Iloilo is synonymous with beautiful churches, Dinagyang (the annual religious and cultural festivities that honor Sto. Niño), orgasmic cuisine and pasalubong that celebrate the rich Ilonggo culture. Before we feast on the pasalubong, I will write a short historical background. Iloilo was once the most important Spanish settlement outside Manila mainly because of Iloilo’s booming textile and sugar industries. The abundance of sugar in Iloilo may be the reason why its pasalubong are generally sweet. Also, Ilonggos are stereotyped as the sweetest Filipinos. We can say, “nainit na gid ako sa imo. Patyon ko ikaw karon!” (You are pissing me off. I am going to kill you.) and make it sound like we are saying “I love you very much”. 🙂
For related entries, please read Pasalubong – Iloilo, Part II, Cream Horn, and Cream Horn – Reunited and It Feels so Good.
I will start with the sweetest among the Ilonggo pasalubong, but the rest will be posted in no particular order.
Merengue. Its ingredients include flour, butter, sugar, eggs and milk. Merengue is very sweet, and most people can eat only a couple before giving up. I know someone who can eat the contents of an entire bag of merengue in 15 minutes or less. Not me.
Merengue or “white kisses” (because they are shaped like Kisses chocolates)
Barquillos. Its ingredients are flour, sugar, eggs and shortening. Barquillos are perfect on their own or with ice cream.
Bañadas. Bañadas contains baking powder, cornstarch, confectionary sugar, eggs, cake flour and refined sugar. It is sweet but not as sweet as merengue.
Buttertoast. One of my favorite food-on-the-go. Its ingredients are flour, sugar and shortening.
Ugoy-ugoy. Ugoy-ugoy has flour, sugar, eggs and shortening.
Galletas. Galletas has flour, sugar, eggs and shortening. Galletas is not as sweet relative to the other Ilonggo pasalubong. It goes well with coffee or any drink.
Pili tart. They are wondefully sticky with a hint of sweetness.
Butterscotch. It has flour, butter, sugar, eggs, and nuts. My go-to pasalubong because they are great for sharing with friends. They come in different variants: original, mango, pineapple and prunes, among others.
Piaya. It is a flatbread with with muscovado filling. It tastes great cold or warm. I prefer my piaya microwaved for 10 seconds so the muscovado filling melts and oozes out of the bread.
Tablea. Cacao-based chocolate that is perfect for simbang gabi (night mass or misa de gallo) or any cold day. Just add milk and heat. I want my cup of tablea chocolate to be as thick as possible.
These tableas are from my hometown. ☺ They smell and taste wonderful.
This box is flown in from Iloilo, and it contains happiness and love. ☺
Next time you visit Iloilo, do not forget to bring home some of these sweet sensations.