The 7,107 islands of the Philippines are rich in cultural traditions, exotic cuisine, and breathtaking views. There’s so much to see in every province! Grand mountains, picturesque sunsets in valleys, charming lakes, and vast oceans are feasts for the eyes, to name a few. It truly is a sight to behold. But the Philippines is more than just breathtaking scenery, it boasts of different regions each with different cuisines and histories. You’ve had your fill of amazing sights, and if you’re feeling the need to eat, we’ve got you covered! Here are the popular must-try dishes in Luzon.
Region I: Ilocos Region (Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, La Union, Pangasinan)
Region I is located northwest of Luzon and is comprised of 4 provinces: Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, La Union, and Pangasinan. The region boasts of delicious food, historical cities, and amazing sights. First timers should visit the Bangui windmills, Calle Crisologo, and Pagudpud beaches.
A food trip around the cities will entail you to try at least one of Ilocos’ signature dishes or most famous food. This includes the Filipino favorite bagnet, or the deep fried chunks of pork. Bagoong-based vegetables in soup are also famous in Ilocos such as the pinakbet and dinengdeng. Sure you could find these at any decent restaurant in Manila, but in Ilocos, the dishes are more authentic and made with fresh ingredients. This is also the home of empanadas and its different variants.
WHERE TO EAT
- Lilong and Lilang Restaurant (Vigan)
- Lampong’s Restaurant (Vigan)
- Café Leona (Vigan)
- Halo-halo de Iloko (La Union)
Cordillera Administrative Region(Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province)
The Cordillera Administrative Region is the only landlocked region in the country with its center being the urbanized Baguio City, the Summer Capital of the Philippines. The region is particularly mountainous with the cold temperatures dropping up to 10°C at the peaks of mountains. Mt. Pulag, the highest mountain in Luzon, is located at the borders between Nueva Vizcaya, Benguet, and Ifugao.
The delicacies of the Cordillera region are highly reflective of their culture. Pinikpikan, one of the region’s signature dishes, requires the chicken to be beaten to death with a stick before cooking. It is believed that the beating spreads the blood and adds more flavor to the meat.
Etag or Itag is salted meat dried the Igorot way, either by drying it under the sun, smoking it, or placing it in an earthen jar underground. This preserves the meat and lengthens its shelf life. They also have Tapey or Tapuey which is native rice wine fermented in a jar. It’s the Igorot version for the Japanese sake, and tastes better the longer it’s fermented.
The abundance of coffee beans makes the Cordillera region home to some of the best Arabica coffee, as coffee lovers might attest. If you’re pretty adventurous, you can try their exotic civet coffee bean commonly known in Tagalog as Kape Alamid. These are coffee beans made from the feces of the civet cat. You don’t need to worry because these animals eat only clean ripe berries.
WHERE TO EAT
- Farmer’s Daughter (Baguio)
- Hill Station (Baguio)
- Yoghurt House (Sagada)
- Gaia Cafes and Crafts (Sagada)
Region 2: Cagayan Valley(Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino)
Cagayan Valley is the second largest region in the country and is a breathtaking combination of mountains, valleys, and the ocean. It’s filled with historical spots, churches, and peaceful beaches. If you’re planning a trip to one of the most beautiful places in the country, check out Cagayan Valley’s Palaui Island, Callao Cave, Basco Lighthouse, and Tuguegarao Cathedral.
The thriving and abundant tilapia industry of the Cagayan Valley helped it earn its name as the Tilapia Capital of the Philippines. Their signature dishes include ginataang alimasag (crab cooked in coconut milk), a dish boasting of the largest type of crab you’ll ever see and has the best tasting juicy meat.
Pancit batil patung is a Tuguegarao original which literally means mix (batil) and top or topping (patung). The noodle dish is topped with generous portions of ground carabao beef, various vegetables including bean sprouts, and eggs. You can’t miss out on a plate of pancit batil patung if you’re planning a visit! The flavorful Tuguegarao longganisa that’s salty, garlicky, and tangy all at once is another specialty.
WHERE TO EAT
Region 3: Central Luzon(Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales)
Tags: food & drink