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Dolce in Your Mouth: 5 Sweetest Spots in the Philippines

Choose Philippines
Choose Philippines | Feb 29, 2016
Dolce in Your Mouth: 5 Sweetest Spots in the Philippines

The dictionary defines "dolce" as an adjective or adverb used to regard softness or smoothness in music. The Italian term literally translates to "sweet" and is derived from the Latin word "dulcis."

Its more common variation, especially for describing food, is "dulce," which also originated from the Latin "dulcis." The already obsolete word is used to describe anything sweet to the taste.

Despite the foreign origins, these words aren't strange to us Filipinos. We're all familiar with dulce de leche (a confection used for making cakes and pastry). A local coffee brand even has a "Dolce Gusto" flavor and a popular pastry shop played on the word "dulce" for its name.

We're also not foreign to the taste of sweetness as it is very rampant in our various dishes, desserts, fruits, and drinks all over the country. Here are just some of the sweetest things and the sweetest spots in the Philippines where one can find them:

1) La Trinidad, Benguet: Strawberry

If Baguio is known as the "Summer Capital of the Philippines," it's nearby municipality, La Trinidad, is known as the "Strawberry Capital of the Philippines." The fruit with a bright red color, juicy texture, and distinct sweetness is abundant in the strawberry farms maintained by the Ibalois. Visitors can enjoy picking fresh strawberries themselves, purchase a bottle or two of strawberry jam, or slurp a cup of strawberry taho while in the valley of La Trinidad.

Only in Benguet: Strawberry Taho

How to Get There:

The Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet is less than 10 kilometers from the center of Baguio City. From Session Road, turn right to Magsaysay Road and turn left at the stop light in front of Baguio Center Mall. Go straight until you see the welcome arch of La Trinidad. After a few kilometers, a sign directs drivers to turn left to Strawberry Farm.

 

2) Bacnotan, La Union: Honey

The Honeybee Center in Bacnotan, La Union not only houses tens of thousands honeybees but also provide educational tours for anyone who wants to know more about the life cycle of the bee and how they produce the sweet sweet honey.

How to Get There:

There are many buses that travel from Manila to La Union and Pangasinan. You can easily visit the Honeybee Center to buy your own bottle of pure honey, since the Center is just beside MacArthur Highway in Bacnotan, La Union.

 

3) Bacolod: Sugar Capital of the Philippines

Nothing is sweeter than the sweetest treats in the sugar capital! 

This abundance of sugar is the result of the sugarcane industry in Negros that boomed in the 1950s.

It is believed that Arab traders brought cuttings of sugarcane from the Celebes and planted them in Mindanao. From these, sprouts were transported to the Visayas and Luzon, which later gave birth to sugarcane plantations in every Philippine region in the mid-17th century. By then, enough sugar was being produced that exportation has become an option. During the period between 1775 and 1779, the Philippines was the largest exporter of sugar in all Asia.

Napoleones

In 1856, the sugarcane industry in Iloilo, Bacolod's neighboring island, was solidified through the initiative of one Nicolas Loney, the Britanic Majesty's Vice-Consul. His firm, Loney and Kee Co., supplied most of the capital for sugarcane growing through crop loans via the American house of Russell and Skurgis. A year later, Loney started to develop the Negros Islands' own industry through the same terms as with Ilonggo landowners and planters. Foreseeing the possible rise in economy and the less expensive land values in the virgin lands of Bacolod, prominent families and land owners exited Iloilo. Thus, the start of Bacolod's rise in the sugar market.

Calea Cakes and Pastries

Since the province has all the sugar it can have, it also specializes in desserts that have loads of sugar such as the puff pastry called napoleones, layered phyllo pastry called baklava, sans rival, and other cakes.

 

How to Get There:

From Manila, you can fly to Bacolod (PhP 2500++, roundtrip, 45 minutes). From Bacolod-Silay Airport, you can take a shuttle (PhP 75-100 per head), or a cab (minimum of PhP 400) and ask to be dropped off at your destination.

 

4) Guimaras: Mango

Mangoes are the most celebrated fruit in the Philippines! When we say mangoes, first thing that comes to mind is to ask where it came from and, when you hear the magic word “Guimaras” you’ll know that you’re in for a treat of the sweetest fruit in the Philippines.

Photo by Mr. Leeds
https://www.flickr.com/photos/tzf093/5712349526/

Guimarasnons are so proud of its famous sweet mangoes that it explicitly prohibits the import of any mango product outside the island. This is to protect its own mangoes from genetic degradation and disease. So don’t bring any mangoes in Guimaras in respect for its local. Beware! The local government also supports this by banning visitors from importing any type of mangoes to the island.

Mango Ketchup

How to Get There:

From Manila, you can fly to Iloilo (estimated cost of Php3,000++, round trip, one hour).

From Iloilo Airport, take a cab and ask to be taken to Parola which is the jump-off point for Jordan, Guimaras. From there you can board a motorboat (Php14++ per head, one-way, 10-15 minutes) going to Jordan port.

 

5) Davao: Chocolate

Revisiting history, cacao, a highly prized raw material for many cocoa products like butter, powder, chocolate confectionery and liquor, is a crop produce of the Philippines since the 1670s. With climactic and soil conditions perfect for cacao cultivation, not to mention a ready global market, the country’s potential stands to benefit many growers, retailers and chocolate makers.

This industry is slowly being revived by Davao, which had its First Chocolate Festival last October 2014. Thirteen exhibitors showcased their sinful chocolate concoctions in during the celebration of International Chocolate Day that year.  

How to Get There:

Davao City is an hour and 50 minutes away from Manila and 50 minutes away from Cebu by plane. PAL and other major airlines have daily flights to Davao from Manila and Cebu. 

 

With these five spots, it's impossible to not get your sugar fix while you're traveling the Philippines? Know any other spot? Share it with us!

 

(Cover photo from fairtradeusa.org)


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