Sugarcane is a tall tropical Southeast Asian Grass (Saccharum Officinarum) having thick, solid, tough stems that are chief commercial source of sugar.
During the harvest season of sugarcane here in La Union, from February to April, harvesters crush the extract of sugarcane and is commonly called agdapil. In here, they will put extracts in a big wok and let it boil for an hour in preparation for the making of patopat. While boiling, onos – young coconut leaves stripped of its thin backbone or “tingting” - woven into fat rectangles has been prepared. This is where they put the uncooked glutinous rice or malagkit. After an hour of boiling the extract, all the onos will be put together, dipped, and cooked for 7hours. A 7 hour cooking is recommended for the malagkit to be thoroughly cooked and for the juice of sugarcane to penetrate its sweetness to the malagkit.
When cooked, patopat is sweet and eaten by itself for a late breakfast or mid-morning snacks. Ironically, though, however pretty the design of the casing imparts on the rice, the “skin” makes it hard to get into the sweet, sticky treat inside, but even so, it’s a pleasure when eaten especially when combined with hot choco.
Patopat can last up to several days even without refrigeration, that’s why most balikbayans love to bring this along with them as pasalubong when they return abroad.
The cooked extract, from where the patopat was cooked, called tagapulot or pulitipot, they then cool and mold it in buckets and it is commonly called sinakob or jaggery – a solidified molasses. It is used as sweetener in cooking traditional kakanin and desserts.
The harvesters usually cook patopat once or twice every harvest season for them to let the sugarcane grow and to extract more than enough juice for the cooking and fermentation of basi.
And for this reason aside from cooking the extract, the rest will be put in a big jar or burnay, stored for a long time until it will become a basi or if fermented longer will become an ilocano vinegar.
On the other hand, sugarcane also produces table sugar, Falernum, rum and ethanol.
The bagasse (fibrous residue remaining after sugarcane stalks are crushed to extract their juice and is currently used as a renewable resource in the manufacture of pulp and paper products and building materials.) that remains after sugarcane crushing may be burned to provide heat and electricity. It may also, because of its high cellulose content, serve as raw material for paper card board and eating utensils that, because they are by-products may be branded as “environmentally friendly.” (source by Wikipedia)