Top 7 Desserts in the Philippines & Where to Find Them

Top 7 Desserts in the Philippines & Where to Find Them

Get your taste buds ready for some sweet treats, from the ever-famous Buko Pandan to Halo-Halo and Halayang Ube jam.

One good thing about the weather in the Philippines is that you can eat ice-cold desserts all year long. With the perennial summer in the islands, it’s always a treat to get something sweet and refreshing for your taste buds. Filipino food has always had strong flavour—and the desserts are no exception. So, it doesn’t hurt to ask for a glass (or two) of water when you get a serving of these top seven desserts in the Philippines.

1. Buko Pandan from Nathaniels Bakeshop 

philippine desserts

Image credit: Nathaniels

Where to find it: Several branches in Metro Manila

Buko (“Coconut” in Tagalog) might as well be the Philippines’ national fruit. My elementary school teacher said that you can use everything in a buko tree—from the roots to the fruits to the tip of its majestic leaves. Apparently, it’s very good for dessert too. When you visit Nathaniel Bakeshop’s quaint restaurant and have their famous Buko Pandan salad, you’ll see (and taste) that they know how to treat the buko fruit right. Mixed with condensed milk, this sweet and cold dish is enough to make a rainy day feel like a sunny one.

2. Halo-Halo from Razon’s of Guagua 

Image credit: Razon’s

Where to find it: several branches in Metro Manila

Due to my family’s endearing love for the Halo-Halo (which literally means “mix-mix” in Tagalog), we travelled all the way to the northern part of Luzon to Guagua, Pampanga to devour this icy sweet concoction in its hometown restaurant. Halo-Halo is a dessert made up of shaved ice, condensed milk, leche flan, preserved fruit or sweet beans and gelatin. In Razon’s, however, they’ve skipped many of the traditional ingredients and opted for the ice, milk and chopped bananas. They might have added a little sugar here and there, but ultimately, the result is pure goodness.

3. Leche Flan from Bahay ni Tisa 

Image credit: chazzvid

Where to find it: Malolos, Bulacan

My friend, who is a native of Bulacan, suggested this family restaurant to me since I am very picky with this delicate pudding treat. Nothing beats a homemade leche flan (“milk flan”), especially one that is made by your mother. Bahay ni Tisa’s leche flan, however, comes in second best. Its delectable mildly-sweet flavour keeps you wanting for more.  In the end, you are going to have to go through a spoon fight if you are sharing a plate with others.

4. Turon +  Ice Cream from Luna J Filipino Gastropub 

philippine desserts

Image credit: looloo

Where to find it: Tomas Morato, Quezon City

Luna J Filipino Gastropub is a fairly new restaurant in the showbusiness capital of Metro Manila, Quezon City. Its modern take on traditional Filipino food, however, is making it a hit among foodies. While it’s more famous for its savoury dishes, its Turon + Ice Cream dessert is one you shouldn’t miss. The warm spring roll wrapping the thinly sliced bananas inside melts the cold vanilla ice cream perfectly. A bite is quite a sensation of taste and temperature in your mouth.

5. Halayang Ube jam from Good Shepherd Convent 

Image credit: Philstar

Where to find it: Baguio City

A trip to Baguio city, the summer capital city of the Philippines, would not be complete without lining up at the Good Shepherd Convent to get a jar or two of its famous Halayang Ube jam and Strawberry Jam. I remember that a person could only buy a maximum of two jars of Halayang Ube jam per day so as to be able to accommodate the long queue of customers. My parents love the jam preserve because it’s not very sweet so you never get satiated with it. It’s perfect to eat with a bit of leche flan—or maybe gobble it up all on its own.

6. Cathedral Gelatin from Goldilocks 

philippine desserts

Image credit: Goldilocks

Where to find it: several branches in the Philippines

The Cathedral Gelatin from Goldilocks is the grander version of your Jell-O. It is better looking, better tasting and better for sharing. Popularized by Goldilocks, one of the leading bakeshops in the Philippines, it has been a staple in any Filipino gathering. Its bright colours, glossy texture, and creamy sweet taste make it a perfect centrepiece (that will inevitably be wolfed down) on your dining table.

7. Pastel from Vjandep 

philippine desserts

Image credit: Vjandep

Where to find it: Camiguin

The first time I had a bite of this soft bread with yema (“custard”) filling, I knew I was going to throw my calorie chart out the window. It was heaven on my palate. Soon enough, it had become the standard pasalubong (“gift”) from any traveller coming from Camiguin and Cagayan de Oro. Pastel is the Spanish term for cake and VjANDEP (Pronounced with silent “j”) stands for Virgilio Jose & Eleanor Popera, who were the original formulators of this recipe. It is so popular that it became the ethnic product of the region—and will probably be an indispensable treat in your pantry.

About Author

Jihan Estrella
Jihan Estrella

Jihan is a neo-Vancouverite who is enjoying discovering her new "hometown". When she is not getting lost in this beautiful metropolitan, she is busy baking fluffy cakes, knitting warm blankets, biking through beach side trails and Netflix-ing any Anna Kendrick movie. While she has a degree in creative writing, she is (surprisingly) doing graphic design professionally. Currently, she is on the hunt (and saving up) for her next big adventure.


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