The Regional Cuisine of Cebu - Episode Transcript

Find the transcript of my interview with Louella Alix below.


Welcome to Exploring Filipino Kitchens. I’m your host, Nastasha Alli.

This episode, we’re going to the province of Cebu, in the central Visayas region of the Philippines, to talk about a much-beloved way of cooking with Louella Alix - author of a book called “Hikay: The Culinary Heritage of Cebu”.

Cebu is largely regarded as the second major capital of the Philippines. It’s a vibrant, deliciously rich, and incredibly storied region with so much history I could literally spend an entire episode delving into how this little group of islands basically made the world go round. Hint: it’s gotta do with Magellan and the flourishing of world trade that followed those Spanish explorers and galleons. Even the name “Cebu”, I learned, comes from an old word for “trade”. Now If that isn’t a legitimate claim and window into the foodways of this region…I don’t know what is!

Cebuano cooking in itself - like many regional cuisines of the Philippines, is a reflection of its landscape - with a long mountain range that cuts through the main island north to south, dividing the region into yet smaller communities that each have their distinct ways of preparing meals and various traditional food products.

Cebu is known for a few of those - like the heart-shaped puso, or rice steamed in little packets made from expertly woven coconut leaves that somehow keep every single grain inside. At least 6 distinct regional styles have been identified for puso. And then there’s the famous sutukil - a combination of sugba, tuwa, and kinilaw - which refer to foods that are grilled, made into soup and “cooked” with vinegar.

I am so excited to dive into the regional cooking of Cebu. Let’s get to it!


02:30 About

LA: I’m Louella Eslao Alix. I’m 68 years old, a grandmother. I came to writing quite late; I started writing when I was 59. I started writing for magazines and the local papers. Later, the University of San Carlos - a local university here in Cebu, quite well known - commissioned me to write a book on old churches. I started writing about the history of towns, like the history of Bantayan Island and Mandaue City.

03:25 “I was commissioned to write about food”

After about four or five books, I was commissioned by the university to write about the culinary heritage of Cebu. I accepted that, of course, because finally I was asked to write about food! And I guess they thought about that because the people at University of San Carlos (USC) Press are so used to eating at home, that every time I’d prepare them a meal, they’d say “You should write a book - a recipe book! You should write that book now.” That’s how Hikay happened.

I had to choose 50 recipes from over 200 recipes that I’ve gathered from all over Cebu. Once I chose the 50 recipes to feature, then I had to test them! I had to cook every dish. But who would eat all of this? So I called the people at the university and told them, “Batch by batch you come over and eat what I have to cook, ha. Tell me if it’s tastes good!”

So I’ve written about churches, towns, and now I have Hikay. They’ve actually commissioned me to write a sequel to Hikay, so now I’m deep into research on another book about Cebuano cooking.

It’s all about delicacies - the bibingka, the otap, the budbud, the suman, as well as the savouries. That’s what I’m busy with now.

NA: So to circle back, what exactly does “Hikay” mean, I asked?

05:30 The meaning of “Hikay”

LA: I had to explain that to the people in charge at USC Press. When I was researching - and also from memory - when people say they want to prepare a meal, there was this one word that I heard from almost all the mothers and cooks I’ve encountered. They’d say, “Mag-hikay ko, ug pamahaw.” In Cebuano, that means “I’m going to prepare breakfast.” So the word really is a verb which means “to prepare food.” So “mag-hikay” means “to prepare food” - but then what kind of food? Then you’d say “pamahaw” for breakfast, “pani-udto” for lunch, or “pani-hapon” for dinner.

So the word itself is a verb - but then, it also becomes a noun when it’s used to describe a feast. For an ordinary lunch, for example - you can’t call it a “hikay”, you’d just call it “pani-udto”. But if you spread out several dishes and it looks like a feast or a banquet, then it can be called a “hikay.” The intricacies of the Cebuano language!

NA: I just find it so interesting to explore how food, in this specific example on the islands of Cebu, is like a snapshot of how people go about enjoying their everyday lives. There are cultures that love food, and then there are cultures that regard everything about sitting down to a meal - from growing food to harvesting and preparing and serving it - as something really special, beyond a physical necessity. It’s food that doesn’t simply allow you to function, but also manages to nourish you in different ways. It’s the kind that feeds your belly and your soul. For a lot of Cebuanos, it’s that very definition of self - about family ties and gathering to celebrate the little and big things in life.

