By using our website, you agree to the use of our cookies.

Food & Drink

Beat the Heat: Top 7 Filipino Desserts to Enjoy This Summer

Beat the Heat: Top 7 Filipino Desserts to Enjoy This Summer


Summer in the Philippines is not for the faint of heart. With temperatures soaring higher than your favorite teleserye’s ratings, there’s only one way to keep cool and sweet: indulging in our deliciously famous Filipino desserts. Kahit na anong init, our cold treats can give any aircon a run for its money!

Filipinos have a sweet tooth like no other. Our love for desserts is as strong as our love for karaoke, and you know that’s saying something! In our culture, desserts are not just the cherry on top of a meal, but they’re also the glue that holds our family gatherings and celebrations together. From fiestas to birthdays, binyagan to kasalan, no event is complete without something sweet to round it off. You know you’re at a Pinoy party when there’s a dessert table that can rival a smorgasbord of ulam!

Now, when it comes to summer, our Filipino desserts really shine like the sun that’s been scorching our balat! They’re the perfect combination of cold, sweet, and refreshing, with flavors that can transport you straight to the beach, even if you’re stuck in EDSA traffic. Hindi lang panghimagas, these desserts have superpowers that can make you forget about the init and bring the whole barkada together for a sweet and satisfying experience. So, buckle up and get ready to beat the heat with these Filipino dessert wonders!


Best Halo Halo in Metro Manila

Description and Ingredients

Ah, halo-halo, the ultimate Pinoy dessert that embodies our “more is more” philosophy. A hodgepodge of ingredients that seems like they attended a fiesta in your glass, and each one decided, “O, sama-sama na tayo dito!” With shaved ice, evaporated milk, and a colorful array of fruits, beans, jellies, and leche flan, this dessert is the epitome of “sabaw,” but in the best way possible. Who knew that mixing so many things together could create a taste so divine? It’s like a beautiful chaos that works, just like our beloved Manila traffic.

Read next: The Ultimate Guide to the 5 Best Halo Halo in Metro Manila

Variations and Regional Differences

Of course, being the creative Pinoys that we are, we can’t just settle for one version of halo-halo. In different regions of the Philippines, you’ll find unique twists that make our local dessert even more special. There’s the Razon’s-style halo-halo, which keeps things simple yet elegant, and the Negrense version with its pièce de résistance, the silky-smooth homemade ube ice cream. It’s like an “Encantadia” of halo-halo variations, and we’re here for it!

How to Make Halo-Halo at Home

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to create your own halo-halo masterpiece, it’s as easy as 1-2-3! First, gather all your ingredients. You can mix and match to your heart’s content, just like assembling a Pinoy “voltes-five” robot. Don’t forget the crushed ice and evaporated milk! Then, layer them in a tall glass or a deep bowl (or even a tabo, if you want to go full Pinoy), and finally, top it all off with a generous scoop of ice cream or leche flan. Voilà! You’ve just created your own halo-halo that would make even Lola proud.

When it comes to halo-halo, there’s no shortage of places where you can enjoy this delightful treat. From humble carinderias to high-end restaurants, the Philippines is truly the land of halo-halo. Some crowd favorites include Razon’s of Guagua, Aling Foping’s Halo-Halo in Davao, and of course, the iconic Chowking, which has become the go-to spot for a quick halo-halo fix. You can even find halo-halo stands in malls, so you can shop ’til you drop and then recharge with this sweet concoction. It’s a win-win situation, pare!


filipino desserts

Description and Ingredients

Sorbetes, or as we lovingly call it, the “Pinoy ice cream,” is like a cold hug from your favorite tito or tita. Made with coconut milk or carabao milk instead of cow’s milk, it has a unique texture and taste that sets it apart from its foreign counterparts. Plus, it’s often served in a pandesal or a sugar cone, making it the perfect merienda to enjoy while you stroll around Luneta or catch up on the latest chismis with your kapitbahay.

