Desserts from the Pearl of the Orient Seas

Philippines Travel Blog

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fried bananas from the bald-man cafe in manila - topped with palm sugar sauce

Before I came to the Philippines, I didn’t think I’d find tasty desserts there. My friend, who had been studying in Manila for about a year, told me only about balut, a fertilized egg with a nearly-developed embryo inside that is boiled and eaten in the shell. It seemed to be very popular. It’s usually sold at night by food vendors, she told me, much like the ginger soya bean dessert in Indonesia. Ouch, is that what Filipinos eat for dessert? I made a resolution not to touch balut at all and so I was a bit surprised  that when I did come to the Philippines, I found quite some really delicious sweet desserts.


Halo-halo: A popular Filipino dessert consisting of a mixture of shaved ice and milk to which are added various boiled sweet beans and fruits, and served cold in a tall glass or bowl.

halo-halo: supposed to be the legendary dessert of the Philippines
In Tagalog language, “halo” means “mix”. When I came to Manila, my friend took me to have a halo-halo from the classic restaurant Aristocrats near the Bay of Manila after sunset. A perfect time for dessert ^-^ The ice is very colourful ( I ordered the “taro” one so I had this beautiful purple yam ice cream on top of my glass) and it tasted very very sweet =D


Bicho-bicho: I believe it’s a kind of Filipino donuts but it’s shaped like a fat stick instead of a ring. (I also notice here the Filipino tendency to repeat the exactly similar words to name things =D) Bicho-bicho that I tried is sold in stands in the malls. It offers various kinds of flavour too. But no, it can't beat the j.co donuts of Indonesia! There’s something that just doesn’t feel right about eating a square donuts =P


Suman: A rice cake made from glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk, and often steamed in banana leaves.

bibingka, the Filipino pancake - served with grated coconut and cheese
The cake is filled with different kinds of fruit preserves. The plain ones are also avalable. We actually have a similar snack in Indonesia (called "lemper”), only the filling is shreded meat instead of sweet preserves. Of course, I prefer the Filipino version =D


Bibingka: Filipino pancake made of sugar, flour and coconut milk. We found a bibingka seller in front of Aristocrats with her traditional oven. So my friend ordered one and we enjoyed a hot fresh bibingka while waiting for the halo-halo in the restaurant. (Yes, it’s a dream come true �" dinner that consists of dessert and dessert alone =D). In Indonesia we had a similar desser, called “serabi” but it’s smaller and usually served with palm sugar sauce, not grated coconuts.


There’s also a fast food chain restaurant in the Philippines called Jollibee and my friend insisted on taking me there because she thought I’d love its peach mango pie. It is served hot and it does taste lovely. “If I have to leave after my study is finished, I’m definitely gonna miss this one,” my friend confessed. Well, she’s right. I kind of miss it too now.

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fried bananas from the bald-man ca…
fried bananas from the bald-man c…
halo-halo: supposed to be the lege…
halo-halo: supposed to be the leg…
bibingka, the Filipino pancake - s…
bibingka, the Filipino pancake - …
the traditional oven to cook bibin…
the traditional oven to cook bibi…
the stand selling suman in the sun…
the stand selling suman in the su…
my choice: mango suman
my choice: mango suman
the perfect time for an all-desser…
the perfect time for an all-desse…
bicho-bicho (the Filipino donuts)
bicho-bicho (the Filipino donuts)
fenty and fie sian with their own …
fenty and fie sian with their own…
4,471 km (2,778 miles) traveled
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