Top 10 Beers of the Philippines

Good beer is a little bit challenging to find in Asia. Not in the Philippines though. The Filipinos take pride that it has good beers and most of them are cheap by western standards. There are currently two breweries in the Philippines, San Miguel & Asia Brewery.

San Migue Brewery is the largest beer producer in the Philippines, with a market share of more than 90% while Asia Brewery is the second largest brewery in the Philippines, with 10% share in its home market.

Here are the Top Ten Beers in the Philippines, in no particular order:

  1. San Miguel Beer, Pale Pilsen - The most popular brew of the country. It's a pale lager. A 320 ml bottle retails for about .50 US cents. It has a slight hoppy note with a distinct bitter hop character. It has a well-balanced medium body and slides smoothly on the palate with a pleasant clean finish. Most locals enjoy prefers this than any other local beer.

    SMB has manufacturing agreements with certain Asian countries to brew San Miguel Pale Pilsen. Several bars, hotels and establishments in Asia stock San Miguel Pale Pilsen, be sure to ask for "Philippines San Miguel" when ordering.

    This beer has been become a part of Philippine culture and has a cult following with balikbayans and OFW's

    Alcohol Content: 4% by weight / 5% by volume

  2. San Miguel Beer Cerveza Negra - This beer is marketed outside the Philippines with the brand San Miguel Dark Lager. It has roasted malty notes, which extends to its taste. It is full-flavored and full bodied. Bitterness is moderate but still smooth. The first and only dark lager in the country.

    This beer is usually found in groceries, supermarkets, hotels & bars. It retails at $1 for a 320ml bottle

    Alcohol Content: 4% by weight / 5% by volume

  3. Red Horse Beer - ( Lager) This beer has a strong alcohol content. The younger crowd like this more because of the buzz it gives only after 1 bottle. It has a distinctive, full flavored taste and extra satisfying strength of a world- class premium strong beer. Retails for .50$ cents for 500ml bottle.


    There is also a popular urban legend about the "Happy Red Horse". According to urban legend there is one bottle in every case that has a smiling horse logo or emblem. This particular bottle, according to stories is somewhat stronger and has a sweeter palate than the regular bottle. The smiling Red Horse emblem does exist. How to they differ in taste? No one really knows unless proven by scientific data.

    Perhaps the most logical answer is that in 1992 Red Horse made a small revision to their logo, thus the old packaging/bottles does exists. Beer bottles are usually recycled and reused. The life span of these bottles are 20 years after that they are discarded. They come from the same brewing line so the chances that they are different brew is a myth.

    The company is also banking on the myth as a marketing tactic. They even sponsored a contest for digital
    short films. The theme was to create a story on the origins of the "Happy Red Horse".

  4. San Miguel Beer Light (San Mig Light) - Most people wonder why is it's called light when it has almost the same alcohol content as a regular beer. Light refers to being light in calories. This beer is marketed towards the younger and urban crowd.

  5. Beer na Beer - the direct competitor of San Miguel Pale Pilsen and brewed by Asia Breweries. Described as "Smooth, clean refreshing" beer taste. It Won 3 Monde Selection Gold Medals in Brussels. Despite the awards it garnered for quality it, Filipinos have remained loyal to San Miguel Pale Pilsen. ALCOHOL CONTENT is 5.0 % by volume

    Most foreigners ask what does Beer na Beer mean? Well, technically "na" is used to emphasize that this is supposedly a really good beer. I think it's a silly name :) It almosts mean nothing because it's an OK beer. To beer snobs this would qualify as rubbish.

  6. Gold Eagle Beer - It is moderately light bodied, yet flavorful, hopped just enough to give a little bite on the finish bringing out an over-all "easy drinking" character.

    Its alcohol content is 3.5% by weight and 4.55% by volume.

  7. San Miguel Draft Beer - Miguel Draft Beer is the same San Miguel brew (Pale Pilsen and Light) that comes in portable, compact and space-saving cooling system or kegs. Available only for delivery from San Miguel and it's distributors. Intentionally briefly pasteurized or "flash pasteurized. Thus, the beer's premium taste and aroma are retained

  8. San Miguel Super Dry - It's a brilliant light-amber lager characterized by hoppy and slight citrusy notes. It has a moderate body and a crisp, dry taste. Its bitterness is smooth and balanced with an elegant quick finish

  9. San Miguel Premium All-Malt Beer - Only a recent addition to San Miguel's brewing line. It has a malty flavor with pleasant hoppy notes. It is full-flavored with a smooth balanced bitterness. It is slightly sweetish in taste and has medium to full body.