Traditional vs. Modern Flavors

The flavors of sorbetes are as diverse as the cast of a Pinoy teleserye. You have the classics like ube, mango, and cheese that have been loved by generations, and then you have the modern, innovative flavors that challenge our taste buds, like dragon fruit, tinutong na kanin, and even chili! It’s a flavor adventure that rivals an episode of “Ang Probinsyano” in terms of twists and surprises.

The “Dirty Ice Cream” Misconception

Some people call sorbetes “dirty ice cream,” but let’s set the record straight: there’s nothing dirty about it, bes! The term comes from the fact that it’s often sold by street vendors, but the truth is, sorbetes is just as clean and delicious as any other ice cream. It’s time to give our local treat the respect it deserves, just like how we treat our favorite Jollibee Chickenjoy!

How to Make Sorbetes at Home

If you’re feeling extra crafty and want to whip up your own batch of sorbetes, it’s as easy as making your favorite sinaing! All you need are coconut milk or carabao milk, sugar, and your choice of flavoring. Heat the milk and sugar until the sugar dissolves, add the flavor, and let it cool before churning it in an ice cream maker or doing it the old-fashioned way with a malamig na palayok and some elbow grease. Before you know it, you’ll have a homemade sorbetes that can rival Manong Sorbetero’s!

Sago’t Gulaman

Description and Ingredients

Sago’t gulaman is like the love team of Philippine summer beverages, with the two starring ingredients destined to be together on-screen, or rather, in your glass. This refreshing concoction is made with sago pearls (the tiny, chewy balls that are like the love child of rice and tapioca) and gulaman (our local version of jelly, made from agar-agar). Add some brown sugar syrup and crushed ice, and you have a drink that’s as comforting as a hug from your nanay after a long day under the sun.

Health Benefits of Sago and Gulaman

While sago’t gulaman may not be the poster child for health food, it does have some redeeming qualities. For one, the sago pearls are a good source of carbohydrates and can provide a quick energy boost – perfect for when you need some extra pep in your step for that impromptu videoke session. Gulaman, on the other hand, is made from agar-agar, which is known for its fiber content and ability to keep you feeling full longer. So, it’s not all just fun and games, this dynamic duo has a serious side too!

How to Make Sago’t Gulaman at Home

Feeling the thirst for some sago’t gulaman? You can easily make it at home, just like a true Pinoy alchemist! First, cook the sago pearls according to the package instructions (hint: it’s like cooking pasta, but with more patience) and prepare the gulaman by dissolving it in water and letting it set. Once they’re ready, chop the gulaman into cubes and assemble your drink by adding the sago, gulaman, and some crushed ice in a glass. Finally, pour in the brown sugar syrup and stir everything together. Voilà! A homemade sago’t gulaman that’s as refreshing as a splash in a resort swimming pool.

You don’t have to go far to find a delicious glass of sago’t gulaman, as it’s a staple in many Filipino eateries and street food stalls. From your friendly neighborhood carinderia to the bustling food courts in malls, this humble drink has got your back when you need some respite from the heat. Some popular places include Mang Inasal (where you can pair it with a hearty serving of Chicken Inasal) and the countless food stalls in the metro’s night markets. Sago’t gulaman is truly the people’s drink, available whenever and wherever you need it!

Maiz con Yelo

Description and Ingredients

Maiz con yelo is like the quirky cousin of halo-halo: a little less flashy, but just as lovable. This delightful dessert is made with sweet corn kernels, crushed ice, and a drizzle of milk, all mixed together in a glass that’s brimming with nostalgia. It’s like a taste of your childhood wrapped up in a sweet, icy package – the perfect treat to enjoy while reminiscing about those endless summer afternoons spent playing patintero and tumbang preso.

The History of Maiz con Yelo

Maiz con yelo is the ultimate Pinoy fusion dessert, with roots tracing back to the Spanish colonial era when corn was first introduced to our islands. Filipinos quickly embraced this new ingredient and made it their own, incorporating it into various dishes and desserts, including our beloved maiz con yelo. It’s like the “balikbayan” who comes home after years abroad, bringing with them a taste of the world, yet still remaining unmistakably Pinoy.

