Clarin House of Suman | Misamis Occidental

In a country where rice is life, it comes as no surprise that arguably the Philippines' favorite snack is the suman, a hand-rolled sticky rice cake usually wrapped in banana and palm leaves. Like most Filipinos, I’ve come across different varieties of suman all over the archipelago. There’s the Tupig in Ilocos Norte and Pangasinan, Suman Pinipig in Bulacan, Suman Moron and Budbod in Visayas, and Pintos in Mindanao—just to state a few—all differing in preparations, sizes and certain ingredients added.

sikwate and Clarin’s House of Suman
Suman always goes well with a hot cup of Sikwate - a Filipino chocolate made from tablea (ground cacao beans)
So, you might wonder what makes the suman of Misamis Occidental—specifically the ones made by the Clarin House of Suman—different from all the others? That’s what we found out during our side-trip to the town of Clarin.

The House that OTOP Built

Clarin House of Suman was founded in 2009 as a creation of the one town, one product (OTOP) initiative of the Philippine Government that aims to boost community-driven industries through locally made and sourced products. To make their suman produce stand-out from the other sticky rice cake in the country, the brains behind Clarin House of Suman focused on concocting a fusion of diverse flavors. Initially starting with a handful of savors, they now serve 20 flavors of suman. These comes in classic suman, ube, langka, mango, pineapple, chocolate, cheese, yema, latik, buko and even durian.
Levy Amosin

Admittedly, of all the suman I tasted all over the Philippines, my favorite was the Chocolate budbod suman I had in Dumaguete. But upon letting my tongue roll over the deliciousness of Clarin's tablea-flavored suman, I found myself a new favorite suman—up there in my suman chart with the budbod of Dumaguete.

Sikwate and Suman at Clarin’s House of Suman

Of course, there won’t be a House of Suman without the Suman Factory. So, like a bunch of kids venturing inside Willy Wonka’s chocolate plant, we giddily observed the suman-makers as they mix and batter various ingredients, hand-roll sticky rice and wrapped em all in banana leaves.

Each day, the suman makers numbering from 17 to 20 at any given day, can come up with 3,000 to 5,000 suman pieces that are sold out before closing time. Certainly, a box-office hit if you ever saw one.

Last-Minute Pasalubong Spree

Travelers passing by the stretch of the Ozamis-Oroquietta National Highway are hard-pressed to ignore the green colored Clarin House of Suman. True to it, aside from sampling various flavors of suman and filling us up to the brim—carbo loaded to the max—we also ended up hoarding pasalubongs for our family and friends back home. I bought a dozen sumans like I would buy a dozen donuts of varied tastes plus I also took home with me a couple of packs of Tablea.

They also sell other types of kakanin
Achieving low-key but rock star status among foodies in the country, Clarin House of Suman further expanded its presence when they were invited at the Madrid Fusion event in Manila in 2017. 

During the said gathering, chefs from all over the world took notice of the rice cakes from Clarin's. Finally, when one think of sticky rice cake, one will not only be reminded of the ones from Thailand as here in our own, we also have a whole enchilada of flavorful sticky rice cakes—and we call them suman.