The Filipino is not only a gentleman with his demeanor but also in his attire. Donning the
Barong Tagalog, the national attire made from natural fibers of the pineapple leaves, shows the pure intentions of the
Filipino gentleman as its translucent color shows that the person is not concealing any weapons. Its intricate
embroidery and cool material makes it the ideal formal wear in a tropical country.
Just like the Filipino gentleman, his coffee is strong and masculine.
The Kapeng Barako, a local brew that is only grown in Batangas, is a strong Arabica coffee that has full strong earthy flavor, or simply put, coffee in its purest, unadulterated form. Mixed with dark chocolate pralines, this gives a preview of the Filipino man – strong but genteel and sweet.
The beauty and grace of the Filipina woman is unmatched in the world. From their physical
beauty that has been praised and crowned in all international beauty pageants, to the beauty of their hearts as
witnessed by the world in how well Filipino nannies, teachers, nurses, and doctors have taken cared of their wards.
Like the Filipina, the terno is a delicate and intricate piece of clothing that exudes grace and femininity but also gives the woman an equal stature to that of the man. Its trademark butterfly sleeves and its serpentine cut make the terno a Filipino classic that brings out the beauty of any woman that wears it. Unlike other dresses, the terno showcases both structure and flow; of femininity and strength; of simplicity and intricacy – just like the beauty of the Filipina.
Just as delicate as the Filipina’s beauty, the Palawan Honey is a flavor that is both soft and tang. Sweetness so perfect that it is graceful without overwhelming but with an exotic kick. Found only in the beautiful island of Palawan, which is considered as one of the last frontiers in the world. The delicate taste of Palawan honey in dark chocolate is a subtle yet wonderful explosion of flavors that can only be best described as beautiful.
Dubbed as the tree of life, the coconut is an integral part of the Filipino culture. From being used
as shelter, construction, food, wellness, and even in merrymaking, the coconut is one of the pillars of the Filipino culture
and society. Even the Philippine economy is dependent on the coconut as it is one of the world’s largest exporters of coconut
oil and other raw products.
Unknown to the world, the Philippines has its alcoholic drink – the lambanog or coconut wine. Fermented in clay pots, the lambanog is a strong alcoholic drink that can give the world’s famous alcoholic drinks a run for its money. A great alternative to wine and other liquors in chocolate, the lambanog gives this chocolate praline a surprisingly wonderful kick.
Toiling under the sun is the best way to describe how hardworking the carabao toils the land to
make it suitable for farming and as a mode of transportation in the rural areas. And at the end of the day, a cool dip
into the clear waters of a nearby spring. Dubbed as the best friend of the Filipino farmer, the carabao is an all-around
animal that has been bestowed the honor of being the Philippines’ national animal.
After a hard day’s work, most Filipinos would indulge in sweet dessert like the buko pandan – a refreshing salad of freshly grated coconut(buko) meat and jelly flavored with pandan (screwpine) leaves, an aromatic plant that’s indegenous to the Philippines. Chocolate, flavored with buko pandan is just as refreshing as the dessert itself.
Christmas in the Philippines is celebrated for nearly four months of the year – the longest in
the world. The parol, derived from the Spanish word farol, is a purely Filipino lantern that is shaped like the star
made from bamboo and papel de japon (Japanese paper), is hung on trees, windows during the celebration. From the basic
parol to the more elaborate parols that have synchronized lights – the parol is the best symbol of Christmas in the
Philippines as the Christmas tree is to the Western world.
The cool winds from the north also start blowing during Christmas time, making it a perfect season to be drinking salabat, a ginger brew that keeps you warm. Commonly drank during the cold days of December, the salabat is paired with local rice cakes called bibingka. Infused in in chocolate pralines, the salabat gives a refreshing taste to chocolate, and a hint of Filipino Christmas, too.
One of the best in the world, the Philippines’ beaches have drawn tourists to its talc-like
white sand, pristine waters, and warm smiles. Being one of the most bio diverse marine sanctuaries, Philippine beaches
are not only paradise on the shore but even at 60 feet under with its coral colonies and schools of fish, pod of whales,
and millions of invertebrates. The likes of Boracay, Coron, Amanpulo, Cebu, Bohol, Davao, and 7,100 others make
the Philippines one of the best beach destinations in the world.
As refreshing as its turquoise seas is a local beverage made from local lemons – the kalamansi juice. Sourer than its counterparts, the kalamansi, a native Filipino lemon that has more tang than the average lemon, is sweetened with wild honey to turn it into a refreshing drink that’s truly Filipino. Chocolate flavored with a zest of kalamansi gives it a new flavor that brings memories of sun-kissed skin, salty wind, and the beach to one’s mind.
A tribute to a typical farm life for Filipinos, the bahay kubo is a trademark of the Filipino’s
ingenuity. No other structure is as well ventilated, as flexible, and as sustainable as the bahay kubo. Made of bamboo and
nipa leaves, the bahay kubo is the symbol of the provincial life and culture of Filipinos and bayanihan, a word
that has no direct English translation but means a community coming together to help a neighbor in need. And did
I mention that it could be moved from one place to another by just having a group of men carry it?
Life on the farm is simple and, to most Filipinos, it brings back memories of how childhood summers were – with banana cue, that’s banana deep-fried and coated in caramelized sugar, as afternoon snacks. Bananas play a crucial role in the life of Filipinos as it is one of the highest revenue producing product of the country, being one of the top exporters of Cavendish bananas. The simple crop has transformed many arid and rural communities as it helped millions of Filipinos create better future. The banana puree in the chocolate praline gives the banana flavor and chocolate a fresh but familiar flavor – something that you can’t quite put your finger on but can definitely put a smile on your face.
