The Philippines

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands located east of the Southeast Asian mainland. More than 300 species of edible fruits and nuts are found in the country. It is customary in all three major regions—Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao—to end a meal with a selection of locally available fruits in season. Among the most popular fruits are mango, atis (sugar apple), lanzones, bananas, and citrus fruits like dalandan (native orange) and suha (pomelo)—fruits that are meant to be enjoyed in their naturally ripened state. The tradition of dessert as the last course of a meal is more Western than Asian. In the Philippines, the native way of eating is viewed not as a progression of courses but as a display of both savory and sweet dishes that allows the diner to visually plan how to allocate “stomach space” to the meal at hand. It was only after 350 years of Spanish colonial rule, and 50 more of American that the Western notion of postre (the Spanish term for after-dinner sweets) and the serving of American cakes and pies for dessert finally made their way into the Filipino mindset.