How to Make Maiz con Yelo at Home

If you’re craving a trip down memory lane, you can easily whip up a batch of maiz con yelo right in your own kitchen. Just grab a can of sweet corn kernels (or cook and sweeten fresh ones, if you’re feeling extra fancy), some crushed ice, and your choice of milk – evaporated, condensed, or even coconut milk will do. Layer the ingredients in a glass, with a generous amount of corn and a splash of milk. Top it off with some leche flan or a scoop of cheese ice cream, if you want to take it to the next level, and you’re all set! It’s like a DIY time machine that brings you back to the good old days.

Unique Twists on the Traditional Recipe

The beauty of maiz con yelo lies in its simplicity, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with it. Why not try adding some crushed graham crackers for a bit of crunch, or mixing in a few slices of ripe mango for a tropical twist? You can even top it with a dollop of ube halaya or a sprinkle of toasted pinipig for some extra Filipino flair. The possibilities are as endless as the number of jeepney routes in Manila, so feel free to experiment and make it your own!

Buko Pandan

Description and Ingredients

Buko pandan is like the love child of two of the Philippines’ most iconic flavors: the ever-refreshing buko (young coconut) and the fragrant pandan leaves. This dessert is a dreamy mix of creamy coconut strips, pandan-flavored jelly, and sweetened milk, all held together by the power of our collective Pinoy cravings. It’s like a tropical paradise in a bowl, ready to transport you to the beach even if you’re just sitting in your sala, swaying to the tune of your electric fan.

The Role of Pandan Leaves in Filipino Cuisine

Pandan leaves, the unsung hero of Filipino cuisine, have a fragrance that’s as unmistakable as the scent of sampaguita on a cool evening. These humble green leaves are used to infuse flavor into a variety of dishes, from rice to kakanin and even in savory dishes like tinola. Think of pandan as the secret weapon in Lola’s culinary arsenal, ready to elevate any dish from ordinary to extraordinary with just a hint of its aroma.

How to Make Buko Pandan at Home

Summoning the magic of buko pandan in your own kitchen is as easy as saying “abra ka-dabra!” First, prepare the pandan-flavored jelly by boiling water with pandan leaves and adding the gulaman powder. Once it’s set, chop it into bite-sized pieces. Next, gather your buko strips, either from a fresh young coconut or a trusty can, and mix them with the pandan jelly. Finally, pour in some sweetened milk or cream and give everything a good stir. You can even top it with some crushed ice or a scoop of ice cream for an extra touch of indulgence. There you have it – your very own homemade buko pandan, ready to impress your friends and family at the next potluck!

Buko pandan has become a staple in Filipino restaurants and dessert shops across the country, making it easy to find when you’re craving a taste of this tropical treat. Some crowd favorites include the renowned Cabalen buffet, where you can enjoy it alongside a feast of other Filipino delicacies, and Nathaniel’s Bakeshop, known for its creamy and delicious version of buko pandan salad. Even your local carinderia might have it on the menu, proving that you don’t have to go far to experience the magic of buko pandan. So go ahead and indulge – this heavenly dessert is waiting for you!

Leche Flan

Description and Ingredients

Leche flan is like the diva of Filipino desserts: always the star of the show, with its smooth, velvety texture and irresistible caramel goodness. This custard-based delight is made from a mixture of egg yolks, sugar, and milk, all baked to perfection in a llanera, our very own Pinoy version of a creme caramel mold. It’s the kind of dessert that makes you go “uy, isa pa!” even if you’ve already had seconds.

The Spanish Influence on Filipino Desserts

Like many of our cherished traditions, leche flan has its roots in our Spanish colonial past. It’s the sultry, tropical cousin of Spain’s flan, adapted to suit our local ingredients and taste buds. The Spanish influence is evident not only in leche flan, but also in other desserts like brazo de mercedes, ensaymada, and polvoron, proving that our sweet tooth has a history as rich and diverse as our 7,000-plus islands.

