July 2007


According to a neighbor, the palad or solefish is the ideal fish for this recipe although this can also be done with bangus, lison and many others. Any leftover fried fish is also given new life when it’s cooked in tausio or black beans.


The recipe is closely related to Papa On’s Steamed Lison with Black Bean sauce. The main difference is that with the traditional Ilonggo version, the fish is fried and made to swim in the tausio sauce.


You will need:


palad (solefish) fried whole; with bangus, its sliced; some other fish, either whole or sliced

ABC or ahos, bombay, camatis (garlic, onion, tomato)

Sliced luy-a (ginger)

Cooking oil

A can of Tausio or black beans

Patis (soy sauce)


How to:


1. Season the fish with salt then fry.

2. Saute the ABC well. Add the sliced ginger.

3. Add the drained black beans. Stir.

4. Add plus or minus two cups of water depending on how much sauce you want.

5. Bring to a boil. Adjust to taste.

6. Put in the fried fish and bathe them in the sauce.

7. We’re done!






  1. .




No special occasion, just a regular dinner for tonight courtesy of my Bicolano father, Papa On who sure cooks well. The dish isn’t exactly Ilonggo nor Bicolano but since its main player is the fish called Lison—another Ilonggo favorite, I’m featuring the recipe here. Perhaps it has Chinese roots.   (Pardon my imperfect photo; i was a minute late in catching the dish in all its glory.  Our men found it too good to resist. )


Anyway, you will need:


1 whole fish, medium-sized (we’re using Lison for this; you can also substitute it with Lapu-Lapu)

Sliced ginger

Cooking oil

ABC or Ahos, Bombay, Camatis (Garlic, Onion and Tomatoes)

slivered Pidada (bell pepper) or

½ can of Tausio (black beans)


How to:

1.  Season the fish with just a little salt and pepper. Lay on a sheet of aluminum foil wide enough to wrap the fish in. Before sealing, distribute about 5 ginger slices all over side A of the fish. Make sure the fish is securely sealed in so its juices will not drip out while steaming. Steam for 20-30 minutes depending on size and thickness of fish.

2.  Prepare the quick and easy sauce: Saute the ABC in that sequence. Don’t overcook the tomatoes. Add the drained black beans. Stir around for a few minutes and add the peppers last. Now, we’re ready to set-up.

3.  Remove fish from the foil. Arrange on a dish and pour your blackbean sauce all over.

P.S.         The saltiness of the blackbeans is a nice counterpoint to the soft white meat of our steamed fish. Papa On says that the imported black beans have a nicer consistency making our sauce a little more “saucy.” If unavailable, the local brands will do just fine.

P.S. 2.    I just realized upon writing this blog that we Ilonggos have something similar in our traditional menu but the procedure is different. We call that dish “Tinausiohan nga Isda” or Fish with Tausio. (check out the recipe).
















Aside from the famous goodies of Biscocho Haus and Panaderia de Molo, another Iloilo delicacy that is a fast-rising pasalubong are the cookies of Mama’s Kitchen in Arevalo, Iloilo.

Cookies aren’t exactly traditional Ilonggo but by putting in native ingredients abundant in Iloilo such as tsokolate (from cacao beans), kasuy (cashew nuts), pinipig (pounded rice) and most especially paho (mangoes), the cookies of Mama’s Kitchen can now be considered another food icon of Iloilo.

It’s a relatively young product, though, having only been started less than 10 years ago (let me confirm the exact year, ok?). I had the pleasure of talking with Mama’s Kitchen young entrepreneur, the daughter of Mrs. Villanueva. (Mrs. Villanueva owns the ancestral house (bahay na bato) where the Sinamay House is located. The now-popular cookies are actually the product of so much trial and error to arrive at the right thinness for the crisp cookies like the kasuy and pinipig  varieties and the right softness of their bestseller–the Mango Chewies.

Inday Hami’s favorite are the Mango Chewies and the Pinipig. I can finish an entire box in less than an hour if nobody is around to share it with. Although I like the shape of the box (read:  less baggage space), I wish there could be some more identifying Iloilo symbols on the design.

June 14, 2007—inauguration of the new Iloilo airport located at the boundaries of two central Iloilo towns—Sta. Barbara and Cabatuan. Tagged as an airport of international standards, this airport is indeed roomier and modern than the old airport we had at Mandurriao, a district of Iloilo City.


