Ginger Paws Outdoors

The Taste of Summer in the Philippines

Summer is the season for everyone who is yearning for the sun, the sun worshippers as they’re labeled. It’s the school break for the students and a great time for the employees to make use of their VLs (vacation leaves). The time when beaches and hotel resorts are overcrowded by groups of friends, families and company employees. The moment to show off your “beach body” that you worked hard for the whole year round, and of course, the season of getting a sexy tan line!

the taste of summer in the Philippines

Summer does not transpire at the same time of the year in the whole world. Honestly, I didn’t know this until I experienced living in South Korea. I thought all Asian countries have their summer in the same month. Well, I know that the summer in the US is from June to September, as well as the other Western countries. and I just found out that New Zealand’s summer is not the same as the US or UK (thanks to my mum-in-law!) (Oh come on Gracie! You wanted to travel across the whole world yet you didn’t bother to look at the seasons of those countries? I know, I know… sorry, my bad).

Philippine’s summer starts around March until May. Sometimes you could already feel the summer heat around the last week of February. However, it is still the weather bureau that announces the official date of the summer, of course, that’s according to their weather forecasts. I remember when they announced it last month, I was like, “Seriously?! It’s been more than 30° Celsius since February, and you’re telling us that April is the ‘official’ summer?” Anyway, summer is summer; the sun is the sun! And that means summer getaways!


When I was a kid, I always long for the last day at school, as it is the sign for us that it is already summer! No troubles in waking up in the morning to go to school, we can stay late at night, more time to play, going to the beach or swimming pool with friends, and of course, the food we can only eat during summer!

So here are some of my favorite summer foods that I grew up with!

 

Manga (Mango)

indian mango

Indian Mango

Mango is one of my favorite fruits during summer. This is the season when you can buy it cheaper. You can see some of it in the supermarket around December to February but expect that the price is a total rip-off.

I’m not talking about just ripe (yellow) mangoes here! Most Filipinos love eating green (unripe) mangoes. Yep, you read it right! weird, eh? and we love it dipped in cooked shrimpIndian Mango paste. Again… weird, eh? The sour taste of the green mango complements the salty, sweet and spicy (optional) flavor of the shrimp paste. ( Goodness! I’m drooling right now as I write this article!). As a matter of fact, it’s not just a Filipino thing. I’ve read that some parts of South-East Asia also have the same thing about green mangoes and shrimp paste.

Additionally, there are many varieties of mangoes that you’ll find in the Philippines. My favorite is the Indian mango. I have no idea if it came from India, but all I know is that it is not too sour, which suits my taste buds! You can also easily find them in someone else’s backyard!

 

Duhat (Java Plum)

duhat or black plum

Duhat trees bear fruits around March and April. This fruit brings a lot of memories from my childhood! My great grandfather used to have trees of Duhat near his rice fields. I used to climb that tree together with my cousins and get some fruits. Sometimes we put it straight into our mouth, or we place it in a plastic bag then bring it home. On a plate, we’ll dash a bit of rock salt to it! I remember one time when our great grandfather chased us with a stick because we almost emptied the entire tree. Later at home, our grandmother nagged us the whole day because our shirts were stained by the purple (almost black) color of the fruits. So yeah, it is very memorable to me.

The taste of Duhat may vary sometimes. It could be sweet when it is ripe (the color is dark purple to black) or a bit of sour and acrid when it is still light purple.

 

Camachile

camachile or manila tamarind

Camachile is also known as Pithecellobium Dulce (what?!). Though I’m not too keen on this one (I hate the smell), but this is also another fruit-bearing tree that’s nostalgic for me. Again… we used to get Camachile during summer vacation (still owned by my great grandfather) when I was a kid. And oh yes! Same scenarios, with running around and chasing us with a stick! However, this type of tree is difficult to climb at because the branches are jagged.

 

Singkamas (Turnips)

singkamas or turnips

Another favorite during summer is the turnips! I can eat this for a whole week! This root crop is famous during summer because its watery taste helps replenish the thirst from the summer heat. It is also good with shrimp paste or just a bit of salt to add a taste. Sometimes, I soak it with cane vinegar, ground pepper, and chilies.

 

Mani (Peanuts)

Mani or peanuts

Another seasonal food here in the Philippines is the peanut! You might see some of it the whole year round, but the harvesting season for it is around April; that’s when you’ll see them in piles when you visit public markets.