08:05 How families eat

LA: It’s still a must for families here, even now, to be together for at least one meal everyday. There (in North America) people are already very busy. Here, most kids go to school, and most parents are able to have breakfast with them, but quickly. Lunch you’d normally eat in the office or school. For the evening meal, there’s an effort to make it a real meal. I see a lot of young families now who are very conscious about that, and that’s very good. I like it that they’re serious about providing at least one meal where everyone’s around.

NA: Now I admit that sounds pretty idyllic, but it’s still a very interesting way to learn about the significance of certain food traditions in Cebuano culture. There’s simply no way to exclude food from identity, because you grow up in an environment where fresh fruit, vegetables, and seafood are around. Where a trip to the local market rewards you with so many kinds of rice cakes, and that famous SUTUKIL - that killer combo of sinugba, tinuwa and kinilaw killer that’s so predominant in everyday Cebuano cooking.

So next I asked - what’s the real value of preserving these heritage recipes?

09:30 Writing to preserve culinary traditions

LA: That was one of the major reasons for writing the book - that’s why I accepted the commission. It was a chance to write down the original dishes. You see, a lot of dishes get bungled, because of the many variations people do to them. For example, I wanted to preserve our way of making escabeche, or diniguan, or adobo. Cebuano adobo is different from all the other adobos in the Philippines.

NA: And here again comes the adobo debate - my favourite part. What makes that adobo different? What’s in it, or excluded from it, that makes it different from the Tagalog version I love?

10:25 Cebuano adobo

LA: Cebuano adobo does not have soy sauce. It’s just vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper. You marinate it and it has no sauce. In many other places in the Philippines, adobo has a sauce - as we say, “May sarsa ang adobo”. But ours is dry. Once the meat absorbs all the marinade, people here add oil, then it’s fried over a slow fire until the meat caramelizes and develops and overall golden colour. That’s the Cebuano adobo. And the smell of that - it permeates through the whole house!

NA: As with life, I’ve mostly been rewarded with an openness to different kinds of adobo - different flavours, different textures. It’s a nice analogy to how we also grow in life, where you just gotta be open to ideas and beliefs that are different from yours. You have to believe that everything just comes together in the end, like a bubbling pot of adobo on the stove. When you hear the click of that rice cooker and get a whiff of freshly steamed rice through the little hole on the lid of the rice cooker…it makes you think, it’s fine - things will turn out just fine.

So, now that we’ve been introduced, I asked Mrs. Alix if she could tell us what kinds of flavours to expect with Cebuano cooking.

12:10 Flavours of Cebuano cooking

LA: Cebuanos are like purists. Cebuanos don’t like too much “sarsa,” or sauce. They prefer their food grilled, fried, and of course there’s kinilaw, which we love.

NA: And then there’s tinola, which as many Tagalogs are familiar with, usually means chicken tinola - a soupy, gingery chicken stew. But in Cebu…

LA: They like fish in their stew.

NA: And that stew is also called tinola, although most Cebuanos call it “tuwa” - that middle part of the term “sutukil”. Basically, their tuwa is a soup of ginger, garlic, fish in this case and a few other seasonal flavourings. In her book, Mrs. Alix adds a helpful note, like a fun little rhyme to help you remember what each of these things mean. “Su-tu-kil” is read as “shoot to kill”. That’s actually what people tell visitors when they ask what the local food is; they just go “sutukil” really fast. It’s Filipino humour and I just love it, as most visitors do. Anyway, going back to that fish stew…

13:30 The essence of tinolang/tuwang isda (fish soup)

LA: For a fish soup, Cebuanos like to see the fish. They don’t want to put other things in it, except of course ginger, onions and tomatoes. That’s all they put in a fish tinola. It’s important that all the other ingredients floating in it can be distinguished from the fish. They like their soup clear.

NA: And then there’s escabeche.

14:00 Cebuano escabeche

LA: We make our escabeche with ginger, garlic and onions. The sauce is not like the Chinese-style “sweet and sour” kind that most Filipinos are familiar with, which is thickened with cornstarch. The Cebuano escabeche has no cornstarch - it’s main flavours are from vinegar, sugar and salt. So you can still see the fish when it’s served!

