Chilled & Shakes

Due to persistent high temperature in the Philippines, Filipinos are avid fans of cool drinks ranging from ice-cold softdrinks and beverages to sweet and tasty fruit shakes to complement regular meals, pulutan or meriendas.

These drinks are available everywhere: from small sari-sari stores and carinderias, to bigger malls and supermarkets.

Pineapple juice sold in the streets.

However, tropical fruit drinks made from dalandan (green mandarin), suha (pomelo), pinya (pineapple), calamansi (small lime), buko (young coconut), durian, guyabano, mango, banana, watermelon and strawberry may be rarer find although their growing popularity made them easier to check out at stalls found in malls and public markets.

A pearl shakes / sago outlet in a mall.

Sago is a sweet drink made of molasses, sago pearls and seaweed gelatin. They are affordable and sold in stalls along streets or by vendors around the a common area as well as in malls. Another famous drink is ‘buko juice, the juice is consumed using straw inserted on the top of a perforated young coconut.

Bars are commonly found in cities and suburbs. Outside strictly Muslim areas in the south, drinking is basic to Filipino social life, and vast quantities of beer, gin, and rum are consumed. Native rums like Tanduay are good: five-year-old brands are worth the modest premium. Local gin and whisky are cheap but inferior in quality compared to foreign counterparts. The country’s hot climate is conducive to beer drinking, and local pride San Miguel beer, exported to many countries, is one favorite beverage.

A tuba gatherer on top of a coconut tree. Photo credit:

However, it’s not only beer and liquor populate the Filipino beverage scene. There are traditional drinks commonly found in rural areas. Tuba (coconut wine) is common in coconut-growing areas where gatherers climb nutless trees twice a day to collect the sap emanating from the lopped-off, growing tip of the tree in bamboo tubes. In prime coconut provinces, such as Laguna and Quezon, the sap is also distilled into lambanog, a potent liquor. The Ybanag of the Cagayan Valley make layaw, a very strong corn spirit. In the mountain provinces of Northern Luzon, rice is fermented to form tapuy (rice wine). The Kalingas and Ilocanos are noted for basi, a sugarcane wine; at its best, it’s deliciously smooth.

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