Saturday, June 15, 2024

175-Meter-Long ‘Yema’ Cake Satisfies Quezon Folk’s Sweet Tooth


175-Meter-Long ‘Yema’ Cake Satisfies Quezon Folk’s Sweet Tooth


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A tradition that began as thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest now helps support the local confectionery industry while also attracting tourists to this city.

Tayabasins, the native population here, celebrated their annual “Mayohan” Festival on Wednesday in a unique way this year – by gobbling up a mammoth 175-meter-long “yema” (custard caramel) cake that was laid out on interconnected tables along a decked-out city street.

The locals and visitors alike have been celebrating the Mayohan (from the word ‘Mayo’, the Filipino word for the month of May) since the 1980s but it is only the first time they partook of the longest serving of yema cake.

For this reason, this year’s festival was tagged “Yemayohan 2024.”


Favorite ‘pasalubong’

A total of 1,700 people consumed the colossal treat that was actually made up of 1,400 smaller cakes placed side-by-side.

In an interview, Mayor Lovely Reynoso-Pontioso gave much of the credit to the proprietors of Monica and Jett Bakeshop, makers of the nationally-famous Rodillas Yema Cake, who volunteered to take on the gargantuan task of baking a cake that is almost twice as long as a football field.

“We are glad that the Rodillas volunteered this year. Their yema cake is now famous and we are glad that our people got to eat the locally made cake and some even took home some portions of it,” she told reporters and bloggers covering the event.

Monica and Jett Bakeshop is owned by Juliet and Vincent Rodillas, a Tayabas couple whose business now also has branches in Makati, Pasay and Quezon City.

The business became a huge success mainly because of the popularity of its flagship product, the Rodillas Yema Cake. Visitors to this province would often bring with them boxes of this treat to give away as “pasalubong” to family and friends.

Dylan Jason Sabio, immediate past president of the Rotary Club of Lucena Circle, was one of the spectators who sampled the yema cake.

“I have a sweet tooth but the sweetness of this yema cake is just right for my palate. It’s not that over sweet and I must say (the) Rodillas have outdone themselves this time, even with this huge number of cakes,” Sabio said.


Unique tradition

However, Tayabas also showcased a more traditional delicacy during the Mayohan Festival – the undying “suman” (elongated rice cake).

Pontioso said the municipal government allocated funds for the baking of some 11,000 pieces of suman to sustain a very unique tradition in this city, called the “hagisan ng suman” (tossing of suman).

The mayor and Philippine Tourism Authority (PTO) officials led the tossing of thousands of suman from the balcony of the historic Casa Comunidad de Tayabas, much to the delight of locals and tourists, who tried to scoop up as many as they could.

The activity, said Pontioso, reflects the city’s tradition of sharing to the people the bountiful harvests of their community, with rice being the main ingredient of suman. (PNA)