Tupig is a native delicacy made with glutinous rice and grated coconuts wrapped in wilted banana leaves and cooked over live coals. Tupig-making is an important source of livelihood in Pangasinan.
We were on the road to Manila from Baguio and, when we reached Pangasinan, tupig hawkers swarmed around the car. We had enjoyed tupig before and my husband asked if we wanted some. We bought from a middle-aged hawker—seven packs for a hundred pesos with each pack containing three pieces of tupig.
A few meters down the road, we stopped to buy fresh ripe mangoes and sibuyas tagalog from a roadside stall. Another tupig hawker, this time a very young boy, stood by the window offering his tupig. Twelve packs for a hundred pesos, he said, and I wanted to faint. I thought the seven packs for a hundred pesos from the middle-aged hawker I bought from just a few minutes earlier was a good deal.
I wasn’t going to buy more as I felt we had more than enough than we could eat. But, my daughter Sam, from the backseat said, “Mommy, buy from him…” referring to the young boy. I told her we had enough. She said, “Mommy, nakakaawa…”
I don’t buy out of pity. But Sam sounded so urgent. I don’t know exactly why but I bought the twelve packs for a hundred pesos. It’s Wednesday and I’m still eating tupig back in Antipolo.