The Philippines undeniably is one of the most popular destinations for people around the world who love to travel. Aside from the awesome beaches, scenery, history, beautiful and hospitable people, this country prides itself with its glorious food dishes.
And with 7,641 islands on offer you’ll never run out of places to go and sights to see. SO now let’s talk about the food as the long list of meals you MUST try is making my mouth water….
Here’s where to go to get those legendary tastes:
1. PAMPANGA – Sisig
Pampanga is dubbed as the “Culinary Capital of the Philippines”, where you can taste heaven with their scrumptious and overwhelmingly delicious dishes or “manyaman” as they say in the Kapampangan language.
Pampanga is located north of Luzon and is popular for their “SISIG”. This dish is made from a roasted pig head parts or face, onions, and then sliced into small pieces served in a sizzling plate along with chilli and lime.
2. CEBU – Lechon
Filipinos love lechon, and Cebu is the perfect place to go for tender and crispy lechon. This dish is simply a roasted pig cooked slowly on top of burning charcoal which is widely recognized as the best lechon in the country. Cebu is in Central Visayas which is called the “lechon capital of the Philippines”.
3. DAVAO – Durian
When we hear the word “Durian”, there is only one place in the Philippines to go, Davao. At first, you might think twice on eating this fruit, a big fruit, has a hard shell, sharp thorns, and a strong smell, but once you have a bite, you’ll surely want more.
Davao was named “Fruit Basket of the Philippines” because of the abundance of different types of fruits such as Pomelos, Rambutan, Marang, Lanzones, and the list goes on. Davao is also where the current president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte resides.
4. BICOL – Bicol Express
When visiting Bicol, don’t be surprised if you see an individual eating whole red chili along with their favorite dish for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. But one of the most popular dishes that the province serve is the famous BICOL EXPRESS.
This dish is not for the faint of heart, red and green chilli is cooked with pork belly that is cut into strips together with coconut milk and other spices. This dish is so delectable that you would want to come back for more. Aside from their dish, Bicol is also home to the famous Mayon Volcano which is popular for its perfect cone shape.
5. SAGADA – Etag
Sagada is a municipality in the province of Mountain Province, Cordillera Administrative Region, Philippines and one of the must-try food in this place is Etag. Etag is a term in Sagada for a big chunk of pork which is cured in salt for weeks or even longer. The meat is then air-dried under the sun or being smoked for several weeks and sometimes for months. But don’t be bothered when you see how the process of making Etag works, white moulds appear after a few weeks of ageing, maggots are all over the meat, a foul smell flies flying around it, and it surely might make you vomit, but that’s the process.
After the process is where it all comes into place, the meat is soaked and washed thoroughly with water to reduce the salty taste and then grilled to perfection with hot steaming rice. Cordillera is home of ethnic tribes like the Igorots, Ifugaos, Kankanays, and other tribes of Benguet and Mountain Province, where you can find treasured culture and heartwarming hospitable natives of the Philippines.
6. ILOILO – La Paz Batchoy
La Paz Batchoy from Iloilo is now famous around the country, and you would even see instant cup noodles with La Paz Batchoy flavor. That is how popular this dish is, a must-eat for tourists and travelers. This signature dish of Iloilo is made of round noodles, pig organs such as liver, kidney, and heart. Other ingredients are chicken stock, beef loin, shrimp stock, and finally garnished with pork cracklings (chicharon).
7. Zamboanga – Curacha in Alavar Sauce
Zamboanga is located in the western region of the southern island of Mindanao and the dishes they serve won’t make you stop eating. The cuisine from Zamboanga City is colorful, diverse, and festive just as their culture, and because of the Spanish settlement in this area, Hispanic flavors are infused to their dishes creating something more appetizing and flavorful. Curacha is another name for Spanner Crab or Red Frog Crab which is abundant in the waters of the Sulu province in Zamboanga, which is why Curacha in Alavar Sauce is created.
8. Vigan – Longganisa
Vigan longanisa is a very delicious Filipino pork sausage which is made up of ground lean pork, ground pork fat, sugar, lots of garlic, onions, bay leaves, and other ingredients that would surely make you eat more. Vigan City can be found in Ilocos Sur which is on the west coast of Luzon island. This place is well-known for its history and preserved Spanish and Asian architecture. Some of the places to visit here are the Crisologo Museum, Calle Crisologo, Syquia Mansion Museum, and the RG Jar Factory.
9. General Santos City – Tuna
General Santos City is called the “Tuna Capital of the Philippines” where you can find tuna dishes are served with fresh tuna from the sea. General Santos City is the Philippines’ number one fish producer of which Sarangani Bay provides the city with the best and tastiest tunas in Mindanao. And did you know that the tunas that are caught here are not only served in the country but in many parts of the world as well?
10. Bacolod – Inasal
You may find roasted pork or chicken everywhere in the Philippines, but in Bacolod the Inasal is different. “Cooked over fire” is what Inasal means, and people in Bacolod cook their pork or chicken barbeque with red achuete or annatto seeds for its reddish color while brushing oil over fire. Their delicious Inasal secret lies with their herbs and spices by which you should try and taste the difference among other pork and chicken barbeque around the Philippines.
These are just some of the best places to find food that will take away your hunger and curiosity, places where everyone is welcome, local or foreign, young or old. The Philippines has a lot to offer when it comes to travel and leisure, all you need is to have your secretary or virtual private assistant book your travel and have the time of your life in the Philippines. Places to go, people to meet, an experience like no other.
Karstine Mae Sanchez is a content marketer at OkayRelax. When she is not busy, you can find her at the beach, exploring different islands, seeing beautiful waves and walking in the sand.