NA: There again comes that defining characteristic of Cebuano cooking, that need to keep ingredients intact. I wonder, where did this preference for seeing ingredients whole - like for entire pieces of fish, or whole vegetables - begin? And then on top of that…

14:50 “There’s ginger in everything”

LA: Of course there’s the local preference to put ginger in everything. Cebuanos don’t like “lansa” - in the Philippines, that means the fishy or gamey taste in meats, for example, in beef. Cebuanos don’t like beef because it has that smell for them. Unlike pork, which for them, is the tastier meat. Those are the quirks of Cebuanos. They’ll even put ginger in their puto maya, which is glutinous rice steamed with coconut milk. I don’t know why, but they like that hint of ginger in their puto. There’s also ginger in “nilat-an” which is a pork or beef stew, or really any kind of meat stew, boiled in the same way as Tagalog people make bulalo. Almost everything we cook has ginger because Cebuanos don’t like “lansa!”

NA: That’s an interesting thing to note. So now I’m also wondering, on top of this preference for seeing ingredients cooked whole…is this really why ginger is so ubiquitous in Cebuano food? It’s amazing to think about how this penchant for cooking with ginger - for this particular flavour preference - just builds over time, with the cycle repeating itself every time someone teaches another person how to cook.

LA: That’s it. Because you can still taste the main ingredients.

NA: And another example of this understated simplicity that dishes from Cebu highlight really well is the utan bisaya.

16:50 Utan bisaya and the need to keep vegetables whole

LA: The “utan bisaya” is like the “bulanglang” of the Tagalogs. It’s really a Filipino vegetable dish. But the difference is that in the Ilocano and Pangasinan regions, they put bagoong (fermented fish or shrimp paste). In the Tagalog region, they put patis (fish sauce). In Cebu, we only put salt! But it’s the same group of vegetables. It’s still made with eggplants, squash, okra, string beans and lots of malunggay (moringa) called “kamunggay” here.

When you serve the Cebuano utan bisaya, you can see all the vegetables clearly, because the soup is clear. Nothing is added to “muddy” it because they like their soups clear. They’ll put salt, or sometimes a piece of dried fish - but that’s all they’ll put for flavouring. And they don’t mix or stir it too much because that makes the broth not clear.

NA: What a great example of the kind of country cooking that might look pretty simple on the outside, but really needs some serious mastery. Keeping individual vegetables whole and perfectly cooked through in a single dish, requires precision and skill - the kind that you can only learn by doing something again and again. You could do that by staging at a restaurant in Napa Valley, California, you could learn from a seasoned cook in the province of Cebu, by making a whole lot of braised vegetables.

LA: Maybe, intrinsically, it’s good for vegetables not to be stirred too much. That’s how we can explain it, I think. My father was from Pangasinan so I also learned how to cook pinakbet (another variant of this dish) his way. You put the vegetables into a pot and you don’t stir it. You arrange the vegetables according to the length of time it takes for each layer of vegetables to cook, so harder root vegetables go at the bottom and you work your way to the top. You put tomatoes and pour bagoong all over it then close the pot. It makes the dish so nice to look at when you can see all the vegetables distinctly!

20:00 Finding “Lagda Sa Pagpangluto”

NA: Next, we find out about an old culinary text, unique to Cebu. In the first few pages of Hikay, Mrs. Alix writes about a book called “Lagda sa Pagpangluto,” written by a local named Maria Rallos.

LA: “Lagda sa Pagpangluto” is a recipe book written in the Cebuano language in 1924. That’s barely a few years after Filipina women were given the right to vote. Since Hikay was a project of the University of San Carlos, they opened up all of the library’s resources for me. That included the Cebuano Studies Center. They’ve collected so many publications, books and magazines about Cebuano culture and history; it’s a specific part of the library.

One day, a university professor, who was also a manager at USC Press, told me that someone just donated an old recipe book from 1924. The great-grandson (of the author) found a copy and thought it would be best preserved if it was in the university library. So they lent me the book. I was honoured - it was such a privilege to hold a book that old!

NA: Wow. I can only imagine!

LA: It was written by Maria Rallos, who was an amazing woman. She was the widow of the first mayor of Cebu City, at the turn of the century, during the American era. She ran a theatre, she had apartments built and had them rented, she was very enterprising. And she raised all of her children alone because her husband died early on. In the meantime, she was collecting recipes. She wrote “Lagda sa Pagpangluto” when she already had grandchildren.

When I read through the book, I could see that all the foods I grew up with were there…in the 1920s, they cooked the same things! My grandmother was a home economics teacher around the time the book was published. All the foods described in the book were the ones that my grandmother served us later, in the 50s and 60s. It was really an amazing find.

