Lawas ni Iyay: Secret Ingredient of Iloilo's Delectable Soup, Revealed

, Iloilo,

Belle Piccio
Belle Piccio | Apr 15, 2016
Lawas ni Iyay: Secret Ingredient of Iloilo's Delectable Soup, Revealed

We know of batuan, calamansi, kamias, tamarind and vinegar as souring agents for our soups and other recipes, but did you know that there’s another Filipino ingredient that can make your favorite soup flavorful and delicious? Have you heard of the alabihod leaf?

Alabihod is commonly known as libas and is also locally called as abihid, alambihod and lanu in other parts of the Philippines. Its fruit and leaves are edible and sour. Scientific name Spondias pinnata (L.f.) Kurz, it serves as herbal medicine for illnesses such as diarrhea and dysentery among others. But, this time let’s focus on the plant as an important ingredient in cooking.

Jonathan of Damires and Amiga Carmela

Let’s learn a soup dish recipe from our friend in Brgy. Damires, Janiuay, Iloilo called “Lawas ni Iyay."

READ: Enjoy Life’s Simple Delights This Holy Week in Iloilo's Ecofriendly Resort

The classic recipe refers to a beef shank with lots of meat and bone marrow that makes the soup delicious.

Lawas ni Iyay


  • lawas – cow’s foot with bone marrow boiled for about 3 hours

  • alabihod leaves – serves as the souring agent that also gives a nice aroma to the soup

  • tomatoes and onions

  • black pepper

  • salt

  • beef cubes

  • spring onions

  • red chili pepper or paitan or siling haba


  • Prepare a pot for boiling water. While the water is boiling, put in the lawas and add some salt. Cover and let it boil until the salt is absorbed by the meat.

  • Put in the tomatoes and wait for a few minutes before adding in the onions and beef cubes. This will enhance the flavor of the meat.

  • Add the alabihod leaves. Simmer for a few minutes.

  • Add the chili and season with black pepper and just before you turn off the heat, add the spring onions.

  • Serve and enjoy!

Savor the soup with a different kind of sourness given by the alabihod leaves that closely taste like a mixture of tamarind and lemon.

Let’s keep on cooking our old recipes and share it to the next generations as this dish is already part of our culture.  

(Screen grabs from MagTV na Amiga unless otherwise stated. Watch MagTV na Amiga every Sunday or at

How to Get There

From Manila, you can fly to Iloilo (estimated cost of Php3,000++, round trip, one hour). The Iloilo Airport is 30 minutes (approximately 19 km) away from Iloilo City.

From Iloilo, you can take a jeepney bound to Janiuay (about 45 min to 1 hour drive) at Central Iloilo Passenger Terminal. The terminal is located at Ungka, Jaro, Iloilo City.

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