How to make Camiguin’s famous Pastel pastry

How to make Camiguin’s famous Pastel pastry

We unearthed the secret to making the country-famous pastry—heavenly soft buns with irresistible custard filling only found in the “Island Borne of Fire.”

If there’s one thing you cannot leave Camiguin without, it’s pastel, a local bun filled with melt-in-your-mouth yema (custard) filling, and there’s only one name that’s synonymous with this treat: Vjandep.

Here’s how they make the treat that no one, not even a machine from the Department of Science and Technology, can replicate.

The ingredients (sorry; the measurements cannot be disclosed)

  • Flour
  • eggs
  • milk
  • sugar
  • butter
  • shortening
  • yeast

Fillings may vary, but here’s the list for the original yema filling:

  • Milk
  • egg
  • butter

The process

Mix all the ingredients by hand in a bowl until they come together into a consistency akin to toy slime. Pastel dough isn’t as hard as regular bread dough so stop working it once you reach that consistency.

This is one part of the process that not even machines can replicate.

Break off pieces big enough to fit the palm of your hand and place a spoonful of yema. Wrap the yema within the dough before placing it into a short cylindrical mold. Set the dough aside and let it rise until it doubles in size.

Pastel always tastes the best when you get them (almost) fresh from the oven.

Once the dough has risen, place the mold in a 180-degree heated oven for 10 minutes. Take them out; let them cool for at least two minutes (hot yema is no joke), and chow down!

The basics
Buy pastel for Php165 (USD3.30) a dozen. Vjandep is at 57 Plaridel Street, Mambajao, Camiguin—very close to the airport.

Get there
SkyJet Airlines flies daily to Camiguin except on Wednesday and Thursdays.

Experience all-in hassle-free tours of Camiguin by booking #DashHolidays.
Tel: +63917 840 6853, +639917 627 6179
Solar Century Tower, 100 Tordesillas cor. HV Dela Costa Streets, Salcedo Village, Makati City

Photos: Daniel Soriano

Play ninja sans the costume—a new sport to love

Play ninja sans the costume—a new sport to love

Run, jump, and vault your way through everyday obstacles with a new sport that’s taken the world by storm: parkour.

We spoke to Robby Apelo from the Philippine Parkour and Freerunning Association, one of the country’s largest parkour groups, and Raven Cruz of Rogue Movement, to know more about parkour.

What is parkour?

It doesn’t have to be as cinematic as these shots, though. Video by Storm Freerun

Robby says it’s “using natural ways of movement to navigate obstacles in a given environment.” Its movements are inspired by the military obstacle course training in France but developed as a standalone activity by David Belle, Sebastien Foucan, and the Yamakasi.

Terms, checks and gearing up

Training sessions are called jams, while parkour practitioners are called traceurs.

Before a jam, have a good warm-up by doing jumping jacks or jogging, and stretching. Check the space you’ll be moving around in. Make sure everything you’re likely to use is sturdy and safe. Plan your moves.

Basic movements

It looks simple, but you go through so much before you can do it this well.

Jumping/Landing. Bend your knees at a 45-degree angle as you swing your arms back; push hard off the ground through your toes while you swing your arms forward; bring your knees to your chest to get your hips in the right place as you keep an eye on where you’re landing. Before landing, extend your legs and on the balls of your feet to absorb the impact. Make sure your legs aren’t locked out or too relaxed before landing.

Rolling/Breakfall. This can be done from a standing or a crouched position. Place your hands on the ground in front of you and slightly to one side, preferably on the opposite side of whichever shoulder you feel more comfortable with. Tuck your chin into your chest as said comfy shoulder goes down, pushing off with your legs to initiate the roll. Keep your legs and your head tucked throughout the roll until you get your feet under you. Push off the ground with your hands and feet to stand up and be on your merry way.

Quadrupedal Movement. It’s as simple as crawling on your hands and feet. Make sure you’re low to the ground and that your knees don’t touch the floor. Move your hand and its opposite leg to make the movement more efficient.

A kong vault, so called because you look like King Kong when you do it.

Safety Vault/Speed Step/Step Vault. One of the easiest vaults in parkour, it makes use of one hand and the opposite leg to go over an obstacle. Approach the obstacle (usually a wall that’s about hip height) at a comfortable speed for a bit of momentum. Once you’re close, jump from one leg to go over the obstacle. Put down the other foot and the same hand as the leg you jumped off of on top of the obstacle, creating a space between them for your jumping leg to pass through. Once your jumping leg is through, push off the obstacle with your hand and foot to continue your run.

Wall Run. A very useful move for getting up walls without ladders. Start with a bit of a run towards a wall that’s about as tall as you. When close to the wall, step off the wall with one foot at about waist height and redirect your forward momentum upward, reaching for the top of the wall with your hands. Grab the top of the wall and pull yourself up.

Where to go to jam

The Quirino Grandstand’s Rice Garden or the walls in front of the Bayleaf Hotel in Intramuros training during the weekend.

Parkour gyms to try: Muscle Up Parkour Gym and Urban Training Ground in Maginhawa or Ninja Academy at Circulo Verde, both in Quezon City.

The gear

You don’t need that much equipment to start parkour. A good pair of trainers and some clothes will do.

A pair of running shoes with a good drip and comfortable clothes. Sport-specific apparel includes brands like Farang from Thailand and Storror and Storm Freerun from the UK; for shoes, some well-known parkour brands are Ollo, Know Obstacles, and the recently-released Farang Elevate.

The Basics
What to follow: and for all things parkour in the Philippines, including jam schedules.

Who are Robby Apelo and Raven Cruz?
Robby is a core member of the Philippine Parkour and Freerunning Association (PPFA), and has been practicing parkour for over eight years.

Raven is a member of Rogue Movement, a team of traceurs from the City of Manila, and a coach at Progressive Hub Manila and Ninja Academy.

Freediving 101

Freediving 101

No tanks and regulators. It’s just you and the deep blue. How to freedive according to instructor Johnn Mendoza.

Conserve oxygen, equalize and safely surface

Relax before and during the dive.

Prepare for a freedive by lowering your heart rate through normal breathing and exposure of the face to water. This induces the mammalian dive reflex that helps in adapting the body for freediving.

Equalize the whole time because the initial depth changes in the water greatly affects the ears’ eustachian tubes and it may cause pain or discomfort—similar to what you feel when flying in higher altitudes.

Go only as far as you can, then go up. Slowly.

When you reach the depth you can handle, ascent safely and slowly and avoid overstretching as you do so.

Upon surfacing, do sharp sets of inhale, holding it in, then exhaling to restore oxygen content in your body.

Best time to freedive

In the Philippines, it’s year round because the waters, in general, have wonderful temperatures and conditions. The best is in the summer months of March, April and May when the waters are flat, warm and clear, allowing for a better diving experience.

The ideal location

Cebu has good waters for freediving, as well as seeing whale sharks.

Cebu is one the best and most convenient places forfreediving with so many dive spots only a few hours’ drive from the city. Panglao, Bohol has amazing reefs.

The right outfit and gear

You might also want to bring something to capture the moment, but it’s best to just enjoy the dive.

Fins, mask and snorkel. A low-volume mask is necessary for easier equalization. The snorkel has to be a simple J-type without a purge valve. Go for long fins designed for greater thrust using minimal exertion.

The basics


Dive ta Bai chapters all over the Philippines can help you connect you with the local community of freedivers. Message them on Facebook at

Words and photos by Johnn Mendoza

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