By Ma. Rachel Yapchiongco
It’s the last leg of summer but the heat is still making its presence felt all over the Philippines. In fact, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA) advised the people in the country to take extra precautions against the summer heat. During the hottest time of the day, the temperature averages at 33 to 35 degrees Celsius. Some regions in the country have been experiencing occasional rain showers lately but the summer heat still finds a way to make its presence felt.
When temperatures rise to sizzling hot, Filipinos long for something cool and delicious to quench the dryness of their throats and escape the sweltering heat. One of the top choices to beat the heat is halo-halo.
The sweet and refreshing taste of the halo-halo offers Filipinos a temporary respite from the summer heat. This cool dessert has its way of relieving the dry spell of the moment. This popular local dessert is available all year round in most restaurants but during summer, small halo-halo stands sprout like mushrooms to take advantage of the high demand.
During the months of March, April and May, many Filipinos put up halo-halo stands beside sari-sari stores, street corners and in front of their houses. Enterprising Filipinos know that when temperatures rise, people crave for the colorful mixture of shaved ice, evaporated milk, sugar, and a medley of delicious ingredients.
Halo-halo is classified as a dessert which can be eaten any time of the day. You can enjoy it in the morning, afternoon or night time. You can even have it for midnight snack. That’s how versatile halo-halo is.
Typical ingredients of the halo-halo include caramelized saba (plantain), kamote (sweet potato), boiled kidney beans, red beans, garbanzos, kaong fruit (sugar palm), macapuno (coconut sport), nata de coco, gulaman (jello), langka (jackfruit), cooked sago (tapioca pearls),and pinipig (pounded young rice). The ingredients are placed in a bowl or tall glass and followed with shaved ice. Sugar is added and then topped with (or a combination of) ube (purple yam), leche flan, or ice-cream. Evaporated milk is poured to complete the dessert.
There are other versions of halo-halo. Some have lesser ingredients while others have unique add-ons. I asked people about their favorite halo-halo places and here’s what they had to say.
Celeste, Human resources and marketing professional – “Razon’s halo-halo because of its delicious ingredients.”
Aileen, Bank credit officer – “Razons! Because of the milk and the super crushed ice that they use.”
Jules, Businessman – “Masaya ako with Chowking kasi madaming ingredients. The more ingredients, the merrier.”
Onie – “Halo halo ng asawa ni napo in Poblacion, Malvar! All ingredients are homecooked and cooked perfectly. Not soggy at all! The owner personally prepares each glass plus you see familiar faces and get to listen to town gossip.”
Chats, Homemaker – “Halo halo at Kabigting’s. Has chunks of gatas ng kalabaw pastillas and finely shaved ice. Of course they also use fresh cow’s milk. We love it. I know of 2 branches in QC – Banawe St. and Congressional Ave. I think it originated pa rin in Pampanga, like Razon’s.”
Grech, Homemaker – “When I was young, somewhere in Aplaya in Calamba there is a good place for halo-halo, I forgot what is the name of the owner, basta pag gusto namin kumain ang imik Lang namin “TARA SA APLAYA“. Their ingredients are simple, if I remember it right saging na matamis, sweetened niyog (sorry forgot what it is called), beans and leche flan. And lately Razon’s. That reminds me of Aplaya.”
Karenn, Preschool teacher – “I like the halo halo in Madam Almero’s..! Grabe…it’s up to us kahit gano karami ilagay naming ingredients!!! namiss ko tuloy! Complete ingredients and super creamy!!!”
Cookie, Businesswoman – “Chowking because it’s easy to find. But for out of town, Susie’s in Nepo Mart Angeles Pampanga”
Annamanila, Media consultant – “Aling Taling’s in Pagsanjan Laguna, put up in 1933, is memorable. It must be the only halo-halo in the country served with buwa (tubo) ng niyog and sweet kondol (with the usual leche flan, ube halaya, beans, kaong, etc. etc.) We’ve been there three or four times and always we had to patiently wait our turn. Daming bumibili, daming dumadayo, kaya ang mga orders are for 6, 8, or more glasses. A steal at P65 an order. Hayan, this got me craving for halo-halo. Magyayaya ako bukas … pero ang layo ng Laguna, kaya either sa Kabigting’s or Nathaniel’s na lang.”
Wenchie, Writer – “Razon’s”
Rose, Nurse – “There is this halo-halo booth inside LBN lomi at Marawoy, Lipa.They put kamote, saging saba, pinipig and lots of other ingredients you see at houses that sell halo-halo during summer. But what was totally cool was that when we bought one (40 pesos) it had a “dirty ice cream” topping! I think it was lanka. But they also put leche flan. It was pretty good!”
Pen – “If in Manila, it’s Razon’s… Since I’m here, we go to Chowking.”
Marj, Homemaker – “When I was still there I love to go to Chowking, here its Jollibee.”
Mondy, Production Manager – “Little Quiapo’s. Traditional old style Halo-halo. Sarraaappp!”
Keats, Businessman – “Best halo-halo is in Digman, Bacoor Cavite. Quite far from home but its worth the trip. If you haven’t tried this, then you have not tasted the real halo halo.”
Julie, Special Education teacher – “I heard Chicken Deli’s Halohalo (and there’s a branch near us that we need to visit soon) is different because it does not have leche flan as a topping but it has YEMA. How original. Must try soon!”
Siony, OFW – “halo-halo yong Razon (Guagua)”
Princess, Retired teacher – “fruits on crushed ice smothered with chocolate syrup!”
Mireille, Entrepreneur – “Definitely Razon’s”
Cel, Entrepreneur – “Hubby’s fave is halo-halo in Padre Garcia. It has fried banana.”
Ara, student – “Chowking’s halo halo yummy”
Charissa, entrepreneur – “Razon’s best friend! Mas simple ang ingredients mas masarap. Ang Bulacan may version din daw ng halo-halo with pastillas. Sounds yummy kahit hindi ko pa natitikman.”
Author – “I’ve always enjoyed Chowking halo-halo because it has all the ingredients that I like. This article has triggered my curiosity to try other versions. I think it’s the perfect time to take my spoon outside my comfort zone and try new flavors.”
Photos: “Chowking Halo-halo” by author. Some rights reserved. “Kabigting Halo-halo” by Cess Papas. Used with permission.”Razon’s halo-halo” from Razon’s website.
Rachel Yapchiongco, also known as Rach to her friends, is a Psychology and Marketing Management graduate of De La Salle University. Rachel is a full-time mom to a charming young boy and married to an entrepreneur who has a passion for cooking. She shares parenting experiences and slices of everyday life on her personal blog calledHeart of Rachel.