With summer just around the corner in the Philippines, the heat will undoubtedly grow more stifling and unbearable. Sweatbeads start to dot your forehead, and you find that a cold glass of water isn’t suffice to cool you down anymore. However, don’t sweat it — because frozen treats are readily available wherever you look. Forget bingsu (Korean shaved ice dessert) and gelato (Italian ice cream), here are local cold sweets that will keep you chilled this season.
Summer isn’t truly complete without eating a bowl of the iconic halo-halo. This shaved ice dessert has grown to be an important part of the Filipino food culture, loved by Filipinos young and old worldwide. No one can deny the deliciousness of this medley of sweet beans, tapioca, gulaman (gelatin), macapuno (coconut strings), with layers upon layers of fine shaved ice, a sweet scoop of ube ice cream, a divine slice of leche flan, drowned in creamy milky goodness.
02 Ice Candy
This frozen treat brings us back to our childhood days spent sucking on ice candies and licking our sticky-sweet fingers after. Whether you like it fruity or milky, ice candy is there to be your icy respite under the unrelenting sun. You can even make one for yourself at home — just pour powdered juice mixture into a slender plastic bag, freeze it for a couple of hours, and you’re good to go.
Sorbetes — the Philippines’ traditional variation of ice cream — is unlike the similarly named sorbet. They are uniquely made from either carabao milk or coconut milk, and are served in sugar cones and even bread buns. Sorbetes are usually peddled by sorbeteros using colorful wooden carts with metallic canisters on the streets, earning the nickname “dirty ice cream.”
04 Sago’t Gulaman
With the glorious sun beaming hot rays down on us, our throats get more and more parched and are in need of something refreshing to drink. Sago’t gulaman — a Filipino beverage made of brown sugar water, gelatin (gulaman), and tapioca pearls (sago) — is always a thirst-quenching hit in the summer.
05 Mais Con Yelo
One of the most popular variations of halo-halo, mais con yelo — made by mixing shaved ice, sweet corn kernels, sugar, and milk — has both the texture and creaminess that make it such a sweet and cooling snack for hot afternoons.