Buko pie is one of those iconic pasalubong items, which is closely associated with the region it is from. Think pili nuts or tarts from Bicol, strawberries from Baguio, or dried mangoes from Cebu. Buko pie, of course, is a specialty pasalubong from Laguna, particularly in the cities of San Pablo and Los Baños.
This sweet and rich pie is a traditional Filipino dessert, which consists of creamy coconut filling inside a flaky pie crust. It is made with buko, the flesh of young coconut, sweetened with plain or condensed milk, cream, and sugar.
Over the years, there have been variations of the pie, which are similar but use slightly different ingredients, such as macapuno pie or pineapple pie. There are even buko pies with added flavorings such as pandan or vanilla.
While buko pies are a very popular pasalubong from Laguna, they can also be found in some parts of Batangas and Tagaytay. Buko pies are usually sold in lines of pasalubong stores that also sell other delicacies such as cassava cake, espasol, or yema.
In Laguna, the most popular brands of buko pie are the San Pablo-based Collette’s and El Mare, and the Los Banos-based The Original Buko Pie and Lety’s Buko Pie.
Many vendors sell buko pie in public buses that ply the Laguna-Manila route, but those tend to be washed down versions, with more crust than filling, and more sugar than coconut. This doesn’t help buko pie’s reputation, so it’s best to stick with trusted brands.
According to popular belief, buko pie was invented by a Filipino who lived in the United States for years. When she returned to Laguna, she thought of recreating the traditional American apple pie, but this time using more readily available ingredients. Thus, the buko pie was born.
Today, buko pie is enjoyed by locals and travelers alike. It’s perfect as a delicious dessert or snack. It’s available for purchase all year round.
Due to its popularity (and cost of ingredients rising), a box of buko pie has gone up from P110 in 2006, to around P210 today. In any case, it’s still worth every peso because a trip to Laguna just ain’t complete without taking home a box (or two!) of the yummy buko pie.