Learn How to Bake for FREE!

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baking(image source: Katsanslimites)
Foods we baked in preparation for our Assessment Test.

Hello there! Summer is just around the corner here in the Philippines and most likely people are already planning for their next vacation/trips/reunions with their friends or family. Aside from enriching bonds and exploring new views, what makes summer special are the foods!

Let’s say you wanted to bake something (cake, cookies, cupcakes, etc.) but then you know yourself that you are hopeless when it comes to baking.

Fret not! Because there is a way you can learn how to bake in just a short span of time—and it’s FREE!

Really? How Do I Learn How To Bake For Free?

vocational_course_in_the_philippines(image source: Katsanslimites)

In the Philippines, we have free vocational courses under Technical Education and Skills Development Authority or TESDA, an agency by the Philippine government. It aims to help Filipinos gain new skills to find new job opportunities and be globally competitive. It is aimed particularly to those who are less fortunate or for people who simply seek new skills and are interested to learn something new.

There are lots of TESDA accredited schools and training centers across the country so I’m sure one can find an accessible training center/school in their province that conducts your preferred course. (For a list of short courses offered by TESDA, please follow this link. For list of online TESDA courses, see this link.)

The title of the course I enrolled at is “Bread and Pastry Production NCII” and the requirements to enroll for the short course is simple. They only asked me for the photocopies of the following:

• NSO Birth Certificate
Barangay Clearance
Transcript of Records

They also required me to submit 2x2 and 1x1 photos. I don’t know if these requirements apply to the other courses too. It may differ from each training center and school as well. So to be sure, you may want to contact TESDA about the requirements.

After filling out some forms, you can now begin the short course!


How Long is the Course?

free_baking_course_in_the_philippines(image source: Katsanslimites)
Leche flan chiffon cake!

The course, “Bread and Pastry Production NCII”, runs for only ten(10) days with seven hours each day. (So that’s 70 hours in total.) After the course, you can take the assessment test to get your certificate. 

Acquiring a National Certificate(NC) gives you the entry level positions on the baking industry. I had classmates on this course who were learning Nihongo at the same time in Manila. They’re planning to work in Japan perhaps. (Little did they know I could understand every word they say when they speak simple Japanese. Lol)

Going back, the course runs for only ten days. Imagine how fast that is. In just less than two weeks you'll learn the basics of baking. But I would just like to say something because I don’t want to keep your hopes high so much. Sadly, we weren’t able to follow the ten days training. I think it was just only five. I’ll tell you later why so keep reading!

How I Knew About the Course

how_to_bake_for_free(image source: Katsanslimites)
My friend and I.

My friends and I had already planned of enrolling ourselves to a baking course three years ago and as expected, it only remained a plan. However, one of my friends enrolled last year at a similar course to Bread and Pastry in TESDA in Manila.

When she decided to go back to our province a few months ago, we talked about wanting to bake a cake. Then she suddenly recalled that there is a free baking course in our province. It’s an hour away from my home but its pretty accessible, so why not? She told me she’ll visit the training center next morning to inquire. The next morning, I woke up to my phone ringing. It was my friend and she was asking me to go to the school as soon as possible because the class has already begun!

Hands-on During the First Day

vocational_course(image source: Katsanslimites)
Chiffon cake and pineapple pie on the first day of our baking class.

Katsanslimites moved ten times her usual speed to be able to catch up. And thank God she made it just in time—for lunch break!(Lol!) I already had the center of attention for being late but there’s one more thing I did that won me the best attention grabber.

You know what I did? Upon arriving, I shyly went inside the room and unconsciously went beside a large a rectangular thing and embraced it. I heard the scream of everyone like I did something very wrong. Then I felt the intense heat burning my skin. The large thing that I thought was a cabinet was actually an industrial oven! Yup, that was very wrong! Good thing my reflexes were fast! Upon feeling the hot surface of the oven, I immediately put myself away. Everyone was laughing with fear in their hearts and asking me if I was okay. Of course, I said I am okay. Luckily, my skin wasn’t burned though my skin felt a little sore the whole day.(Haha!) My friend who saw what I did can't get over it and said I was crazy.

So for everyone out there who is planning to go to a baking class, be careful with what you touch especially on the first day of class. Get to know your surroundings first.(Haha!)

Oh, here’s a reminder too! Always wear a white shirt during class hours. The apron and hair net will be provided by the school. Don’t also forget to wear a face mask and bring two hand towels(one for cleaning the table and the other for cleaning your hands).

(video source: Katsanslimites)
A short video of our first day in class.

The video above is what we did on our first day. Chiffon Cake and Pineapple Pie! They also did Tarts in the morning which I wasn’t able to see how it was made, although I was able to taste it. Yup, we get to eat what we bake. And remember it’s free, so all of us were really enjoying the class. You can also bring home some if you like as long as you have your own container.

Taking photos and videos during class is also not prohibited because recording the procedure can serve as your study material and future reference.

What You’ll Learn

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Weaving some dough for the pineapple pie.

