Philippine – Bicol Express

by Fauzan Anandika

Southeast Asia was always full of the colorful festival. In most countries, they have a parade with colorful costumes and traditional dances like Sinulog in the Philippines. Sinulog is a festival that was inspired by the water movement to create Cebu people traditional dance. Thousands of tourists come to the Philippines to enjoy this festival every 3rd week in January.

Sinulog Festival is a symbol of the will to move from paganism to monotheism religion. Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese sailor, is the one that introduces Rome Catholic to the Cebu people in the Philippines in 1512. Magellan also the one who baptizes Cebu’s ruler at that time, King Humabon dan Queen Hara Amihan. With Magellan’s effort spreading the Rome Catholic, change the Sinulog dance to honor Santo Nino instead of for paganism worship. 

Sinulog Festival held for 9 days, and the Grand Parade on Sunday as the main event. If you want to enjoy the festival, it would be good to arrive 2-3 days before the festival. You can visit other tourist attractions near Cebu and participate in Veseperas one day before the festival. At that time, tourists can watch the statue of Santo Nino and Nuestra Senõra de Guadalupe de Cebu paraded in the ocean using boats that are have decorated with colorful flags. That statue then moved to Basilica Minore del Santo Nino to reconstructed the baptize of King Humabon dan Queen Hara Amihan. In the evening, the statue of Santo Nino moved to the town center. The statue was accompanied by a cheerfully parade by the citizen.

While watching the parade, don’t forget to taste the Philippine dish in the food stall around the area. Bicol Expresses was one of the Filipinos favorite food that you can try while enjoying the parade. Bicol Express is a traditional dish made from pork meat cook with coconut milk, and chili has a rich, spicy and delicious taste. Usually, serve with a side of warm rice and crispy eggplant. 

Bicol Express has a spicy dominant taste that could burn your tongue in an instant. If you don’t like the spiciness, you can remove the chili seed before making the dish. In this recipe, you will cook Bicol Express for 6 portion sizes. 


Crispy Eggplant

  • 1 piece of eggplant, slice into a stick shape
  • 200 gram of flour
  • 200 gram of breadcrumbs 
  • 1 piece of egg
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 500 cooking oil

Bicol Express

  • 1 tablespoon of canola oil.
  • 1 piece of onion, peel, and thin-slice
  • 4 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 kg of pork belly, dice cut.
  • 2 tablespoon of shrimp paste
  • 500 ml of coconut milk
  • 200 ml of water
  • 14 piece of bird eyes chili, chopped
  • 15 pieces of red chili, thin sliced
  • 200 gram of coconut cream
  • Salt and pepper

How to Cook

Crispy Eggplant

  1. Crack the egg and whisk until smooth.
  2. Prepare 2 bowls for flour and breadcrumb.
  3. Heat oil in the frying pan.
  4. Dip eggplant into the egg.
  5. Roll eggplant in flour and breadcrumb.
  6. Fry in medium heat until turn golden brown
  7. Place it on the serving plate.  

Bicol Express

  1. Heat oil in a big pot.
  2. Add onion and garlic, stir until fragrant.
  3. Add pork, cook until turn brownish.
  4. Add shrimp paste, cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Add water, coconut milk, and chili. Cook until boiling for 35 minutes, wait until a little bit dried up.
  6. Add red chili and stir for 2 minutes.
  7. Add coconut cream and wait until thickened.
  8. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper.
  9. Serve while still hot.
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