These days, people have been making the switch from commercialized, processed goods in favor for natural and homemade items. Whether it’s for health reasons, to support local products and startups, or something else altogether; one thing’s for sure: going back to basics is in.
So, when it comes to food choices, some people don’t mind paying a little extra as long as they get organic ingredients or food made without preservatives – just all-natural stuff, plain and simple. Appearance isn’t usually an issue, which is why they choose food that’s rustic or unevenly shaped. Plus, it has a homey charm of its own, too.
While most these shops are usually in Makati or Alabang— Northies now have a reason to be happy because one artisan bakery has just opened in Quezon City: Manu Mano.
Located just shy of the bustling food hub that is Banawe, Manu Mano is a tiny shop decked out in black walls, concrete counters, and wooden frames— a classic and simple look, just like what they’re going for with their breads.
Manu Mano, an artisanal bakery selling artisanal bread, uses hands as their main theme in both the name and the logo. Manu Mano is a Tagalog term which literally translates to “hand to hand”. It’s a thought-out concept that embodies the very brand— a small and intimate space where everything is hands-on and prepared in small batches to ensure good quality breads.
The logo, on the other hand, pays homage to artist Albrecht Dürer, an artist known for his powerful work “Praying Hands”, which was a tribute to his brother’s damaged hands— the very ones that toiled at the coal mines to fund Albrecht’s schooling. Hands are a key part in making, shaping, and creating things; so Manu Mano wanted to shine the spotlight on that.
Thus began their little bakery, which opened in August 2019. Their definition of artisan is one made with “skill and intent”, as showcased by their team of internationally trained chefs. Their goal is to bring good bread to the country— made without the use of machines, preservatives, extenders, or flavor enhancers. Instead, they rely on nothing but basic ingredients: flour, salt, and water.
The trick, however, is in the quality of the ingredients. Manu Mano uses unbleached flour for their baked products, which is more flavorful than bleached flour because it naturally matures over time. In addition, each bread is hand-shaped, so no two breads look exactly the same.
To date, Manu Mano’s breads include:
Hybrid Pandesal (Php10 per piece)
A cross between sourdough and the well-loved Pinoy pandesal, Manu Mano’s version is not as sweet as most variants. It even has a mild sour taste! The consistency, however, is fluffy and pillowy, while being filling at the same time.
Banawe Base (Php275 per Loaf)
A sourdough bread roughly shaped with bits of flour on the edge. In place of artificial leaveners, they use Masa Madre, which helps the bread naturally ferment for that subtle sour flavor. It can be used for sandwiches— open-faced or closed.
Baguette (Php90 per piece)
Long and hard French bread with a crunchy exterior, the baguette is made with four ingredients: salt, unbleached flour, water, and fresh yeast. It’s good for bruschetta and croutons.
The highlight of it all lies in Manu Mano’s newest partnership with Auro Chocolate, a proud champion for sustainable and ethical farming. Their bean-to-bar chocolate is a product of quality ingredients and cocoa beans that are harvested by farmers (who are paid well for their output). Just like Manu Mano’s promise, Auro Chocolates are made without any fillers or extenders – just quality cocoa butter and cocoa powder.
While most Auro Chocolate bars can be found in groceries or used as an ingredient in other food items, Manu Mano uses their Tablea to create their newest sweet dessert yet: Salted Tablea Brownies!
These limited edition Salted Tablea brownies are made with 100% pure Tablea— a bittersweet type of chocolate commonly made into hot chocolate, champorado, or baked goods. Manu Mano’s version results in all-natural, honest-to-goodness rustic brownies. Decadent and rich but not too sweet, these brownies have a crumbly texture that goes well with a warm glass of milk. It’s available every Wednesdays and Saturdays for Php200 for a box of 6 and Php350 for a box of 12. Just remember to refrigerate it after. Pro Tip: heat it up in the microwave for just a few seconds so the brownies become nice and warm.
In line with this, Manu Mano released their very own Holiday Linen Bag. It’s an exclusive item that preserves bread when airtight and can even be converted into a drawstring bag should you want to use it as a shopping tote.
This locally produced Holiday Linen Bag can be purchased for Php500 each, and will guarantee a 5% discount for every in-store purchase in the first next months. The discount applies to products that fit in the bag during your subsequent purchase. What a great way to save on plastic!
And what’s a holiday promo without bundles? In partnership with Auro Chocolate, Manu Mano offers their very own Holiday Packages:
- Linen Bag + 4 Mini Baguettes + Half Dozen Box of Salted Tablea Brownies = Php750
- Linen Bag + 4 Mini Baguettes + Half Dozen Box of Salted Tablea Brownies + Auro Spread* = Php1,050
* The Auro Spread is a 32% white chocolate cashew spread that tastes like Yema or Dulce de Leche. Don’t worry— the yellowish color can be attributed to the roasted white chocolate that they add into the spread. Just remember to store at room temperature.
Manu Mano has also recently partnered up with Booky. For every 20 pieces of Hybrid Pandesal purchased in-store, you can get 5 more free! Eventually, Manu Mano’s artisanal breads will also be available for delivery via Food Panda and Zomato Delivery, so you can have your favorites in the comfort of your home.
So, are you bready for what’s to come? I sure can’t wait!
755 Banawe, cor Scout Oscar M. Alcaraz St, Quezon City
Store Hours: 6AM to 6PM daily, or until supplies last