NA: So I totally can’t help but get swept away by these stories of old cookbooks and regional cuisines of yore. I think it’s fair to say that for those of us who look to the past to better understand our present and future - these kinds of cookbooks are a treasure trove.

LA: Then it happened to be the 90th year after the book was published…

NA: This was when Mrs. Alix was in the final stages of writing Hikay…

LA: So I decided to dedicate the book to Maria Rallos. She was a woman really far ahead of her time, when most women stayed home and their lives revolved around their family and their home. You get the feeling that she’s quite happy to be rediscovered!

NA: That’s such a strong testament to tradition - to food traditions that are passed from one generation to another. To be honest, I know that even for a lot of Filipinos who grow up in Manila, this kind of cooking can be unfamiliar, where the actual food served and ways they’re prepared are so inherently family-oriented. And that distance from family food traditions - you know, like when your parents talk about eating some kind of rice cake they had when they were little - it’s multiplied, if your parents left the Philippines and eventually raised you, the person listening, someplace else. That connection isn’t always there, even if your parents love it.

But these old recipes, like the ones from Cebu, they’re time tested - and they’ve got this air of mystery around them. Just think about how certain foods have been prepared the same way time and time again! I have trouble thinking about myself in those shoes, since I’m a product of my time and I like to tinker and innovate on everything. But people did them the same way, through generations, because those ways of cooking worked - and they knew they were good.

Going back to Mrs. Alix, as she was reading this book and thought “This is exactly how I remember my grandmother making them!” - these kinds of notes, those preparations, have to be preserved. It’s a testament to how different families across different towns stick so strongly to a regional preference, for how their soups and vegetables and grains are prepared.

25:30 Recipes from the book

LA: I noticed, for example, that her recipe for leche flan (custard) - a very common dessert all over the Philippines - when I read her recipe, it was exactly how my grandmother did it and how she taught me to make it. The ingredients, amounts and procedures were exactly the same. That alone is too much of a coincidence for me. Then her adobo, as well, is exactly how “adobong pina-uga” is cooked in Cebu. She must have gathered all these things from so many people, because I still see those dishes cooked the same way until now. It’s a wonder how these dishes and recipes have been handed down nearly intact. Even her recipe for bibingka and budbud, a kind of suman.

She must have tested all these recipes, because when you follow them from the book, they’re a breeze to make. She tells you the exact thing to do, but also funnily doesn’t give too much instruction. She presumes you already know the rudiments of cooking and she’s just telling you “this is how you do it” if you want to cook this dish (the Cebuano way). She presumes you know how to slice ginger, onions and tomatoes; how much of it to include. But the thing is that all this was written in the Cebuano language.

NA: Wow. I love learning about these kinds of food traditions, especially how they’ve become shaped over time! There’s such as strong history in every single dish, and it takes a bit of detective work to uncover it - like Mrs. Alix finding this book - but it feels worth it.

LA: What’s amazing again is that one of her daughters wrote a cookbook in the 50s, but this time it was in English. When I was given a copy of that, I had to look through everything. She wrote all of her mother’s recipes in English. Maria Rallos’ recipes were validated (again) through a new recipe book. It’s too bad that no one in the later generations took after the mother and grandmother.

NA: And there goes the heavy-hitter - knowing that, unfortunately, later generations of the family haven’t taken up preserving those distinctly regional recipes. I feel strongly about this, because on the one hand, it’s easy to compare and bemoan many Filipinos’ experiences with these family recipes. It’s easy to say, oh well that’s too bad, that Italian or French families for example have such a strong tradition of passing it down from one generation to another…but I personally think that the reason that chain breaks - that younger people aren’t interested in keeping “the old ways” alive - is because they don’t have a way to relate to it.

And if one way that young Filipinos are finding their way back to those food traditions is by writing and talking about it online, making recipe videos on YouTube, or making a podcast dedicated solely to Filipino food - these acts and ways of showing we care, by attending events and fundraisers that introduce non-Filipinos to the richness of our food culture, all adds up and definitely paves the way.

29:30 All about torta

NA: Next, a story about torta - a rice cake, similar to the Tagalog bibingka, that’s a specialty in the province of Cebu.

LA: The town that’s really famous for torta in Cebu is the town of Argao. But many towns also has its own version; you’ll find people in the towns of Tuburan and Sugod cooking their version. Torta is basically a cake, a “torte” (in the European style). But in Cebu, the leavening agent is tuba. Tuba is coconut wine or toddy.

