Kiping together: From Ground to Great

Posted on May 19, 2011


The Pahiyas Festival will not be complete without the kiping – colorful leaf-shaped sheets made of ground rice used as decoration.

How are these ubiquitous decorations made? It is a very laborious and time-consuming process. Because of this, kiping is made months ahead of the actual celebration, in anticipation for the demand from locals who want to participate in the contest. According to Wiki Pilipinas:

The preparation of kiping starts with the collection of mature leaves which will serve as molds. Leaves like kabal, kape, talisay (umbrella tree), kakaw (cocoa), antipolo and banana (saba). Mature leaves are used in order to be able to use them three times or more.

Laon rice is used in the production of kiping to prevent unnecessary cracking of the rice wafer. The rice is soaked for two hours, then ground with water until it turns pasty. For every ganta of rice, at least three packets of food coloring and about 1/2 teaspoon of rock salt is used.

The rice paste is spread on each leaf and steamed for at least 30 minutes. After steaming, each leaf is dried until ready for peeling. After peeling them off the leaves, the kipings are piled on top of each other and compressed by placing a weight on top for half a day.

Wow! Laborious indeed. But all that effort is well worth it in the end, when you see how beautiful and elaborate the decorations are, and how happy the people are at seeing these colourful creations.

Kiping is not only beautiful, but edible too. You can grill them over charcoal or fry in a bit of oil. At the Pahiyas, some sidewalk stalls sell ready-to-eat kiping in paper cups. I saw several people walking while munching on colorful kiping bits, sort of like potato chips 😀 Unfortunately, I was always full (Nanay is to blame for that, haha!) so I didn’t buy any.

When I go back there next year, I will definitely bring home some of these colorful kiping as souvenirs to my friends.

Posted in: Philippines, Travel