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11 Food and Drink Tours Every Filipino Should Experience

by Maia Marquez
August 16, 2019

In a world where people speak different languages and come from diverse backgrounds, food is what bridges the gap between cultures. Truly the universal language, food effortlessly breaks barriers and brings people together. Whether it’s through evoking fond memories or the thrill and excitement of trying something new, it’s what connects people and lets them feel warm and welcomed no matter who they're with or where they are.

Food is one of our biggest comforts when traveling, especially when we find its familiarity in some place new. The smell of freshly baked bread, the warmth of a hearty broth, or the sound of a singsong voice saying ”kainan na!” instantly washes all your worries away, and the next thing you know, you’re happily feasting on endless servings of home-cooked food, wondering why you were even worried in the first place. Add that to the world-famous Filipino hospitality, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for time well spent.

And while you’re sampling delicacies from Philippine provinces left and right, you’ll be amazed by the rich history and culture that come along with these dishes. It’s true what they say: one of the best ways to know a place is through its food, and trying out local food and drinks will show you that Pinoy cuisine is just as colorful as its heritage. Let these food and drink trips immerse you in true Filipino culture, hit you with a sense of familiarity and comfort, and then with a little open-mindedness, make you realize that anywhere can feel like home if you let it.

WITHIN THE METRO

The Big Binondo Food Wok

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Having played a huge part in various nations’ culture and heritage, the Chinese are so influential that you can find a Chinatown in lots of key cities around the world—and Manila is no exception. Acquaint yourself with Tsinoy (Chinese-Pinoy) history as you stroll along Binondo’s Plaza Calderon dela Barca, Basilica de San Lorenzo Ruiz, Carvajal Alley Market, and Ongpin Steet and chow down on traditional specialty food and treats. Join Old Manila Walks for a 3-hour guided tour of Binondo’s winding streets—it will surely be enriching for the mind, filling for the tummy, and a wok to remember!

PoblaZion Walking Tour

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One of the buzziest nightlife destinations is Makati’s Poblacion. Known for its many side-by-side eateries and drinking places, Poblacion—or “Pob” or “Pobla," as it’s fondly called—is frequented by those who love variety and spontaneity. While being able to hang out in whatever suits your fancy adds to the area’s charm, its numerous choices might be daunting for the indecisive. Get to know the area and embark on a PobCrawl with Z Hostel and find your new favorite spot—tours start in the afternoon and are open to in-house guests and outsiders, too.

Manila Coffee Crawl

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Not just a trend but a way of life, Third Wave Coffee has been making waves as it shines the spotlight on the best techniques to produce the finest coffee. Immerse yourself in what’s brewing in the Third Wave Coffee scene with Fat Girls Day Out. Discover hole-in-the-wall cafés, learn about coffee culture, and see Manila in a whole new light. After visits to five under-the-radar spots, you’ll not only get your much-needed caffeine fix, but you’ll also blend right into the local coffee scene.

Auro Chocolate Bar Crawl

INSTAGRAM: aurochocolate and fatgirlsdayout

If you didn’t find the golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, then this might just be the next best thing, if not better! Auro Chocolate Bar Crawl introduces you to a world of chocolate like you’ve never known before. A unique dining experience, it lets you try five chocolate-infused dishes and alcoholic drinks around some of Poblacion’s trendiest spots. Five food items, five cocktails and shots, and five freebies for ₱2,615 is definitely worth it—oh, and did we mention that Auro’s chocolates are sustainably sourced from local farmers?

OUT OF TOWN

Calabarzon Food Tour

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Satisfy your curiosity and tastebuds for what lies beyond the metro. Bordering Manila, Calabarzon—Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon—is the capital’s underrated neighbor, especially when it comes to culinary delights. Sample the best of the Southern Tagalog Mainland with Fantasia Travel and Tours as they are dedicated to immersing you in Calabarzon culture, history, and farm dining traditions. Enjoy local meals and snacks as you venture through each of the provinces on a specialized tour that promises a customized culinary experience each and every time.

Eat Your Way Through Pampanga

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Tasting your way around the country isn’t complete without savoring dishes and delicacies from the Culinary Capital of the Philippines. More than just a yummy food trip, Mangan Kapampangan gives you a dose of the province’s beautiful attractions and heritage towns, with sumptuous meals in family-run eateries in between for the ultimate Kapampangan experience. At ₱2,900 per head, the tour includes three meals, transportation, heritage church and factory visits, tour guide fees, and even a baking lesson—you might even be a culinary expert at the end of the day!

