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Kalamay, a Unique Dessert

Updated on December 30, 2016
Calamay from Jagna, Bohol, Philippines
Calamay from Jagna, Bohol, Philippines

Jagna kalamay

Kalamay is made of glutinous rice or 'malagkit' cooked with coconut milk and dark sugar. This native dessert requires hours of cooking time and stirring over low fire to prevent it from getting burned. Kalamay-makers use a big pot called that looks like a giant wok to cook it.

Kalamay can be found in many parts of the country but one that is unique comes from Bohol, from Jagna town in particular. This kalamay has a unique taste and distinctive coconut shell container with a red band around it. The coconut shell is cleaned and polished, then decorated with a red paper strip in the middle.

As these shells are prone to breakage on long flights, kalamay is now sold also in plastic transparent containers. You may still obtain them in their original cocoshell but be careful not to drop them.

Tips in buying kalamay

If you visit Bohol, don't leave without going to a kalamay trip to Jagna town which is about 30 minutes to an hour away from Chocolate hills. It can be reached by car or public transport from Tagbilaran City.

Once in Jagna, kalamay vendors are hard to miss in the municipal market area. Each piece is priced P30-35 or three for P100.00. There is also a kalamay store (Ching's Calamay) in Can-Upao, Jagna found on the left side of the road (if you are coming from Tagbilaran City).

This sweet dessert now come in different variants, with or without peanuts, ube, etc. The flavored variety cost more at P50 a piece. Try to ask when the kalamay was made since it's shelf-life can range only from 4-6 days. Spoiled kalamay is often shown with mold growth inside.

Kalamay Recipe

For the aid of those who want to try the challenge of preparing this native dessert, the basic recipe for kalamay is provided.


  • 2 kilos ground, Milled glutinous rice
  • Coconut milk (from 20 coconuts)
  • 10 kilos Molasses Sugar (darkest colored-sugar you can find)
  • 10 liters of water


  1. Soak the glutinous (malagkit) rice overnight.
  2. If possible, you can buy already grated coconuts from you favorite palengke (wet market). Extract the milk, first using 5 liters of water. Then, the second extraction using 3 liters of water.
  3. Pour the soaked glutinous (malagkit) rice in the first coconut milk extracted then proceed to ground the malagkit & coconut mixture. You may have this done through a machine available in many wet markets or do it yourself if you have a grounding machine.
  4. Mix the sugar to the second coconut milk extract and boil until a heavy syrup or 'latik' is attained.
  5. Afterwards, pour the ground malagkit mixture into the simmering 'latik' mixture taking extra caution not too scald yourself. Also, prepare to flex your muscles and tone you arms because you will be stirring this mixture over slow fire for four (4) long hours, non-stop.
  6. After cooking, you may now place them in cleaned and polished half-a-coconut shells (see photo), cover with the other half, and seal with a red band of Japanese paper (papel de hapon). You may also place calamay in plastic air-proof containers (but make sure to cool them down first). Or just serve and enjoy!

Eating Kalamay

1. Consuming one is tricky and sticky so make sure to use a spoon or fork.

2. 'Crack' the coconshell lining by peeling off the red paper around it.

3. Easily open the shell by inserting the edge of the knife.

Divide the contents in the two halves of the shell so that it won't spill anywhere. Do this by twisting until the gooey stuff thins out, or simply cut with a spoon or fork.

Use a spoon or fork to get a dollop.
Use a spoon or fork to get a dollop.
Twist until it thins out
Twist until it thins out

Finally, enjoy the sweet and homemade goodness of kalamay as it melts inside your mouth. Once you get that first taste, you will want more. So the next time you get a chance to go to Bohol, make sure you don't leave that place without a kalamay or two in tow.


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    • gmmurgirl profile image

      Gei Moore 12 months ago from Pilipinas

      Hi fantasticgurl. I am not sure if the one in Tubigon is made in Jagna. I can only vouch for calamay that is actually bought in Jagna because you can ask the seller when it was cooked to assure you that it's not spoiled. Calamay spoils easily within 3 days if it is not refrigerated immediately. You will see white molds. If you know someone in Jagna, you can ask them to send you via LBC though its kinda expensive.

    • profile image

      Fantasticgurl 12 months ago

      Hi,I want to buy this calamay in the coconut shell but I can't go to Jagna because its quite far in Tubigon and when I go back here in Cebu ,my friends want to taste this kind of calamay..Can I buy this one in Tubigon ?Do this calamay same cost from Jagna?How will I know if calamay is not already spoiled ?I want to buy calamay because calamay is so delicious!

    • profile image

      nena 4 years ago

      20 pcs coconut ba talaga ang kailangan for kls. malagkit?

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

      Yummy! I love Calamay. In fact I still have one whom my brother-in-law brought from Bohol. Thanks for sharing.

    • gmmurgirl profile image

      Gei Moore 5 years ago from Pilipinas

      Hi, in Jagna kalamay sells 3 for 100 pesos. Thanks!

    • profile image

      harry 5 years ago

      magkano ang kalamay?

    • gmmurgirl profile image

      Gei Moore 5 years ago from Pilipinas

      Thanks earthbound! That's true. Kalamay is also best as sandwich filling for those who prefer a sweet alternative to their ordinary sandwich cravings.

    • earthbound1974 profile image

      earthbound1974 6 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      It's a very good sandwich filling. Thanks for sharing it, kabayan!

    • gmmurgirl profile image

      Gei Moore 6 years ago from Pilipinas

      Hi Glenn! Yes, peanut-lovers would love the one w/peanuts. I had been eating it for a week now since I managed to snuck in 5 calamays in my luggage. Too bad my last calamay was done and over with. I love it as is, without bread. People should go to Jagna and try this delicacy!

    • TPSicotte profile image

      TPSicotte 6 years ago from The Great White North

      I think its just ok. It needs more peanuts.

    • profile image

      Glenn 6 years ago

      i've just eaten calamay w/ peanuts a few minutes as of posting can eat it w/ or w/o, try to visit bohol - particularly jagna, bohol and taste this sweet, sticky & delicious delicacy we're proud of..KALAMI JAMO SA CALAMAY!