Food & Drink

Seasonal Foods in the Philippines

Written by Patrick

Filipinos’ love for food is evident in every event, big or small.  Life’s milestones and wins, regardless how small, are often celebrated with food… lots of it.

While dishes such as lechon and kaldereta are prepared on various occasions, there are also some dishes associated with a particular event or celebration.  

Seasonal foods in the Philippines are cooked depending not only on weather and availability of ingredients but also on traditions and religious practices.

Find out the seasonal foods in the Philippines.

Summer season

Halo-Halo

Caption:   The summer favorite Halo-Halo.

Summer in the Philippines is scorching so people do whatever they can to prevent overheating and keep themselves cool.  Aside from trips to the beach and the use of inflatable pools which has become very popular in the country, indulging in cold drinks and refreshing foods gives relief from hot summer days.

Halo-halo is the most popular food during summer.  While it is sold in several restaurants year-round, it became even more popular come summertime.  You can find halo-halo stalls along the streets or in the market.  More often, these stalls also offer sago’t gulaman, mais con yelo, and fruit shakes.

Mango shake, mango float, and other foods with mangoes are also popular during this time since summer is also mango season.  Guimaras Island in Western Visayas, the “Mango Capital of the Philippines”, celebrates its Manggahan Festival every May to showcase the island’s top agricultural product.

Undas

Suman

Caption:  Suman is one of the favorite foods during Undas.

Undas is the collective term in the Philippines for All Saints Day and All Souls Day.  It is one of the biggest holidays in the country.  People usually return to their hometown to visit their dearly departed and at the same time reunite with other family members.

The first two days of November are unofficially the days of glutinous or sticky rice in the country.  Usually seen on top of the dining table are various kinds of dishes made of sticky rice – from puto, palitaw, and suman to biko, sapin-sapin, and many more.

Nowadays, many people also prepare other favorites such as spaghetti and cakes but the tradition of having at least one dish made with sticky rice remains.

Christmas and New Year

Bibingka

Caption:  Bibingka is one of the favorite foods after attending Simbang Gabi.

Christmas is one of the biggest events in the Philippines.  It is the longest too! Christmas in the Philippines starts in the month of September or what people call the beginning of “ber months”.

People look forward to eating puto bumbong and bibingka right after attending Simbang Gabi or Aguinaldo Mass.  On Christmas eve, the table is filled with different kinds of foods but the most common are queso de bola (ball of cheese), fruit salad, macaroni salad, hamon (Filipino Christmas ham), leche flan, pasta and noodle dishes, morcon, lechon manok, and lumpia.  For media noche or New Year’s eve, foods prepared symbolize something – noodles and pasta dishes for good health and long life while dishes made with sticky rice symbolize strength and strong bond among families and also for good fortune to stick throughout the year.  Meanwhile, gathering 12 round fruits is believed to bring prosperity while lechon brings good luck.

Lenten Season

Watermelon

Caption:   Watermelon is one of the most popular fruits during Lent.

The Philippines is one of the largest Catholic countries in the world and many Filipinos adhere to different Catholic practices and traditions.  During the Lenten season, Catholics are advised to abstain from eating meat including pork, chicken, beef, and lamb during Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and all Fridays during lent.  As such, Filipinos only eat fish, eggs, grains, fruits, and vegetables during the said days.  

Most of these foods can be cooked or eaten year round but they are referred to as seasonal since they are often associated with a particular event in the Philippines.

READ MORE: Filipino Food & Drink

What's your favorite Philippine seasonal food?

About the Author

Patrick

Patrick is an entrepreneur, digital nomad, explorer, and photographer. Patrick is always in search of fun and adventure. He is well travelled throughout the world, and although location independent, his home base is Phoenix, Arizona in the USA. Patrick loves island lifestyle which is no wonder why he is so interested in spending time in the Philippines with it’s over 7,000 islands. Patrick created this site to share his knowledge of and experiences in the Philippines with Filipinos as well as other foreigners.

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