NA: So just a quick background on tuba - because I swear I got so into this, after I read a book called “Discovering Tuba” by an author named Arturo Pacho. This book is more than a description of tuba - a truly native Philippine liquor made not from coconut water, as you might initially think - but from the sap that flows out of something called the “inflorescence,” or the actual flower bud of a coconut tree. So basically, if you’re in the Philippine countryside and you see these long bamboo poles, kind of tied together up at the very top of coconut trees, and they bridge one tree to another - I love this, it’s so distinctly Filipino to see - these lightweight bridges allow people to collect the sap from these coconut flowers literally up in the air. This sap is turned into an incredibly tasty, powerful drink called tuba. It’s fermented with airborne yeasts, the very definition of something locally produced. And the traditions surrounding tuba are fascinating to learn about. Going back to torta…

LA: So instead of using yeast for this cake, they use tuba. They let the batter rise overnight, then make the cakes the next day. Also, torta uses pork lard - not butter. I once told this story about torta and the lard - do you know Ambeth Ocampo? The historian?

NA: And I do, actually. I binged on getting his series of 12 books compiled from years of writing a column on Philippine history. Such an interesting point of view.

LA: When he was the chair of the National Historical Institute, he came to Cebu once to place a marker on a local church. We were together at the church convent - a party at the kumbento - and he says, “Loy, what’s safer for me to eat here? The torta or the chicharron?” And I said, “You know Ambeth, for every kilo of pork rind, they only get 228 grams of chicharron. So what happens to the rest? Well, it becomes lard. Then it’s bought by the people in Argao to make into torta. With the torta you’re holding, there’s pork lard, egg yolks, sugar and flour. So I guess you’re better off eating the chicharron.” He gave a big laugh and said, “Thank you for saving my life.”

In the next book I’m writing, the torta is going to be featured big time. Nowadays, some bakers use yeast to make it rise. But I still found some torta makers in Argao; one who still uses lard and tuba to make her torta. And she bakes it in a clay oven. In this day and time, there’s someone who bakes with a clay oven!    

NA: Can you just imagine that light, spongy, coconut-yeasty dough, enriched with lard and egg yolks?

LA: That’s it. Then there’s the egg yolks. The egg yolks in all our recipes for desserts are attributed to the use of egg whites in making “palitada,” or the mortar for stones used in building churches. There was no cement back in the 16th and 17th century.

NA: Remembering that Mrs. Alix actually started by writing about churches in Cebu - this is an important thing to note.

LA: With the use of so much egg whites, you can imagine all the housewives looking at all the egg yolks not being used. They must have thought, we can use this and make dessert! Let’s think of dishes to make using egg yolks. And so we have the torta, the leche flan, the yemas, brazo de mercedes. Where there’s a big old church, you can be sure there’s a tradition of making desserts using egg yolks.

NA: And documenting these traditions is absolutely critical - and making this information accessible to more people, I’d say even more so! Because even if, you know, the Philippines is rich with pioneers and advocates for preserving these traditional foodways, like Mrs. Alix does for her hometown of Cebu…

35:30 “This is my life’s work”

LA: The other regions are just as interesting, I’m sure. It’s just that I have made it my life’s work now to talk and write about Cebuano history, Cebuano culture. Somebody has to do it.

NA: So I asked, how does Mrs. Alix see these efforts of preserving our culinary traditions played out? What does she see in the future of these folks who persist with preparing suman, budbud and torta, for example, traditionally? How do we get young people to see the real value of keeping regional food traditions alive? And re-engage them to uncover that sense of pride, a love for Filipino food, that spans not just the food itself but the culture and traditions surrounding how that food is prepared and served and shared?

36:30 “Reality makes you optimistic”

LA: This is something that I worry about. As I wrote in the book, there’s a proliferation of foreign dishes coming into our place. You know our malls…when another mall opens, I cringe because I know there’s going to be more Italian, Thai, Indonesian food being served in these places. More Japanese restaurants are opening. I don’t think the ordinary Cebuano can resist all that. And now, with the older generation, I’m comfortable that they still would prefer “real” Cebuano food. But with the younger generation, I don’t think we can stand the onslaught of foreign influences. I write about the culinary heritage of Cebu because it’s like my last stand in this fight. At least, if someone wants to cook the Cebuano way, there’s a book that can tell them how it’s done.