How to Make Leche Flan at Home

Making leche flan at home is like a rite of passage for any aspiring Filipino cook. First, create a caramel by melting sugar in a llanera over low heat. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and milk until smooth. Gently pour the mixture into the llanera, cover it with foil, and steam or bake it in a water bath until it’s set. Let it cool, then invert it onto a plate to reveal that beautiful, golden caramel. Congratulations, you’ve just made your very own leche flan, worthy of your lola’s praise!

Variations of the Traditional Recipe

While the classic leche flan is already a crowd-pleaser, there’s no harm in trying out new twists on this old favorite. You can experiment with flavors like ube, pandan, or even coffee to create a fusion dessert that’s both familiar and exciting. Some adventurous cooks even add a splash of dayap (lime) zest, queso de bola, or macapuno to their flan for an extra layer of flavor. The possibilities are as endless as the variations of adobo, so go ahead and let your creativity run wild in the kitchen!

Buko Juice and Buko Shake

Description and Ingredients

Buko juice and buko shake are like the superhero duo of thirst-quenching Filipino drinks, always there to save the day when the summer heat becomes unbearable. Buko juice is made from the fresh, sweet water of a young coconut, while buko shake is a blend of the same coconut water, tender coconut meat, and some crushed ice. It’s like a taste of the tropics in a glass, ready to whisk you away to a pristine beach with just one sip.

Health Benefits of Young Coconut

Young coconut isn’t just a delicious treat – it’s also packed with health benefits that make it a true Pinoy superfood. It’s a natural source of electrolytes, which help keep you hydrated and refreshed, especially during those sweaty summer days. It’s also rich in vitamins and minerals like potassium, magnesium, and manganese, making it a nutritious option for a pick-me-up when you’re feeling the heat.

How to Make Buko Juice and Buko Shake at Home

Whipping up a batch of buko juice or buko shake at home is as easy as cracking open a coconut – literally! First, carefully open a young coconut and pour the water into a container. For buko juice, simply serve it chilled or over ice. For a buko shake, blend the coconut water with some tender coconut meat and crushed ice until smooth. You can even add a splash of milk or a scoop of your favorite ice cream for an extra creamy touch. There you have it – a homemade buko beverage that’s as refreshing as a dip in a cold spring!

Buko juice and buko shake can be found all over the Philippines, from roadside stalls to fancy restaurants. Some popular places to enjoy these beverages include the numerous fruit stands that line our highways, as well as popular chains like Fruitas and Buko ni Fruitas. In Metro Manila, you can even find dedicated buko juice vendors who roam the streets, ready to quench your thirst with a fresh, cold serving of this delightful drink. No matter where you are in the Philippines, a refreshing glass of buko juice or buko shake is never too far away!


As we’ve seen, the world of Filipino desserts is as vibrant and diverse as the jeepneys that roam our streets. We’ve got everything from the icy, ingredient-packed fiesta that is halo-halo, to the velvety, caramel-kissed decadence of leche flan. And who can forget the thirst-quenching superhero duo of buko juice and buko shake, always there to save us from the sweltering summer heat?

So whether you’re a proud Pinoy looking to indulge in some nostalgia, or a curious traveler eager to taste the flavors of the Philippines, we highly recommend trying these delectable desserts. Whip them up in your kitchen or hunt them down during your next visit to our beautiful islands – either way, you’re in for a sweet, sweet treat. And don’t be afraid to get creative with your recipes – after all, we Filipinos are known for our ingenuity and love for experimenting in the kitchen.

In the end, the true beauty of Filipino desserts lies in their ability to tell the story of our unique culture and history. From the Spanish influences in leche flan to the tropical fusion of buko pandan, our desserts are a testament to the richness and diversity of our cuisine. So go ahead, take a bite (or a sip!) and let the flavors transport you to the bustling streets of Manila, the white sand beaches of Boracay, or the lush rice terraces of Ifugao. After all, nothing brings people together quite like a shared love for good food – and in the Philippines, we’ve got plenty of that to go around!

Related posts