An adventure awaits anyone who travels around the Philippines. Our country is home to countless dialects, a topography that goes from the top of a mountain to the deep blue sea, and ingredients that have been cooked according to a province’s own preferences and resources. Breakfast is no exception to this rule and the different parts of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao have their own ways of starting the day.
1. Jolo, Sulu
In Jolo and Bongao, locals “break their fast” with an assortment of food. Their junai iban itlog is composed of steamed rice with coconut milk and ginger. The rice itself is covered in banana leaves and is usually served with a hard boiled egg. You can also have their own version of soft bread that is stuffed with sweetened coconuts.
Tsokolate is an essential part of most Filipino breakfasts, but each province prepares this drink differently. In Bulacan, the tsokolate is made with either cashew or peanuts. The drink uses 2 cups of boiled water, 3 tablespoons of tsokolate, and ¼ cup of full cream or evaporated milk. The viand typically served with this hot drink is tapang kalabaw, which can be eaten with sinangag and a side of quesong puti.
Bicol is home to one of the country’s spiciest cuisines and their breakfast of pinangat or tinuktok, known to us as laing, packs in enough heat to kickstart your morning. Pinangat is presented as two taro leaves layered with ground pork or shrimp filling. The sauce is composed of not just coconut cream, but also lemongrass, spring onions, garlic, salt, and shallots.
In Iloilo, Chef Rafael “Tibong” Jardeleza II prepared a heritage breakfast that was served back in 2011 for the 1st Western Visayas Ilonggo Heritage Competition and Food Fair, which paid homage to what Ilonggos ate in the morning. One dish he served was the sinabawan nga dalagang bukid nga may baluggay kag patola or dalagang bukid with moringa and sponge gourd. He also served lato and dilis, a savory dish made of ginisang bihod or fish roe served with sliced tomatoes, onions, and salted eggs.
Cebu is not the only province home to budbud kabug. Dumaguete is also known for selling and serving steamed millet wrapped in banana leaves for breakfast. Their variation is usually made using balanghoy (Filipino for cassava) or malagkit (Filipino food term for sticky rice). In the market, they also sell budbud kabug or bod-bod kabog with mango or chocolate. Travelers recommend having the budbud kabug at the market along with a cup of sikwate or chocolate that is prepared with cacao tablea.
6. Angono, Rizal
In Doreen Fernandez’s “Breaking the Fast”, she recounts being served a breakfast of kare-kareng kanduli (Filipino for catfish) and paksiw na kanduli that was flavored with crushed dilao (Filipino for turmeric) in Angono’s Balaw-Balaw. Another breakfast viand she mentions from Balaw-Balaw is the tapang usa or deer meat, along with the usual comfort food of suman and the local coffee.