  10. San Miguel Strong Ice - High octane alcohol iced filtered beer. A high-alcohol pale amber lager characterized by pleasant estery notes and mild balanced bitterness

TOP 10 Tropical and Exotic Fruits of the Philippines

The tropical climate of the Philippines makes it possible for the soil to grow some delicious exotic fruits. Most of these exotic fruits are of South American origin and brought here by the West Indies, Spanish or the Americans. These heavenly fruits can be found fresh in the local market for cheap prices. Some of the fruits mentioned are only available seasonally.

  1. Philippine Mangoes
  2. - undeniably Philippine mangoes are the sweetest and juiciest in the world. Recorded in the 1995 World Guinness Book of Records as the sweetest fruit. The sweetest mangoes come from the province of Zambales and Guimaras in IloIlo.

    There is a wide variety of mangoes in the Philippines but the most popular and the sweetest is the "Kalabaw" variety. Locals eat unripe green mangoes with bagoong (shrimp paste) although this maybe an usually acquired taste. Green mangoes are great with vodka as cocktails!
  3. Rambutan - sweet and juicy when fresh. Rambutan literally means hairy caused by the 'hair' that covers this fruit.
  4. Avocado - very refreshing as fruit shake. Try if you can find avocado flavored ice-cream in the local groceries. Arce is a good brand of local ice cream. They use local fruits as flavor. Avocado is cheap in the Philippines. You can buy them at 1$USD for a kilo and when in season they can go as low as .50$USD per kilo!
  5. Lanzones - sweet and succulent little round fruits. The sweetest lanzones come from the province of Camiguin, where they hold an annual festival celebrating the lanzones fruit.

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  7. Durian - the king of Tropical fruits found it's way in the Philippines through our neighboring countries. Known for its large size and unique aroma. Some people regard the durian as fragrant; others find the aroma overpowering and offensive. The 19th-century British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace famously described its flesh as "a rich custard highly flavoured with almonds". The province of Davao in Mindanao is home to durian farms.
  8. Langka (Jackfruit) - when ripe this fruit is very sweet and has a very aromatic flavor. It also widely used as cooking ingredient for local desserts such as ginataan and turon.
  9. Atis (Sugar Apple) - very sweet and creamy. It's a little bit of effort to eat this fruit as they have a lot of seeds. The fruit flesh is sweet, white to light yellow, and resembles and tastes like custard. The edible portion coats the seeds generously; a bit like the gooey portion of a tomato seed. Sugar-apple has a very distinct, sweet-smelling fragrance

  10. Chico (Sapodilla) - It's aroma can be compared to beer but don't let it fool you for it is tasty. The flavor is exceptionally sweet with what can be described as a malty flavor. Originally known to have come from the West Indies
  11. Watermelon (Pakwan) - though widely available in many parts of the world nothing beats the refreshing taste of a succulent, sweet and juicy watermelon in the summer months.

  12. Santol (Wild Mangosteen) - available during the summer season. The taste is sweet and sour. The bigger variety called "Bangkok" is sweeter, the smaller variety is on the sour end. It is also used as souring agent for some Filipino dishes like sinigang.


Kaimito (Star Apple)

Duhat (Java Plum)

Guyabano (Soursop)

Balimbing (Star Fruit)

Chesa (Lucuma) It has the texture of squash or the yolk of a boiled egg.

Aratiles (Jamaica Cherry, Muntingia) These cherries are very sweet. The sweetness brings with it an excellent taste, because it has a lovely fragrance that makes people keep on eating them. These cherries are often eaten by children because they taste quite like cotton candy.

Sinigwelas (Spanish Plum) It does taste like plum but it has less flesh and more seed.

TOP 10 Tips for Vegatarians/Pescetarians traveling to The Philippines

Traveling in a country where most of the people are meat-eaters can pose challenges for vegetarians or pescetarians. Filipinos are carnivores or heavy meat-eaters. Many Filipino dishes has meat, even their vegetable dishes contain a bit of meat. The scene is changing today as some Filipinos are trying to eat healthier or either being socially conscious of animal rights.

Here are some tips if you are a vegetarian traveling in the Philippines.
  1. Fast food chains and restaurants have now vegetarian/pescetarian options. You will more likely to find a wide variety of vegetarian friendly dishes in Chinese restaurants.

    Here is a list of local and western fast food chains in the Philippines

    • Jollibee - Yes, the Philippines is perhaps the only country in this world that McDonald's is not the No.1 fast food chain. Not vegetarian/pescetarian friendly. Once in a while there would be seasonal vegatarian friendly menu but they only last for a couple of months.
    • McDonalds - Salad is not a staple menu in the local McDonalds outlets.
    • Wendy's - A good selection of salads, fish and shrimp sandwiches. Some branches have salad bars.
    • KFC - Everything has chicken. LOL.
    • Chowking - A Chinese fast food restaurant owned by Jollibee. Has a few selection of seafood dishes. They have choices for some vegan friendly meals like tofu, stir-fried kangkong and other vegetables.
    • Kenny Roger's Roaster - Wide selection of dishes, salads and sandwiches.
    • Cabalen Buffet Restaurant - not a fast food chain but a local restaurant that offers buffet all day. Average cost is 300-400 pesos. Lots of local vegetarian cuisine options. Commonly found in major malls within the city of Metro Manila.