When I was a kid, whenever we have our Visita Iglesia during Semana Santa, we never fail to buy a bag of freshly steamed peanuts. I just need to be careful eating it though, allergens attack at wrong places sometimes. Even so, I really love peanuts! Good thing it doesn’t give me severe allergies when I eat in moderation.

 

Pakwan (Watermelon)

watermelon

Summer won’t be complete without watermelons! This juicy and mouthwatering fruit is very popular every summer (not only in the Philippines, I guess). Just like mangoes, you may see some of it all year round, but it may be pricey or it could be imported from other countries.

I always order watermelon shake when I go to restaurants. However, during this season, I don’t have to go there just to have a taste of it. You can buy it in the supermarkets, public markets and on the side of the road!

It also has varieties like the red ones which could be plain dark green or striped light green on the outside with a round shape. And there’s my favorite which is yellow inside but has the oval shape.

 

Halo-Halo

halo-halo special

Philippine’s most popular summer comfort food, Halo-Halo, may be found in some restaurants and fast food chains anytime. However, during summer, you can find tiny stalls selling this on the streets.

Halo-Halo has different ingredients like sweet beans (black beans and/or kidney beans), tapioca, jelly, coconut, sweet potato, sweetened banana, sweet corn, sugar, and sweetened jackfruit. Of course, it won’t be complete without the two main ingredients which are the evaporated milk and crushed or shaved ice. To make it more special, they top it with a bit of sweetened purple yam and leche flan. Ice cream on top is optional, too!

There’s also another type of this dessert. Mais con Hielo, which has crushed ice, milk, sugar and sweet corn and Banana con Hielo, which has the same ingredients except it has the (of course) banana instead of corn. These two are a bit cheaper than the Halo-Halo that has loads of ingredients.

 

the taste of summer in the Philippines

Filipinos love to eat, and Philippine’s summer foods are something that you should not miss when you visit around March to May. Of course, don’t forget to explore the beautiful islands and beaches of the country while tasting the summer of the Philippines!

 

Do you have summer comfort foods in your country? What is your favorite?

 

 

 

About Gracie Gill

A hobbyist photographer enjoying her life through arts, music, traveling and getting fit. A proud crazy cat lady.

42 thoughts on “The Taste of Summer in the Philippines

  1. Shobha Keshwani

    In India too it is the same weather around this time of the year.. and also the mango season. I love them too. I have never heard of the fruit Duhat that you have mentioned..
    The summer dish shown above looks interesting with a combination of so many things. I bet it must be quite cool and filling too.

  2. Nicole Anderson

    I must admit my favorite from this list would have to be mango – ripened that is. This is the first time I have heard of people eating it before it is ripe and that dish combining this with the shrimp…now that is something I will have to try! Watermelon is also nice and refreshing in summer.

    1. Gracie Gill Post author

      My husband think it’s weird. Surprisingly, green mango with shrimp paste is very appealing to a lot of Filipino women during pregnancy!

  3. Noblandmakeup

    My friends mom was from the Philippines and one thing I always loved was that her food was always so colorful. One day I need to go to the Philippines and try it out from the source.

  4. Siddhartha Joshi

    That’s interesting and it was something new for me as well…in India also some parts start experiencing summer heat in March, though I think it’s still officially spring.

    By the way I love mangoes too…one of the reasons to welcome summers here 🙂

  5. Khushboo

    For me, summer means Alphonso mangoes, gola (ice candy) and eating lots of watermelon granita! I guess we both share a common love for a lot of summery things 🙂

  6. Chittra M

    Woww.. am literally drooling. most of these are similar to that of India with little variation here and there. I love raw mango too.. I like it with salt and chilly powder. but Shrimp paste!! now that is something I have to try!!

  7. divsi

    Your post got me all nostalgic. From plucking raw mangoes in orchards to gorging on litchis with their juice squirting all over. Watermelons and peanuts are a hit in India too. So good to see similar things across cultures!

  8. Punita Malhotra

    Such a different variety of fruit. Summer and cool fruits go so well together. But I’ve never heard of beans with ice cream! By the way, Indian mangoes come with at least a dozen tastes and names.

  9. Joanna

    The halo halo sounds like a delicious dessert with a lot of vitamins in it from the fruits. I am not a fan of mango but maybe that’s because I have only tried Europe’s supermarket ones, which don’t seem to be ripen enough. It’s good to hear that in summer in the Philippines you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. The watermelon is definitely a great way to refresh yourself on a hot summer day.

