The Infectious Pastillas de Leche

The famous pastillas de leche of Bulacan

As a kid, I was fascinated only by three sweet confections that my mom and aunties would give me: yema, meringue, and pastillas de leche. Of the triumvirate, I would always request for pastillas de leche. It is known as a carabao milk-based product. The Spanish term means tablet of milk in English. It is much desired by kids and adults alike for its smooth and rich milky sweet taste.

The famous pastillas de leche of Bulacan
The famous pastillas de leche of Bulacan

We were not well-off as kids, so a typical chocolate cake could only be expected whenever someone celebrated his/her birthday which is once a year. This made pastillas de leche all the more accessible. During that time, it was normally sold in various travel terminals with buses bound for several provinces. My mom and her relatives all hail from the Quezon Province, so if it was not  espasol or suman that I’d have for my snack, it would be pastillas de leche.

The origin of the soft-tasting candy is popularly known to be Bulacan. San Miguel is particularly called the pastillas country because it is where most of the variations of pastillas de leche came about. We now have pastillas de mocha, pastillas de ube, pastillas langka and pastillas manga, among others. As a matter of fact, San Miguel, Bulacan even has a Pastillas Festival which is celebrated every first week of May. The first one was done in 2006 only. It’s a 3-day festival which underscores the importance of the product in their community.

The image featured here is actually a set of pastillas de leche which I bought for Php70 from an officemate who hails from San Miguel. S’yempre ‘yung nasa picture na lang ang natira kasi ipinamigay ko na ‘yung iba sa opisina. These days, pastillas makers pack their products in gift-wrapped boxes so as to suggest the idea to the buyer that it can be given out as a gift. This, after all, is what sweet Filipino products are all about — sharing.

Karl Acepcion is also your Fine Life Folk and The Philippine Guild Guide. For more of his blogs, visit Fine Life On A Budget and The Philippine Guild.

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  • farrah

    ano ba yan, i thought talagang infectious!!!…. hindi naman pala. hindi yata tama ung term na ginamit. for sure naman sa laki ng vocabulary, merong mas appropriate na term na dapat gamitin. Napaka misleading lang kasi nung term na ginamit. Puede naman i promote ung pastillas de leche ng mas maganda at angkop na term diba?? Wag naman infectious pls.

  • Josreen

    ur right pastillas in San Miguel is the best…

  • wdhecate

    oh i thought it is really infectious.

  • That’s right, my home town San Miguel in Bulacan makes the best tasting pastillas!