  2. Fruits & vegetables can be easily found in local markets. Be delighted by the wide range of fresh and delicious tropical fruits like mango, avocado, lanzones, durian etc.

  3. If you prefer to cook your food, you will be able to find meat substitutes from the following stores/markets: ( It is best to call them and check if they deliver within Metro Manila)

  4. You can go to a restaurant and request if the meat ingredients could be left out. Most restaurants would happily comply with your request.

  5. The higher you go up when traveling in the mountainous regions of the Philippines (e.g. Cordillera region) the less fish based dishes there will be and more meat-based food will be available. For the Cordillera region, you will be delighted to know that they are the largest producers of vegetables in the country, so expect an abundance of fresh vegetables.

  6. If you prefer to travel the off-the-beaten bath it's recommended to bring your own food. A loaf of bread and a bottle of fruit jam would let you survive in a day.

  7. Find local vegetarians and ask for more recent restaurants and tips, by posting in popular Philippine forums like: and

  8. Thank god for tofu. Tofu is widely available in many groceries, restaurants and small eateries.

  9. When being offered food that has meat, graciously decline. Say thank you for the kindness and explain that you don't eat meat. This is not being impolite, in fact your host will most likely cook something vegetarian for you ;)

  10. Some helpful links for vegan friendly restaurants:


Weather in the Philippines | Best Time to Travel

The Philippines has a tropical climate, and is usually hot, and humid. The average yearly temperature is around 26.5°C (79.7°F). There are three recognized seasons: "Tag-init" or "Tag-araw" (the hot season or summer from March to May), "Tag-ulan" (the rainy season from June to November), and "Tag-lamig" (the cold season from December to February). The southwest monsoon (from May to October) is known as the "Habagat", and the dry winds of the northeast monsoon (from November to April) as the "Amihan". The coolest month is December, and the warmest is May. Both temperature, and humidity levels reach the maximum in April and May. Manila, and most of the lowland areas are hot, and dusty from March to May. Even at this period, the temperatures rarely rise above 37°C., sea-level temperatures rarely fall below 27°C. Annual rainfall measures as much as 5,000 millimeters in the mountainous east coast section, but less than 1,000 millimeters in some of the sheltered valleys. Sitting astride the typhoon belt, most of the islands experiences annual torrential rains, and thunderstorms from June to October.

Best time to travel around the Philippines is January to early May. This is considered the summer season in the Philippines which means you won't be encountering heavy rains or typhoons that may cause delays in your scheduled trip. Summer is also the peak season for local travelers. If you are on a tight budget avoid traveling during important Philippines holidays as travel prices could go twice or thrice their original price.

During Christmas season, overseas Filipino workers arrive in huge numbers and return to their motherland to celebrate the most festive season of the Philippine culture. The following holidays are also suggested to avoid:
  • Lenten Season- Arguably, the worst time to travel in the Philippines. Travel prices are twice as much. Delayed flights, traffic in major highways and the whole city of Metro Manila becomes a ghost town because the urban dwellers will spend their Lenten season vacation outside the city.
  • Christmas/Holiday Season
  • Long Weekends declared by the national government. We have a lot of those. Our current President (Arroyo, as of this writing) is fan of long weekends.
For a list of the holidays in the Philippines,click here

UPDATE: Alas, maybe it's the global warming. Weather in the Philippines this previous summer season is somehow erratic. Rainy season started early this 2009. The last weeks of April brought unexpected rain showers that destroyed beach- hopping plans of my friends.

TOP 10 Philippines Fast Facts

  1. Full Name: Republic of the Philippines
  2. Capital City: Manila
  3. Population: 90 Million
  4. Time Zone: GMT / UTC +8
  5. Languages: Filipino (Tagalog) & English
  6. Currency: Philippines Peso (PHP)
  7. Electric Plug Details: 220 volts a/c is the common standard. 110 volts a/c is also used, especially in major hotels.
  8. Economy: Agriculture, Fishing, Manufacturing, Mining
  9. Religion: Majority of Filipinos (approximately 83%) are Catholic; about 5% are Muslims. The rest are made up of smaller Christian denominations.
  10. Clothing: Light clothes, preferably cottons, are advisable. Jackets or sweaters are needed in upland areas like the city of Baguio.