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Top 10 Favorite Pinoy Biskwit
Remember these childhood favorites? We list our favorite Pinoy biscuits and where to get them.
By: Jenny Orillos  |   Published on: Aug 19, 2010 - 8:00am

Cookie, cracker, biscuit--the name is wide-ranging for a baked delicacy that Filipinos have embraced as their own. We do not have a local name for it the way we call our rice cakes "kakanin" since we only began making it at the same time we learned baking breads during the Spanish period. But when pressed, the term "biskwit" (or biskuwit as spelled in the UP Diksiyonaryong Filipino) will have to suffice for the traditional biscuits baked alongside the pan de sal and ensaimada in our local panaderias.

The varieties are more than a dozen, with specific local names and recipes in each region. Cookie, cracker or biscuit, whichever term we use, it always suggests a plate of the oven-baked goodies.

The cookie is "a small, flat, sweet confection," according to Alan Davidson's The Oxford Companion to Food. "Cookies tend to be richer and have a softer, chewy texture." Meanwhile, biscuit is a generic term for a variety of flour-based items, "generally small in size, thin, short, or crisp in texture." So diverse is the term that even the wafer (or barquillos to us) can be considered a biscuit even if it's not cooked in an oven.

Although most of our traditional biskwit were derived from Spanish counterparts and recipes, Filipino ingenuity has transformed them into a uniquely Filipino delicacy. We use local ingredients like arrowroot, cassava flour, coconut milk, dayap, and even rice flour in making some of our biskwit. Most, if not all, of our local biskwit are crisp and crunchy than soft and chewy.

The role of the biscuit was more prominent in the "slower, lazier days" of our grandparents. Biskwit was "for people who had the time to nibble and savor it, with a cup of chocolate or coffee as part of the ritual of merienda," says Gilda Cordero Fernando in Philippine Food and Life.

That was an era when a large glass jar filled with cookies or biscuits can be found in local bakeries. The glass jars are still present in some areas in the country like in Malabon where it's filled with camachile--a perfect accompaniment to their savory pancit Malabon.

Aside from being merienda fare, the biskwit is served to guests, given to children as a treat, and bought as pasalubong from one's travels to the provinces. Some biscuits honor saints (like the sanikulas) and feast days like the lattice-work cookies of Pakil, Laguna described by Doreen Fernandez which were shaped like the Virgin of Turumba (Our Lady of Sorrows), the town's patron saint.

Here are our top ten favorite biskwit. Find them at your local panaderia, in the cookie or native delicacy aisles of supermarkets, or pasalubong booths at the malls:

1. Uraro

Arrowroot flour makes these cookies delicate, starchy and dry. The flour is derived from the roots of the arrowroot plant Maranta arundinacea. Uraro is also known as araro in Bataan and Pampanga. Uraro cookies come in various shapes--round, scalloped around the edges like a cloud, piped through a star-tip in round shape (like Danish butter cookies), or cut into small curly flowers. The latter is sold as sampaguita in Kapampangan bakeries like the La Moderna Bakery in Guagua. The cookie is usually white and dusted with flour though some are lightly brown. The best uraro has a creamy texture and melts easily in the mouth, like the La Moderna sampaguita. Another brand I tasted (Sir Norman Baker produced in Liliw, Laguna) combined arrowroot, cassava, and wheat flour with coconut milk and buttermilk to produce a fine, creamy cookie. Uraro cookie-producing provinces include Laguna, Bulacan, Marinduque, Pampanga, Bataan, and Quezon.

Brands: La Moderna Bakery, Sir Norman Baker Homemade Uraro Biscuit, Rejano's Bakery of Marinduque, Bulacan Sweets.

Where to buy: Butchie's Recipes of La Moderna (Health Cube Bldg., Wilson St., Greenhills, San Juan), P55-P85 per pack, P85-P200 per jar

2. Pacencia

The pacencia are small drop cookies. Cordero-Fernando points out that it's "the only biscuit named after a virtue." Three kinds of pacencia are sold in the market. One is shaped like a large button with a smooth, lightly brown top and crisp texture. These are flavored with vanilla (sometimes with lemon, like the ones from Marby bakery). The other one looks almost the same but less crisp, with a hardened egg white icing on top. La Pacita Bakery calls these "Pacencia White wheat drop cookies." It has an airy exterior like a miniature broas and is very sweet. The last one refers to tiny meringue kisses, a recipe of which can be found in Enriqueta David-Perez's classic cookbook, Recipes of the Philippines. Food writer Michaela Fenix remembers the pacencia as small and airy "meringue-like cookies." The Eggnog Cookies sold under the Nissin label (in yellow and blue packaging) are the updated sibling of these cookies. Perhaps the key ingredient in all these pacencias is the egg white which makes them light and airy. Beating the whites up into soft peaks indeed takes a lot of patience in making these tiny cookies. But once you pop a few into your mouth, you'll be rewarded immediately.

Brands: La Pacita Biscuits, Marby, Marky's Prime Bake, La Luisa Biscuits, Nissin Eggnog, etc.