  10. Paulina

    Ultimately I read so many wonderful posts on the Philippines. This is one of them. All of them really make me want to travel to Philippines. It looks like heaven on earth!And OMG this ice-cream

  11. Anne

    I love mango – one of my favourite summer foods. I’ll have to admit, I never thought of turnips as a summer food initially, but you’re right…they have a very distinct flavour that perfectly matches summer. Banana con Hielo sounds very interesting too! I’m a sucker for anything sweet.

  12. Vicki Louise

    I would not have thought of Turnips as a summer food! I’m curious to know what they taste like now – especially if they are so good you could eat them for a week! I think I tried Halo Halo too when we were in Asia – but i’d love to try it again!

  13. Hang Around The World

    I have never been in the Philippines but if this place offers all these delicious things I can’t miss it. I have a passion for watermelon and I’d like to taste the famous Halo-Halo!! Only good foods. – Amalia

  14. Cat Lin

    There are so many delicious fruits in the Philippines! My favourite is the mango for sure! On my honeymoon I had Halo Halo for the first time and I loved it! I have never tried Duhat though, I will need to try that next time!

  15. Sabs

    LOL, I never knew that the Philippines had a summer season. I always thought it was summer all year there. I would love to try the Camachile, interesting shape.

    1. Gracie Gill Post author

      Yes, we only have two seasons, wet and dry😊 dry is summer and wet is the rainy season when typhoons come every week 😑 usually starts around June until December.

  16. Astrid Vinje

    I love halo-halo! I spent my childhood in Indonesia, so most of these foods are familiar to me. Thanks for taking me back to those memories of Southeast Asia!

  17. Only By Land

    I must confess I am a winter person, I prefer a cold day to a hot day. There are some unique fruits in the Philippines, I love mangoes, moreso the yellow mangoes. I’d love to try some of the Halo Halo you mentioned, it looks super sugary!

  18. Fillia

    Mango and Turnip are my fav. I used to live in the Philippines and am a big fan of halo halo. We have similar dish in Indonesia..we call it Es Campur.

  19. Juliette | Snorkels to Snow

    I wish my summers started the way you described especially with a beach body ha ha! But seriously I love summer fruits especially mango! When we lived in Fiji we loved mangos, pawpaws and passionfruit in particular. Currently in NZ and loving tamarillos!

  20. Riely

    It’s true that the summer really does bring up a flood of memories based on the foods we ate or eat during the season. I did not know that sipping green mangos into shrimp paste was a thing in South East Asia. At first thought, it is perplexing, but I am sure it tastes great! Halo-Halo is also a new dish to me. It’s great to learn of other countries seasonal dishes!

  21. Taiss Togethertowherever

    I already really want to visit Philippines and now with this yummy post I can’t wait to go one day! There are some things you mention that I had not heard of before so it’s good to know. I love dessert and fruit so I’ll be saving this post and referring to it when I go to the Philippines!

  22. Adrenaline Romance

    Ahh, summer in the Philippine is the best. The halo-halo really quenches thirst, no matter how severe it is. And oh, those sinkamas! I remember when we were kids; after school, we sneaked in a nearby farm to “steal” their sinkamas. Hehehe!

  23. Chiara

    I love summer 🙂 The philippines looks like those places where the sun shines all year round and I would love to live there, reading your post made me know more about the place.

  24. Sandy N Vyjay

    Most of the fruits you mentioned are my favourites. We too experience summer from march to May in India but we welcome Mangoes of all varieties with open hands. We just don’t get tired having mangoes! We apply little salt and chilly powder and eat those raw mangoes and also prepare mango pickles. 🙂

  25. Stephanie Fox

    As someone who has always wanted to go to the Philipines this post is so useful in terms of when to go! And I dont think I ever appreciated the food that would be on offer! Still top of my bucket list thanks for the insight

  26. Claudia Blanton

    mangos and peanuts, and I am in love! Of course not eating together, lol, but this sounds so yummy! I have never been anywhere even close to the Philippines, but the foodie in me is curious, thanks for post, blessings!

  27. thecuratedlab

    I can have boiled peanuts anytime of the year and some varieties of Mango truly kicks my taste buds.. I also can’t live without Lychees.. those soft milky white sour and sweet fruits are nostalgic

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