A country with fantastic beaches and friendly people, you’ll also love these delicious Filipino drinks.
I lived in Cebu in 1999-2000 (during the Y2K scare, remember that?) and learned Filipinos love their drinks as much as their food, if not more.
In fact, beverages are such a strong part of Filipino culture that some places even identify themselves by the local drink they offer.
When you’re talking about a country that consists of more than 7,107 islands you know that you’re going to get some of the most unique and unusual drinks.
Whether it’s cocktails or non-alcoholic drinks, Filipinos are just as passionate about their drinks as they are with their culture, that’s for sure.
So if you want to immerse yourself in the unique and colorful traditions of the Filipino people, you have to sample these drinks as part of the process.
So if you’re ready to drink it up while in the Philippines, here are 21 alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks that you should try.
Whether you fancy a cup of local coffee, a refreshing glass of local fruit juice or a strong kick of Filipino liquor, your thirst will surely be satisfied with these 21 amazing drinks in the Philippines.
If you’re travelling to the northern regions of Ilocos and Kalinga, you’ll most likely stumble upon Basi.
It is a local fermented alcoholic drink made from sugarcane and processed in clay jars called Burnay.
This fermentation produces two types of spirits: “Basing lalaki” has a higher alcoholic content and “Basing Babae” that’s sweeter and has less alcohol.
But you can also sample Basi in a restaurant in Taguig called Big Bad Wolf.
It makes a cocktail called the “Basi Spritz” made from Basi, white wine, Campari, orange juice and elderflower liquer.
It’s not hard to find locals drinking beer anywhere in the Philippines.
In fact, beer is one of the most popular alcoholic drinks in the country where big players San Miguel Beer and Red Horse Beer are dominating the market.
You can also find more expensive international beer brands in high-end restaurants and bars around the country.
Buko Pandan Juice
With an abundance of buko juice in the country, Filipinos are now giving unique twists to its favorite summer beverage.
Buko pandan juice is the beverage version of the famous buko pandan salad, which is a favorite dessert among locals.
The sweet combination of pandan, milk and buko make for great refreshment from the country’s intense summer heat.
Another popular Filipino cocktail is Mestiza, which is usually made out of beer, rum and your soda of choice.
You can get as creative as you want with this drink, experimenting with different types of beers, rums and sodas to come up with a cocktail that you’ll surely love.
If you plan on getting drunk Filipino-style, Lambanog is the way to go.
This strong coconut-wine, also called coconut vodka, is produced by fermenting and distilling the sap of an unopened coconut flower. It results in a strong drink with at least 40% ABV.
If you find someone making it bootleg at home it can be closer to 80-90%.
Quezon province is most known for producing the best Lambanog, although there are already several factories around the country that mass-produce this liquor.
Coffee is a staple in every Filipino breakfast and if you’re looking for the best local coffee, nothing beats the strong kick of Kapeng Barako in Batangas.
You can even order this local delight cold at Café de Lipa, but it still maintains that strong aroma and flavor even if it’s iced.
Filipinos sure know how to be creative with their drinks and the Amadeo Coffee Liqueur is a perfect example.
This drink mixes rum and local coffee giving it a strong and aromatic flavor profile that’s reminiscent of coffee-flavored candy with a strong kick.
If Lambanog is a favorite among locals in Luzon, Tuba is the alcoholic drink of choice for locals in Visayas and Mindanao.
A combination of coconut sap and the bark of a mangrove tree make this alcoholic drink that has its signature reddish color.
A white coconut wine version is also found in some parts of the country, but it has to be consumed within 2 days before it ferments into coconut vinegar.
Interestingly this is the same name of one of the traditional drinks in Mexico that is made similarly made from fermenting coconut tree sap.
Fresh Fruit Juice
You can expect no less than the best fruit juices in a country blessed with an abundance of different fruit varieties.
You can order common fruit juices like mango, pineapple and orange.
However, you can also try some local offerings like calamansi juice, jackfruit or durian.
In the Cordillera region, Tapuy is known as a fermented rice wine that’s considered a staple in all special occasions.