If you ask me how much one can learn in this course, I’d say it depends on teacher and the willingness of the student. Most of all, it depends on the facility of the school or training center.

Going back to what I’ve said earlier about not consuming all the allotted schedule for the course, well that’s the not-so-good thing in my experience. I wonder what happened. But thank goodness our trainer was kind and patient enough to teach us each day despite his delayed salaries.

bread_and_pastry(image source: Katsanslimites)
Cake we made in preparation for our Assessment Day.

We were taught two to three recipes each day for four days. On our fifth day, we practiced the recipes we will be making on the Assessment Day. We were also provided with photocopies of the recipes so we would still have an idea about the recipes we weren’t able to do.

Most recipes that were taught were the typical Filipino foods like Pandesal, Dinner Roll, Cupcake, Tarts, Macaroons, Chiffon Cake, and more. It’s really enjoyable to bake foods from scratch and just like I’ve said, we get to eat the foods we bake. We get to feed minds and our stomach at the same time. Such a beautiful life!

Develops Camaraderie

My friend who had experienced attending a TESDA training in Manila told me that they do things individually there. The advantage of it is that you will be forced to learn everything, else, your output will not be nice. Whereas here in the province, the whole class was the whole group. We get to learn by observing how our trainer makes it, although most of the time, he lets us do the rest after the demonstration. We take turns in doing the procedure so everyone could experience it first hand. This is a disadvantage for all of us because we don’t get to test ourselves that much if we could really do the baking on our own, but even so, we get to practice coordination and teamwork. Learning how to work with other people is a good experience because it develops harmony, trust and friendship with those around you. Plus, you can share and learn new baking techniques and ideas together!

Taking the Assessment Test

Taking and passing the Assessment Test will grant you an NCII certificate. And just like what I mentioned awhile ago, earning this will give you the opportunity to apply for entry level baking jobs. To be able to take the assessment, we were obliged to pay P500(around 10 Dollars). Some of my classmates complained about this because there should be no fees to be paid by us. We were considered scholars and so things such as that should be free. However, my friend told me that she also paid for her Assessment Test in Manila, so maybe there’s really a fee to be able to take the test. In the end, we all paid and took the test.

(video source: Katsanslimites)
A sneak peek during our assessment day.

The schedule for our assessment test went into several postponements which made each of us very worried because we paid for it. But after several weeks, the schedule was decided and it finally pursued. While filling out some forms on the day of the test, our assessor had a little chit chat with our group and we found out that it was due to our training center’s poor scheduling with our assessor. Most of us expressed our disappointment about it, especially those who were having their Nihongo lesson in Manila because they have to juggle between Manila and our province.

free_baking_course(image source: Katsanslimites)
Other groups still busy baking.

Now moving on to the test, we were grouped into three and the test was held on a university by the way, because according to them, it has a wider space and complete facility. But I don’t think so. It wasn’t like everyone was expecting. We weren’t able to start immediately because most of baking utensils were locked inside the cabinet and we have to ask the lady who holds the key every time we need something. She lists down the things we borrow and constantly reminds us to return it. The constant reminder makes it distracting for us. They were so strict but their utensils weren't complete. Our trainer still needs to get some in our training center and bring it there. And good thing my friend brought her measuring cups too. The ingredients also arrived late and incomplete. 

We were able to start around ten o’clock and was worried if we can finish all four recipes until five o’clock. While doing the baking we were called one by one for a recitation which got us all surprised about the questions because majority of the things the Assessor was asking weren’t taught to us. When it was my turn, I answered the things I know and apologized for the questions I have no idea about. Though I also tried to answer some to try my luck.(Haha!) 

tesda_course(image source: Katsanslimites)
Cookies and cream chiffon cake! Yum!

Glad we were able to finish each recipe on time. Our group was actually the first group to finish. I also remembered what the lady who keeps the cabinet keys said about our chiffon cake batter. She said it was very liquid and won’t come out nice. She was even making fun of it. So we did our best to fix it, and voila! It ended up as the best chiffon cake and we were the only group who passed the test. Our other three recipes were just okay though, but overall, it was good. It was the best day for all of us.

You Should Try It Too!

tesda_baking_course(image source: Katsanslimites)
My first self-made chiffon cake last New Year. The icing looks funny. Haha!

Despite of all the not so nice things I had encountered, and for someone who barely knows things in the kitchen, I would consider getting into this baking course a very memorable experience. I was already able to bake my own chiffon cake at home by using our rice cooker and had also tried making Meringue. My friend and I were also able to teach our other friend how to bake when we had our sleepover at her house last Christmas.

I know recipes are just a few clicks away on the internet but what makes attending a short course different is being taught first hand and getting the proper utensils and equipment for baking. You’ll also have a certificate at the end of the training. 

So to all my fellow Filipinos out there who wanted to try something new, why not try enrolling into a baking course or to any other short courses offered by TESDA to widen your skills. Who knows it could be your next hobby or the next big thing that would lead your life to success!

And since we're talking about food, here's a survey about diet. Please take your time and enjoy the survey.

Thanks for reading!

✧ Katsanslimites

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