Where to buy: Sold by the kilo (along with butter cookies and egg cracklets) at Shopwise's Le Gourmet area in Harrison Plaza, Manila. Starts at P11.50 per pack

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  • Machikits
    I am here in Dubai & many foreigners love Otap. My iranian workmate usually buys it at the filipino section of the grocery.
    Aug 23 2013 @ 03:31pm     Reply  
  • khaye
    what about yung LEMON ang name na nsa maliit na supot P1.00 isa, lemon ang shape ng biskwit partner p yun chocolate nman flavor.. i forgot the name
    May 18 2012 @ 07:45am     Reply  
    this is my favorite foodrn
    Aug 20 2011 @ 09:00pm     Reply  
  • marielle
    i soo miss BongBong's barquillos...
    Sep 14 2010 @ 06:54pm     Reply  
  • dong
    tama kau marie biscuit ang dati ng nanguna.!!rnpero ngaun, egg cracklets ang gusto kong papakin!rn
    Sep 14 2010 @ 03:35pm     Reply  
  • aizen tomaro
    they should have included marie biscuit since its not only for toddlers but for adults as well.
    Sep 04 2010 @ 09:52am     Reply  
  • taratitat
    Sep 03 2010 @ 02:03pm     Reply  
  • marina 10
    sarap ng mga biskwit na gawa sa pinas.......ahhhhh.......gutom na talaga ko!!!!!!!!
    Aug 31 2010 @ 07:52pm     Reply  
  • Kay
    Thank you for featuring Shamrock Otap. Just a clarification... our Hojaldres is actually a different concept from our Otap. Most obvious distinction... Hojaldres is circle whie otap is oval. Hojaldres is more sweet and more heavy than the otap.
    Aug 28 2010 @ 12:09am     Reply  
  • irvin john
    You nailed it SPOT! Uraro of Rejano's Bakery in Marinduque (Sta Cruz, Marinduque is the best). I missed it so much. yum.....
    Aug 21 2010 @ 01:17pm     Reply  
  • Charles
    Bakit walang broas?
    Aug 21 2010 @ 09:49am     Reply  
  • anonymous
    Woo-hoo, lots of Cebu!
    Aug 20 2010 @ 09:58pm     Reply  
  • juskuday
    Hahahahahahaaha ROFL!

    August 19, 2010 at 11:10 PM
    Walang kuwenta tong list na to. Nasan yung Skyflakes at Sunflower? Do your assignment SPOT!

    Aug 20 2010 @ 09:12pm     Reply  
  • Chris
    at wala ang Biscocho? who did this reasearch?
    Aug 20 2010 @ 04:26pm     Reply  
  • ghiapot
    sarap ng uraro... ngutom 2loy ako tsk tsk tsk!
    Aug 20 2010 @ 01:27pm     Reply  
  • HW
    Maybe because this list features "native" biscuits as opposed to just locally-manufactured ones.
    Aug 20 2010 @ 11:44am     Reply  
  • malagu
    Love uraro from Pampanga! Just wondering why you skipped Skyflakes and Sunflowers? They are the more popular ones.
    Aug 20 2010 @ 11:32am     Reply  
  • Irene
    I like Marie Biscuit - Classic!
    Coconut Butter cookies, HIRO, iced jems (ultimate pang baon)...

    But I get it this is top Pinoy biskwit.
    Aug 20 2010 @ 12:47am     Reply  
  • beekeeper
    how about prima buttered toast? :)
    Aug 19 2010 @ 11:12pm     Reply  
  • Pipit
    Walang kuwenta tong list na to. Nasan yung Skyflakes at Sunflower? Do your assignment SPOT!
    Aug 19 2010 @ 11:10pm     Reply  
  • ardiboi
    have eaten all of those except uraro.. or maybe I forgot that I have already tasted it, hehehe..
    Aug 19 2010 @ 07:22pm     Reply  
  • hotshot_jm
    i used to eat rosquillos, pacencia, and uraro when i was a kid.. biscocho's, marie, and lobo biscuits should've been in the list.. loved that too! hehe d;)
    Aug 19 2010 @ 06:09pm     Reply  
  • amber
    Shamrock Otap da best... =)
    Aug 19 2010 @ 04:49pm     Reply  
  • madaboutfood
    my father used to bring home uraro from liliw, laguna when i was a kid. i kind of miss it now. la pacita's pacencia white wheat drop cookies are my favorite! lengua de gato is my daughter's biskwit of choice. :)
    Aug 19 2010 @ 04:33pm     Reply  
  • iamwindyrose
    nasan ang Marie? kinakain ng mga toddlers yun
    Aug 19 2010 @ 03:09pm     Reply  
  • IceQueen
    ...wala ring Jacovina? :-)
    Aug 19 2010 @ 01:20pm     Reply  
  • Nyakers
    ...walang Biscocho?
    Aug 19 2010 @ 12:57pm     Reply  
  • nunsee
    ALFAJOR is the best!!! :) can eat the whole jar in one seating :)
    Aug 19 2010 @ 10:40am     Reply  
  • len
    haven't eaten uraro and otap and barquillos in years!! i want!
    Aug 19 2010 @ 09:44am     Reply  
  • Biscuit Girl
    @Neneng: Though Marie is now manufactured in the Philippines, its origin is not Pinoy and Pinoys have not put their own spin on the Marie recipe. Please check this link for the history of Marie biscuit:

    You will see that Marie has "invaded" many countries. :)
    Aug 19 2010 @ 09:13am     Reply  
  • rara
    I SOOOOOOOOOOOOO LOVE ALFAJOR!!! i didnt know they already sell it here in MarketMarket!?!?!? woww! this is sooooo good news!! thanksss!
    Aug 19 2010 @ 08:52am     Reply  
  • u8mypinkcookies
    i like rosquillos, pacencia and barquillos! i also like the barquillos... and the one that's like barquillos but with powdery filling! :P
    Aug 19 2010 @ 08:39am     Reply  
  • Neneng
    baket wala ung "Marie" biskwet?, masarap yun.
    Aug 19 2010 @ 08:30am     Reply  
  • Zen
    Great list spot! Uraro FTW! :))
    Aug 19 2010 @ 08:29am     Reply  
  • lila
    galletas for me! my lola used to have a bakery and she would make me a pail of egg crackers. promise. i eat it like potato chips. she calls it binanli kasi binabanlian niya 'yong masa to achieve the up-turned corners. yum!
    Aug 19 2010 @ 01:16am     Reply  
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