Beating the country’s tropical heat — summer or not — is easier through a tall glass or bowl of halo-halo.
By LEIGH E. DALUGDOG
DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Filipinos are known for their coping abilities in the midst of political, economic and yes, even with showbiz turmoil.
From the latest television drama that is the impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, to the non-stop increase in the prices of basic goods and commodities, to the airport brawl between showbiz couple Santiago and journalist Mon Tulfo and to the protest against American pop star Lady Gaga’s concert; Filipinos have managed these as easy like a Sunday morning.
Thus, beating the country’s tropical heat — summer or not — is easier through a tall glass or bowl of halo-halo.
Halo-halo (from the Tagalog word halò, “to mix”) is a popular dessert that is a mixture of shaved ice, evaporated milk and various boiled sweet beans and fruits.
This Filipino concoction is quite popular during the country’s summer months, from March to June. Usually served in tall, clear glasses, halo-halo’s colorful ingredients will surely tempt one’s taste buds. A scoop of ice cream and leche flan on top will make one salivating for more. This dessert, as any dessert could be, is sweet, creamy and filling.
But for Davaoeños, halo-halo is not just for summer. Notice that from the sidewalks and public markets, to restaurants, malls and hotels, this dessert is available all year round.
And for 29-year old entrepreneur Erroll Laudato, nothing beats the halo-halo served in a stall at Agdao Public market. “I started eating halo-halo (in Agdao) since I was a kid. It’s like home-made,” he said.
Agdao’s Nanay Puto’s Halo-halo serves halo-halo for PHP 18 (USD 0.41). “What differs it from other halo-halo is its ingredients. It has lots of ingredients, yet it’s cheap. And, it’s very delicious,” Laudato said, adding that, “It caters to customers of different class, size and age.”
Halo-halo’s ingredients include boiled kidney beans, garbanzos, sugar palm fruit (kaong), coconut sport (macapuno), and plantains caramelized in sugar, jackfruit (langkâ), gulaman, tapioca, nata de coco, sweet potato (kamote) and pounded crushed young rice (pinipig). Fruits, beans, and other sweets are placed inside the tall glass or bowl and topped with shaved ice. Then, an amount of sugar is sprinkled, after which, either (or a combination of) leche flan, purple yam (ubeng pula) or ice cream is placed on top. Evaporated milk is poured into the mixture upon serving.
“I eat halo-halo at Aling Foping’s,” Deo Antojado, a freelance event organizer, said. “I like the way they crushed the ice, it’s really fine as sand,” he added.
Antojado, 30, also an image stylist added that the dessert basically tastes the same wherever it is served. But he said, crushing and shaving the ice make a difference. “It’s overly delicious. It’s quite expensive (in Aling Foping’s) though, but it’s worth the money,” he said.
Aling Foping’s is located in Matina Town Square along Mac Arthur highway. It uses purified water for their ice and shaves the ice twice to create superfine ice shavings.
“Yes, I’ve been having halo-halo here since last year. Well, I’m sure everybody loves halo-halo and it’s always great here because we enjoy it with buffet,” writer Joan Mae Soco-Bantayan said on Café Marco’s halo-halo. The former Mutya ng Dabaw said, this café in a posh Davao City hotel serves halo-halo with a lot of choices.
“With the price, it’s a bit pricey compared with other restaurants but because it’s inclusive of its buffet you have a taste of everything that you want,” Soco-Bantayan said.
Davao City’s oldest and longest-running snack house, Merco, also serves halo-halo on a daily basis. This dessert can definitely be enjoyed, anytime and anywhere, depending on one’s taste buds and budget. (Leigh E. Dalugdog/davaotoday.com)