The American era has brought a lot of influence on Filipino culture, especially in its public
transportation and in their cuisine. The jeeps used by the Americans in the World War II were turned by enterprising Filipinos
into a mode of public transportation – turning dreary war remnants into the colorful, vibrant, and useful public
transportation, a testament of Filipino ingenuity.
And just like how the Americans have left their influence on our public transport, they have done the same in our cuisine. Known as poor man’s sugar, the panotsa was made by a crude milling process – giving it more texture and flavor. Making caramel out of panotsa is a tribute to how Filipino ingenuity can make something Filipino out of American products and how something as American as caramel can be made out of the Filipino panotsa.
Strong Spanish influence remains in the Philippines – from the family names to religion and
cuisine. The kalesa, a horse drawn carriage, was the mode of transportation during the Spanish era by the Spanish noble
blood and the Filipino ilustrados – the affluent, educated Filipinos. A trip to the Philippines would not be complete
without a kalesa ride in one of the historical sites in Intramuros, Vigan, and Binondo.
Leche Flan, or egg custard, was concocted by Filipina women when there was an oversupply of egg yolk as egg whites where used in the construction of grandiose churches by Spanish friars. The Filipino version of crème brulee, the leche flan is the best tribute to the Spanish heritage of the Philippines. A surprise of egg and chocolate ganache is in the heart of this chocolate – just as how the Spanish culture has been embedded into the hearts of Filipinos.
The Philippines’ national flower is the sampaguita, a small, white, wonderfully scented flower
that comes from the Jasmine family. Despite its size, the sampaguita can fill a room with its scent – a fitting symbol
of the purity of the Filipino’s love for their country.The sampaguita is used as lei to welcome dignitaries
in the country and as offering to religious icons.
Just as iconic as the sampaguita is in the Philippine culture, the flower also plays a crucial role in the Chinese culture – the sampaguita is also used in concocting Jasmine tea.The Chinese brought this signature drink to the Philippines during their trade even before the Spanish era. One of the most aromatic and flavorful, the Jasmine tea became the sign of friendship between Filipinos and Chinese immigrants – a testament to the enduring friendship between the two cultures.
Before becoming one of the largest Catholic countries, the Philippines was predominantly Muslim.
The Sarimanok is a testament to the colorful and rich Muslim heritage that is continuously present in the southern part
of the country. A symbol of fortune and prosperity, the Sarimanok is a common feature in the houses of the noble Muslims.
The fish in its beak and in its claws are symbols of the abundance and prosperity of the house where it is displayed.
In Muslim culture, there is a dominant presence of coconut in their cuisine, and one of their more popular desserts is the coconut macaroons or bukayo – which is favorite snack throughout the Philippines. Flavored with coconut flakes, this dark chocolate is a taste of the Muslim culture in the Philippines.
Unlike her foreign counterparts, Darna, a local superhero created by Mars Ravelo, is very Filipino
in the sense that family and community are central to her character. A showcase of the rich Filipino literature of legends
and fables, Darna symbolizes the toughness of the Filipino to stand up for what is right and to fight back when the family,
principles, and the nation is threatened.
Just like Darna, the Muscovado Nougat, made from unprocessed sugar, is a mixture of strong and soft features (caramel,chocolate, mixed nuts). A nod to the Philippines’ sugar industry, which was number one in the world before the onslaught of World War II, the muscovado is a symbol of the strong sugar industry in the country – a title that the country hopes to regain in no time.
The Philippines’ national hero, Jose Rizal was a man of wit, humor, and pizzazz. While he fought
for the equal treatment of his countrymen during the Spanish occupation, he did it with class and in a gentlemanly
demeanor using the pen instead of the sword to send his message across. He once quipped that the “youth is the future of
the nation” a quote that has strongly resonated throughout the country, flaming the fire of patriotism in the hearts of
many, which led to the overthrow of the Spanish conquistadors from the Philippines.
A truly Filipino nut, the piliis indigenous to the Philippines. The pili is also believed to be of high nutritional value, even surpassing the almond and other common nuts. Found in the southern part of Luzon, the pili gianduja gives a fresh flavor to this chocolate praline.
Three stars and a sun represent the major island groups of the Philippines while the rays on the
sun represent the first eight provinces that revolted against Spain. The red in the Philippine flag symbolizes bravery and the
blood that has been shed by the many Filipino heroes, while the blue color symbolizes the nobility of the Filipino
and the seas that surround the country.
Just as bright as the sun and the stars, the Philippine mango is just as stellar with its sweetness – a favorite not only of Filipinos but also of the world over.Considered as having the best and sweetest mangoes in the world, the Guimaras Mango from Iloilo, is a testament to the rich natural resources of the Philippines, especially in its agriculture.
One of the world’s largest archipelagos, the Philippines is composed of 7,107 islands.
Just as many are its languages, cultures, tribes, flavors, and beaches. Aside from the diverse culture, the Filipino
nation is also a treasure trove of talents and ingenuity.
The ube, or purple yam from the taro family, is one of the local root crops that Filipinos have mastered in their kitchens – from being a source of carbohydrate to being dessert or being part of a viand – a true Filipino ingredient. A rich purple color, the ube also shows how rich the Filipino culture is in the kitchen.