Some people call it Filipino sake.
It is made from rice, ginger extract, onuad roots and bubod or a natural fermentation agent.
Tapuy may taste like your regular sweet red wine. However, it contains at least 14% alcohol, so you might get drunk before you know it.
The classic Filipino cocktail, GinPom is a mix of gin, pomelo juice, water and ice.
It is one of the most popular drinks served in Filipino house parties, restaurants, bars and clubs.
Cocktails Around the World
And yes, it’s absolutely easy to create so you can definitely make your own back home.
Mais or Saging con Hielo
This is a hybrid between a drink and dessert, but it’s a favorite among many Filipinos.
Mais con hielo is the more subdued version of the famous halo-halo. It only contains crushed ice, whole corn kernels and some syrup.
You can eat it like the halo-halo and drink the concoction as the ice melts. Some also use banana or “saging” as a replacement for corn or “mais.”
Ask any local bartender what the most popular strong drink is and they’ll tell you that it’s Weng-Weng.
This Filipino cocktail mixes five different kinds of liquor. It has an extreme potency. It will surely leave you wobbling your way home or in Filipino terms, “weng-weng.”
Bartenders have their own recipes for Weng-Weng. So you can never really tell what kinds of liquor are put into this concoction.
Sure, you could order mango, watermelon, avocado or even durian shake in most restaurants in the Philippines.
But if you’re looking for something that’s uniquely Filipino, you should try Kamias shake.
It is an interesting shake made from a local fruit called “kamias” that has a sweet and sour taste.
Kamias is also known as the blim blim fruit in Jamaica, and also called cucumber tree or sorrel tree.
Filipinos especially love drinking this shake when eating lechon. It cuts down the fat from this sinfully delicious Filipino food.
Luaco can be a drink and dessert at the same time because of its predominantly sweet taste.
But Luaco is a combination of the highest quality coffee and alcohol. It has a smooth and creamy texture that Filipinos love to enjoy on special occasions.
Filipino Craft Beer
In the island of Palawan, you’ll find one of the most unique craft beers in the country called the Palawan Wit.
Created by Palaweno Brewery, this craft beer is made of wheat giving it the signature sweet, light and refreshing taste.
The Palawan Wit is only available in Palawan. It takes pride in being made by the first women brewers in the country.
Do you love your margarita?
Filipinos have a twist to this classic cocktail. It uses of calamansi juice, which is sourced from the Tugdaan Mountains in Mindoro.
This juice is also in many dishes, including this traditional Filipino kinilaw recipe.
The mixture of calamansi rind and vodka creates the drink called “Manille Liqueur de Calamansi.” You can order this Filipino cocktail in many bars around the country.
Baguio City in the northern part of the Philippines is known for its wide strawberry farms.
So it’s no surprise that locals have found a unique way to utilize its abundant harvest by turning it into wine.
Bugnay or bignay is a locally grown berry that looks and tastes like your regular blackberries.
Some locals ferment these berries to turn them into a delicious, fruity wine. It could easily be mistaken for red wine because of its deep red color and sweet taste.
Today, you can find Bignay wine in most supermarkets and liquor stores in the Philippines.
Dragon Fruit Wine
If it’s still not obvious, Filipinos love their wine and they’re not afraid to utilize local fruits to create their own concoctions.
Dragon fruit wine is produced mainly in Ilocos where this fruit is abundant. It has the same flavor profile as strawberry wine because of its sweetness.
But make no mistake because this wine could easily get you drunk.
Finally, if there’s one drink that represents the Philippines best, it has to be Manila Sunshine.
In fact, Makati Shangri-La and then Department of Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez developed this concoction in 2012 as part of the country’s tourism campaign.
The Manila Sunshine is a mixture of lambanog, mango and apple juice, Tanduay Rhum, triple sec, and a garnish of pineapple wedge and lemongrass.
It has been promoted as the country’s national cocktail where it is now served in 20 Shangri-La Hotels around the world and the Heritage Hotel Manila.
Have fun while quenching your thirst!