Traditional Filipino Tropical Recipes: Summer is Only a Dessert Away


I was lucky enough to have been born in a country with nice, tropical weather. So for this post, I was inspired to goback to my roots and share a few recipes that completely embody the beautiful islands of the Philippines. This may come as a surprise for some readers, but the Philippines can get pretty cold. During the rainy season, which is summer in the U.S., it gets to be as low as 50 degrees. Obviously, this seems like nothing for people who have seen snow. That being said, here are a few easy-to-make traditional Filipino recipes that can transform winter to warm in minutes.

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Avocado with Milk Recipe

In the Philippines, we like to bring out the sweetness of the avocado and showcase it through a dessert. When I was younger, I would never even dare to taste the avocado with milk dessert. The truth is, it’s not going to look appetizing no matter how you make it. Overall, it just looks like a pile of green mush. Yes, I was and still am one of those who eats with my eyes, but it definitely tastes a million times better than it looks. Once the avocado mixes in with the milk and sugar, it absorbs so much sweetness, while still maintaining the airiness of the fruit. On the plus side, the natural use of ingredients makes it a lighter, healthier dessert option. Also, the best part is that this dish takes no more than 5 minutes to make.


1 avocado
½ cup milk (choice of milk is up to you; dish is typically paired with sweetened condensed milk, but consider soy milk or almond milk as healthy alternatives)
½ a tsp. of white sugar
crushed ice


Slice the avocado into long, thick strips or cubes.  Add the milk.  Sprinkle a little bit of sugar on top. Mix in the crushed ice.

Tip: This dish is always better served chilled, so keep the avocados in a dish of ice ahead of time.

Cantaloupe Juice Recipe

This is a typical drink that can be made during hot, summer days in the Philippines. If you ask me, it can be just as refreshing any day of the week. Minus the shredding of the cantaloupe, this drink will be one of the simplest and easiest you will ever make. All it takes is a little mixing and you’re all set.


1 cantaloupe
8 cups water (depends on how much of the melon flavor you want to bring out)
1 cup sugar (add more if needed)


Cut the cantaloupe in half. Spoon out the middle part of the fruit (where the seeds are) and set aside.Scrape out the rest of the cantaloupe into strips into a pitcher.Add the water, sugar, and ice. Squeeze the remaining juices from the middle part of the cantaloupe into a strainer, making sure none of the seeds fall into the mixture.  Mix ingredients and taste.

Tip: Sometimes you may need to add more sugar to the drink because the sweetness of each cantaloupe varies.

Halo-Halo Recipe

This is the king of all desserts in the Philippines. If there is one recipe you need to try, it is definitely this one. Halo-Halo is a mixture of the nation’s most favorite sweet treats and has become a representation of Filipino culture.

This dessert is a great way to bring people together. My mom has become obsessed with the idea of halo-halo dessert parties, so she gathers all of our closest friends and family together at least once a month to enjoy this delectable dessert. This type of dessert party is pretty easy to set up. All you need to do is lay out of all of the ingredients along the table with tall, empty glasses at the end. Then simply have everyone start layering and mixing all of their favorite treats together. The best halo-halos are the most creative ones. In my opinion, this dessert should reflect you, so make it the way you like it. It may take a couple tries to know exactly what you want, but experimenting and trying new things makes it that much more fun. The pinipig and evaporated milk are my two personal favorites, so I always add twice as much of both in my halo-halo.

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1 tbsp. corn kernels
1 tbsp. sweet yams
1 tbsp. thinly-sliced jackfruit
1 tbsp. (canned or peeled)
1 tbsp palm nuts
1 tbsp kidney beans
1 tbsp sweetened garbanzo beans
2 tsp pinipig (rice flakes)
1 tbsp sliced bananas
1 tbsp fresh or canned shredded coconut
2 cups shaved ice (used to absorb flavors and milk, will not work with cubed ice)
1 cup evaporated milk
1 scoop Ube (yam) or any flavor of your favorite ice cream


Add the shaved ice at the bottom.  Layer the rest of the ingredients into a large bowl or tall glass, drizzling the evaporated milk on top. Place the scoop of Ube (yam) or any flavor of your favorite ice cream on top. Add a slice of flan on top. Homemade flan is always good to use, but if time is an issue…there are always packaged flan in the stores. The other layers of flavor will compensate for the store bough flan. Sprinkle two teaspoons of the pinipig (rice flakes) on top for some crunch!

By bingbing from Quezon City, Philippines (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


Want more traditional Filipino recipes? Check out our Pinterest board for endless cooking inspiration!

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