Boracay Pub Crawl

INSTAGRAM: pubcrawlph

Known as the country’s party island, Boracay has been the top out-of-town nightlife destination for party-goers from around the world. While the island has had its share of pollution and environmental issues, its recent rehabilition efforts and implementation of stricter policies strive to bring Boracay back to its pristine state. Despite this, the party never stops! Starting at ₱790, consistent TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Awardee PubCrawl lets you party responsibly at the hottest nightlife destinations with freebies like the iconic yellow t-shirt, baller bands, and a souvenir glass to hold your 10 free shooters, too. And the best part is meeting fellow party enthusiasts who could potentially become your friends for life!

Malagos Chocolate Museum

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Learn about all things chocolate with the guided Tree-to-Bar Experience at the Malagos Chocolate Museum, the country’s first ever chocolate museum. Dive into the journey of cacao at Puentespina Farm and its post-harvest facilities and learn about chocolate’s rich history at the museum. We don’t blame you if you get a little hungry while touring around; thankfully, the Malagos Chocolate Bar is ready to serve you snacks and drinks like homemade ice cream, Malagos hot chocolate, suman and ensaymada, and even a chocolate and wine pairing. The pièce de résistance is the Malagos Chocolate Lab—go loco for coco as you create the chocolate bar of your dreams with ingredients like chili, pistachio, mint, and more! Tours start at ₱630 per head.

Mel’s Davao Food Tour

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There’s no better way to know a place than by following a local’s lead, and Mel’s Davao Food Tour might just be the best way to get your Davao history, culture, and food fix. Not your typical tour of the usual attractions and sights, Davao’s pioneer food tour lets you do as the locals do by sampling local favorites prepared the Davaoeño way. Starting at ₱1,300 per head, this 5 ½-hour and 6-stop tour includes breakfast, lunch, and coffee, a visit to the famed Pineapple Samurai, a trip to flower stalls, jeepney rides, snacks like fresh fruits and local artisan ice cream, and even a bayong or native bag to put your souvenirs in. An optional cheese tasting at the Malagos Gardens is available for cheese connoisseurs, too.

Cebu Street Food Tour

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There’s more to Cebu than just being the land of lechon. Probably one of the most developed cities in the country, Cebu boasts a bevy of local and international restaurants that may remind you of Manila. But beyond the highly urbanized city are vibrant side streets home to Cebu’s most-loved street food. Let Back Street Academy walk you through lively alleys to discover hole-in-the-wall eateries for punko-punko (fried snacks), Tuslob Buwa (minced pork liver, innards, and pig’s brain), puso (rice wrapped in weaved palm leaves), and suman with chocolate, among others. See something else you want to try along the way? Just let your guide know and bon appétit! Tours start at roughly ₱900 per head.

Eat and Explore Road Trip Experience

INSTAGRAM: thegreatbourbon and eatsplorations

If you love the element of surprise, then Experience Philippines has the perfect treat for you! Eat your way through surprise and customized destinations as you immerse yourself in local history, culture, and traditions. Apart from embarking on off-the-beaten-path dining spots, this 7-hour tour also lets you in on secret ingredients used in the dishes you’ll eat, plus you’ll get a better grasp of the cuisine’s history as you visit historical landmarks, too. While the tour requires a group of 10-15 people to join and costs ₱1,800 per head, it includes your dishes and snacks, transportation, entrance fees, and a donation to the local communities. It’s also recommended to bring extra cash for souvenirs because buying local is highly encouraged.

BONUS

Sip & Gogh

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Sip, sip, hooray, because vino aficionados—this one’s for you! The first paint and sip studio in the Philippines, Sip & Gogh is where you sip on fine wines and let your imagination run wild as you channel your inner artist. Worried you’re not artsy enough? They have guided and open painting classes, options that include snacks and a drink or painting-only sessions, and even family fun days that are open to all ages. So, ready, get set, and Van Gogh invite your family and friends, select a branch (they have 8!), and paint and sip away!

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About Maia
Maia’s passions in life are to travel and tell stories. Born in the States and raised in Manila while having studied in France, her ultimate goal is to travel all countries of the world. While she’s not abroad, she spends time tanning at the beach, exploring the underwater world or chilling with her 15 dogs. Follow her adventures on her Instagram @maiawillseetheworld.

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