The new airport now sports a spacious lobby, arrival and pre-departure areas.  There is also the tube to comfortably lead one directly into the airplane’s door.  The runaway is also some 2,500 meters long thereby accommodating bigger planes.


Although I must say too that it is with some nostalgia that we have to say goodbye to the airport at Mandurriao. How many excited hellos and painful goodbyes were said here. We always got to this airport in a jiffy, since we used to live just 10 minutes away from it.


Now that the new airport is two towns away from the heart of Iloilo city, one has to drive a little longer to get there.  (Good news to commuters:  there are vans which only charge 50.00 per person going to and fro the new airport.  Pick-up point is SM city Iloilo.)


Last June 5, I made my first visit to the new Iloilo airport. Taking in the rural landscape of Sta. Barbara and Cabatuan and cruising along the wide, nicely landscaped avenue that culminated at the sleek airport terminal was worth the drive.


It is definitely a refreshing experience for everyone who goes that way.  Yes, it is a scaled-down version of the Centennial Terminal in Manila but the presence of such a verdant landscape–bamboo groves, coconut trees, rice paddies, cows and carabaos make the new airport truly Iloilo’s.


With the rise of this new airport sprouted the baye-baye and kalamay-hati stands along the highway near Pavia (town before Sta. Barbara). Baye-baye and kalamay-hati are native kakanin (rice cakes) that Pavia is known for.



My first recipe is a clean and basic, super simple way of cooking squid. This next one is a modified version for those craving for spicy food.

We will need:

The freshest lukos if possible

Asin (Salt)

Paminta (Pepper)

Mantika (Oil)

Ahos (Garlic)

2 Sibuyas (Red Onions)

Soy sauce

Sibuyas dahon (chives) , cut in two inch lengths

1 katumbal laba ( red pepper), sliced diagonally


How to:

  1. Clean the lukos. Marinate in crushed garlic, and a tablespoon or so of soy sauce.

  2. Heat oil (about 2-3 tablespoons) in the frying pan.

  3. Saute the garlic (the ones you used for the marinade) and onions.

  4. Add the squid. Stir and cover. (Don’t forget: high heat)

  5. After a minute, open the pan and keep on stirring till the juices start to dry up.

  6. Add black pepper ( I put in three huge pinchfuls) and the slivered red pepper and the chives.

  7. As the lukos dish will tend to get  dry, I stir in a little extra coconut oil to make it glisten and palatable

 Your hot and spicy stir-fried squid is ready to serve!


How can you tell if the squid is freshly caught or is already ilada (helada in Spanish; iced in English)

The freshest of lukos (except of course if it’s the bagulan variety which oversecretes its black ink) is white and not pinkish or reddish.

Many years ago, my husband and I were invited to Carles, Iloilo’s northernmost town. It is said to be the Alaska of the Philippines ( not anymore because of illegal fishing). There I witnessed a fishing boat unload their catch – lukos. I didn’t know fresh lukos was supposed to be white, and somewhat translucent until that experience in Carles. For the locals, it was even unnecessary to cook lukos over fire. They ate the lukos– kinilaw style-that is, dip the lukos in the Ilonggo sinamak (spiced native vinegar) and pop straight into the mouth.

Well, early this morning, I persuaded my husband to bring me to the town of San Miguel, Wednesday being a market day (its other tienda is Sunday). My task: buy seafoods (I discovered it’s relatively cheaper here than at the Huebesan or the famous Jaro Thursday Market).

Approaching the fish section, I immediately spotted super-fresh medium-sized squid. It was glistening white and firm. 60 for half a kilo (P120/kilo) was the offer of the lady fish vendor from Barotac. She said its her buena mano price (if you’re the very first buyer, you get a discount as good luck for the vendor). Without hesitation, I bought me my squid. It couldn’t get any fresher than that. I had the perfect recipe in mind…

The coconut, the Filipino’s tree of life. Just like the Bicolanos, Ilonggos also use the gata(coconut milk) squeezed out from the grated coconut fruit which we call lahing nga lubi.

Gata, known as coconut milk in English is not really milk but wet coconut oil!  This, I learned from the book, The Coconut Cookery of Bicol by Honesto General.  He gives out very informative data on the coconut.

In Bicolano, the mature coconut  used in cooking dishes or what we call as  lahing is known as lukadon in Bicolano.   General says that to have a truly successful dish with a gata-base, one should choose the lukadon or lahing.

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