Puto Latik Festival

Puto Latik Festival is cultural, food, historical, and religious festival in the city of Biñan, Laguna, Philippines. Its schedule coincides with the patronal feast of St. Isidore the Laborer, also called San Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of the city, as well as the National Heritage Month. Its schedule spans from May 15 to May 23.

The city also celebrates Araw ng Biñan from February 2 to 4 every year.

History of Puto Latik Festival

Puto Latik Festival is a combination of the native rice cake snack called Puto Biñan and the folk dance called Maglalatik Dance, both of which are culinary and cultural products from the city. It was launched in 2011 within the term of Mayor Marlyn Alonte-Naguiat, and its schedule was initially slated in February but has since been moved to March. In 2018, it garnered the Outstanding Tourism Event Festival (City) during the 19th ATOP-DOT Pearl Awards.

In 2020 and 2021, activities were held online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Puto Biñan

Puto Biñan is a rice cake delicacy that is proudly invented in Biñan, hence its name. Believed to have been pioneered by a housewife, it is made from eggs, rice flour (called galapong), sugar, coconut milk or evaporated milk, baking powder, and slices of salted egg that is then cooked by steam. It is topped with grated cheese and a drizzling of condensed milk.

The round-shaped cake is sweet, moist, and filling, and the saltiness of the cheese and egg provide an interesting contrast of flavors. It is frequently paired with dinuguan, a stew made from curdled blood of pigs.

Popular makers of the cakes are from the village of San Vicente.

Maglalatik Dance

Maglalatik comes from the word latik, which may mean different things in different places in the Philippines. In the Visayas region, it refers to a caramelized syrup of brown sugar and coconut milk.

In Biñan and other locations, it refers to coconut milk curds that are the by-products in the production of coconut oil. They are the solid residue when the milk is heated to extract its oil, and they are utilized as tasty treat or to add texture to snacks and dishes.

Maglalatik hence means someone who is involved in the making of latik, and Maglalatik Dance is a folk dance that tells the story of the battle between the Christians and Muslims. It is performed by males who represent the two factions and their ‘allegiance’ can be identified by the color of their trousers, such as blue for the Christians and red for the Muslims.

They are almost always bare-footed although some performances may allow them to have footwear like flip-flops and they may be naked from the waist up or clothed in plain white shirt. Moreover, they wear six coconut half-shells held together by strings made of cloth or twine: one for each knee, a pair on the chest, and another pair on their back.

Tied fast to their hands are pieces of coconut shell which produce a sound when they open and close their palms. During the performance, they also strike them against the shells found in other parts of their body that would likewise make a sound. Their dance is set to a musical accompaniment, a folk song, that is highlighted by the click-clacking of shells against shells.

The entire performance is divided into four parts called Palipasan, Baligtaran, Paseo, and Sayaw Escaramusa that trace the rise of the conflict of the two warring groups, their engagement, and eventual resolution.

In Biñan, the dance is performed by devotees on the streets during foot procession held in veneration of St. Isidore the Laborer. It recalls the beginning of the city when originally majority of its people primarily engaged in agriculture.

Devotion to St. Isidore the Laborer

Christianity came to the city in 1571 when Augustinian missionary Fr. Alfono Alvarado, the chaplain of the expedition led by Spanish colonizer Juan de Salcedo, planted a cross and founded a church in Tabuco, presently called Cabuyao, of which Biñan originally belonged.

The Augustinians left the care of the church to the Dominicans in 1637. A church was built between 1690 and 1694, and it was placed under the patronage of St. Isidore the Laborer. Fr. Jose Monroy was the first parish priest who started his stint in 1757. The Dominicans would be replaced by diocesan priests in 1898.

The church suffered several destruction from natural disasters such as an earthquake in the 19th century and typhoon in 1968. Thus, it underwent several reconstructions and the present-day church dates back to 1970.

On July 26, 2017, it was declared a heritage structure of the city and on May 6, 2022, it was elevated into a diocesan shrine of the patron, making it one of the three shrines in the country dedicated to St. Isidore and one of the eight diocesan shrines in the Diocese of San Pablo.

The church, now called Diocesan Shrine and Parish of San Isidro Labrador de Biñan, contains an old image of the patron made of dark wood, which is considered one of the oldest religious icons in the country.

The patronal feast consists of two celebrations, one in May 15 and another in May 23 which is also called Pistang Intsik (translated to Chinese Fiesta). It is said that the second celebration was organized by the Chinese community starting in the 1700s, an offshoot of the rivalry between them who were mostly of the merchant class and the mestizos who were land-owners and the organizers of the May 15 fest.

Puto Latik Festival Activities

Schedule of activities of Puto Latik Festival starts on May 15, the feast day and culminates nine days after. While activities may vary from year to year, there are a few events that remain constant such as the City of Life Awards, a recognition given to outstanding groups and institutions. There is also the thanksgiving mass, Grand Santacruzan, and fireworks display on May 23rd.

Other events include competitions, talent contests, parade, procession, heritage and cultural summit, beauty pageants like Miss and Mister Biñan, cookfest, etc.

How to reach the City of Biñan, Laguna

The City of Biñan, Laguna is an hour or so away from the capital through bus trips that are regularly plying the route.


Puto Latik Festival Summary

NamePuto Latik Festival
CelebrationCulture, Food, Dance, History, Religion,
ChurchDiocesan Shrine and Parish of San Isidro Labrador de Biñan
Contact(049) 513 5028
DateMay 23
Duration9 days
FounderMarlyn Alonte-Naguiat
LocationCity of Biñan, Laguna
OrganizerCity Government of Biñan
PatronSt. Isidore the Laborer
ReligionRoman Catholic
Simultaneous eventFeast Day of St. Isidore the Laborer