Binallay and Inatata have reached abroad as exported goods to other countries worldwide.

“We export our products to Italy, USA, Saudi Arabia, New York, and Canada,” she says.

Her friends and relatives abroad promote her native cake-making business.

She is also delighted to mention that celebrities Aga Muhlach and Erwan Heusaff had visited and interviewed her about the delicacies.

“We were able to meet Aga Muhlach and the husband of Anne Curtis (Erwan Heusaff) where we discussed to them how we make our products,” she says.

“We are surprised they have noticed us since our only way of promotion is word-by-mouth,” she adds.

Moreover, her favorite season of the year is December and Holy Week as this is where they collect several orders.

“We have many orders during the month of December because that is the festival season here in Ilagan. Same is true during Holy Week. Actually, we are excited this coming month as we are expecting orders to rise up,” she shares.

Unfortunately, just like any businesses that were heavily affected due to pandemic, this had caused them an initial downfall in the income as no customers were ordering to them during the first few months of the global virus.

“Pandemic is a massive downfall in our business, no one calls to order,” she says.

Ma’am Merlyn started this business being a helper of her mother-in-law in 1982 when she met her husband. Over 30 years after in 2016, she decided to adopt the process of making Binallay and Inatata, other regions known as Dendelot and Bico, and continue its production on her own.

She with her cousins, as her colleagues in the business, start work at six-o-clock in the morning by going to the public market for the grinding of the sticky rice along with the coconut until milk is fully squeezed. At home, they cook all the ingredients such as the ground sticky rice, boiled coconut, coconut milk, sugar, and salt, sauted one at a time. #