PHOTOGRAPHY CULTURE FOOD ART & A BOX OF LIFE FULL OF SURPRISES

Sweet Sunday Treat – Beautiful Sunday

Sweet Sunday Treat – Beautiful Sunday

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108

The weather has been weird lately, the rain comes and goes. From one area the sun is up and shining but on another place the sky is dark and raining. Well I hoped that it does not rain when we go out as we have been craving for a popular Philippine dessert. A treat so popular and some of you might even have heard about it. The dessert called Halo – Halo which is a culture in a glass. Come with me today as I take you with me to one of the most famous places to enjoy Halo – Halo.

Sweet Sunday Treat

This dessert can be found all over the country but the place we are going to is very popular. Some people even comes a long way just to be able to taste this treat. Well for us it would take around 45 minutes to reach this restaurant, a small time to spend on the bus just to satisfy our craving. We took the first bus we saw and it was a pleasant ride as there was no traffic. But it was not the only ride we needed to take to get there. We had to take another ride as the route is different from the main road. Well the second ride just took around almost ten minutes. Last time I have been to this place is when I was very young. We had an old Willy’s jeep to get here which was from a U.S. base. My grandpa bought it from the base when they were about to leave the country. My grandpa loved this place and it was a priceless memory spending time with the family here. Now the problem was it has been so long I forgot where it was. Good thing at this time and age there are a lot of mobile apps to get you where you are going. If you are old fashioned what better way is to have a conversation and ask the driver. That I did, kept my phone in my pocket and chatted with the driver. He was very nice and dropped us near the place. Not only that he told us about how cheap the mussels and oysters are in the area. Something that we would need to check out some other time.

We walked a little bit and got to Barangay Digman where there are a lot restaurants offering the Halo – Halo. Different snacks and desserts are offered but one thing in common, all offers the Halo – Halo. I tried to recall the place the we frequented with my grandpa. It was a very long time ago but I had to try to remember.

Everything seems so different but I wanted to find the place so bad. Maybe it would all come back to me once I see it.

One word I recalled that my grandpa said was “The Original”. The first one we saw had the words “Original and Famous.” I said to myself, “I think this might be it.” I peered inside but somehow it did not feel right, there was no nostalgic feeling, like it was the first time I have been to this place. We walked a little bit more and maybe the sight of the place would come back to me.

Then after a left turn on the corner, I saw “Original Digman”. The store front was familiar and I think this is where we went to. We used to park the old Willy’s jeep near this place. One way to find out is by going inside.

The moment I stepped in I had that nostalgic feeling and memories started to flood in. The tables were not arranged this way but I was sure this was the place. It does not look much and not a lot of people during this time. But some customers travels a long way just to get here. Even celebrities and popular political figures have visited this area.

Now for the Halo – Halo and you have the option to order regular or special. Of course we wanted special who wouldn’t. The special costs 75 pesos or around $1.40 and the conversion here is 50 pesos for 1 USD. If you would like to know more about the food on the menu just let me know. But today we focus on the Halo – Halo and we are ordering nothing else.

The word Halo means to mix, and Halo – Halo when translated means Mix – Mix. It does not sound like a dessert when translated. Anyway the place is known for the 12 ingredients included in the dessert. All the ingredients are added together, topped with shaved ice and poured with condensed milk. I’ll go thru the ingredients which are included and try to give you a little bit of information of each.

SAGO

Something that looks like tapioca. Uncooked sago looks like tiny pearls, when cooked increases in size and becomes spongy. Other desserts are also made from the sago, mixed with dissolved sugar, pearl shake and a lot more. Fun to eat especially when added to desserts.

SWEETENED BANANA

One way of preserving food is by sweetening it. The banana used here is called Saba which is a variety of banana that has a thicker skin. This variety is often used for cooking in a lot of our local dishes.

GULAMAN

This is actually gelatin which is colored red for aesthetics purposes. Adding color makes a treat more fun to eat. Aside for the red gelatin they also had a green colored gelatin which is also added into the mix.

MONGGO

These are monggo beans or mung beans that has been cooked and sweetened. I believe this is the red variant the green variant is often used for cooking.

SWEETENED LANGKA

Langka is jackfruit and is cooked and sweetened to make it last longer. It can be eaten on its own, cooked or fresh an amazing fruit. The unripe langka can be cooked with coconut milk and makes up a delicious Philippine dish don’t forget the chili.

LECHE FLAN

To make the leche flan it would take a lot of egg yolks mixed with condensed milk. This is my wife’s favorite dessert and she kept on asking me if we could get an order of it. I think they only had this specially made for the Halo -Halo.

UBE HALAYA

Now this is one dessert that our family could proudly say that we have a very good recipe. Inherited from my great grandma. We cook this during fiestas every second Sunday of November. I did a post last year about it and feel free to check if your are interested Sweet Purple Dreams.

How may purple food would you know? I guess not a lot.

SWEETENED KIDNEY BEANS

Another treat that can be enjoyed on its own. I know you might think that all the ingredients are sweetened. Don’t worry the shaved ice and milk all balances it down.

MAKAPUNO

The normal coconut has a thin layer of meat inside but this type of coconut has thicker meat. Almost taking up the whole inside of the coconut. We used to have a coconut tree that grew this type of coconut. The meat is shredded into strings and sweetened.

GARBANZOS

Chickpeas cooked and yes you guessed it sweetened. Often can be seen here during fiesta but also used in cooking as and ingredient with meat dishes. My grandma used to make this somehow no one was able to pick up how she prepared it.

Now after sharing with you all the ingredients, we just need to wait a couple of minutes for our order to be served. While waiting let me just share with you this glass cabinet with a Saint filled with bills. I believe it is for good luck for the business. Most of the cash I think is from the customers. Maybe used to ask for a wish or something when putting in a bill. I should have dug deeper and asked the staff about it.

Just look at all those bills from different countries, which tells that a lot of foreigners might have visited this place.

Just after a couple of minutes our order arrived. I mentioned that we were not going to order anything else but it was hard to resist not ordering noodles and siopao which is Chinese steamed pork bun.

My wife has already gone ahead and have started to dig in.

What makes this special is the final ingredient, which is the ube or purple yam ice cream on top. If you just ordered regular no ice cream for you. The glasses  includes a long spoon to help you mix the dessert thoroughly. The proper way of eating it is mixing all the ingredients very well together including the ice cream. Some prefer to eat the ice cream first, but it is best to mix it in as it adds flavor.

This is a well mixed Halo – Halo and is ready to be eaten. The taste somehow resembles a milkshake with a lot of delicious ingredients. Other versions from different places uses crushed ice which is not very good. You get bits of large pieces of ice that makes it less enjoyable to eat. Shaved ice is something that is not practiced a lot anymore. It takes a bit of work shaving the ice from a block. But here it is still done which what makes it special.

From the other Halo – Halo that we tried there are always left overs. This was very different and I felt like I was a kid again just enjoying every spoonful of sweet goodness. The feeling that you have when you enjoying something from your childhood is priceless.

It did not take long for me to finish this treat, up to the last drop and morsel of the ingredients. Same goes with my wife she said that she normally does not finish a serving but this was very delicious. Everything goes very well together and I am confident enough to say that this is a must try for everyone.

Thanks for joining me today and I hope you enjoyed this sweet treat on the pleasant Sunday. Also just to mention if you notice that meat on the stick. It is pork barbecue that we ordered after finishing the Halo – Halo and it was also absolutely delicious.

Have a good evening, morning or afternoon wherever you are.

Let me know what you think and hope to see you again.

Official page

Original Digman Halo-halo

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All photos are original and taken with

Lumix GX85 and 12-32 mm