Most young people now, they’re quite adventurous, like anywhere else in the world - they like to taste new tastes. I just hope that if I’ve written everything I can down, and it’s there for people to go back to, then somewhere - even 20 or 50 years from now - if someone wants to cook humba or adobo (the Cebuano way) they’ll still be able to do it. It’ll be preserved in a book. Because I’m not so optimistic at all - that’s the sad part. People would rather eat something exotic, something French, something American, because it’s there and it’s so easy and accessible to consume. And it’s very affordable. With families now, you have the mothers and fathers working, so when they go home - in addition, with help being hard to find now - who’s there to cook at home? So they’ll heat up something they buy from outside. They’ll still keep the tradition of eating together. But whether it’s Cebuano food they’re cooking or eating, I’m not so sure. 

41:00 A little context on local food culture

NA: It really pierces through my heart, now, listening to this particular part of our interview. Pierces because this idea that reality makes you optimistic is real, because I understand that this is the reality of all regional foodways today - whether you’re in the American lowcountry or the island of Cebu. There’s no stopping the swell of progress, that brings work to the area and keeps people employed, no changing the fact that yes, we do want a variety of foods - this global plethora of foods I can literally eat anytime, itself, is so visible where I live in Toronto, I can’t blame the people of Cebu or anyplace else in the Philippines for wanting the same.

But what I think is really the takeaway here - is that alongside our growing penchant for buying and partaking of all these kinds of foods from all over the world, even if it’s just getting takeout from a shop at the mall - we need people like Mrs. Alix to remind us that regional Filipino cuisine does have to be recognized, and it deserves a place in the mall. I find it funny because this is a particularly Filipino thing, so I want to just take a minute to give some context around this.

I’ve long held a personal opinion that what these kinds of regional foods need is the right marketing strategy - something that can replicated over time, with the right amount “gloss” to make it fresh, make it something desirable. That means it needs the right people - people, for example, like JP Anglo, whose chain of restaurants called “Sarsa” is hugely popular in the Philippines. And yes, his restaurants are in the mall, because that’s where people go. There’s a lot that goes into that formula for success - like finding the right audience to become ambassadors for your product, and having this diligence with promoting and preserving Filipino recipes. Those are two big ones to remember.

Imagine, a food court filled with these well-executed regional Filipino specialties, created by people who took the time to research how these foods were traditionally made, perhaps tweaking them a little to standardize or modernize it, while keeping the soul of that cooking alive - man, I would go to that mall, and brag like crazy to everyone I knew about it. It needs the right people to drive it, and many, many collective efforts to bring the idea and those foods to life. And if the sourcing of those ingredients and food products sold at those establishments were done sustainably, with respect and a dedication to keep those traditional food producers going, it would come full circle so easily.

LA: There’s something I’m so happy about. When Hikay came out, there were a lot of local buyers. So I hope I’m really contributing to the preservation of this particular part of our culture. I hope that with Hikay I brought back interest to our local cooking, and I hope others will follow. 

43:15 What happens when you eat an “old” dish

LA: When you eat an “old” dish, it’s not just the food. The food brings out memories; you have this kind of warm feeling of eating something your grandmother cooked before, that was shared with the whole family before. So now even if we’re scattered all over the world, when we eat something from “home,” we’ll all remember, for example, “lola’s escabeche.” My cousins would say, “When we eat escabeche cooked like lola’s, we always think of her and the family meals we had when she was alive and was still cooking.” It’s not just the eating, but the remembering that makes it more flavourful.

44:10 “Filipinos are all about food”

That’s so Filipino, you know. We gather around food, we celebrate with food, we show our affection with food. With us Filipinos it’s all about food. And family and friends to share it with, of course.


NA: My warmest, special thanks to Mrs. Louella Alix for this interview. Though we recorded a few months ago, what we talked about is pretty timeless - and I hope that you’ll get a copy of her book, Hikay, because it really is a treasure trove of stories and information! It’s available online through, or if you know someone visiting the Philippines - go ahead and ask them to bring you home a copy.

Our theme music for this episode is by David Szeztay, segment music by Eric and Magill, Podington Bear and Blue Dot Sessions. Visit to find full transcripts of all the episodes thus far - special thanks to Anthony, based in the Philippines, for preparing these and getting them ready for you all to check out!

Come back next month for another episode of Exploring Filipino Kitchens, at maraming salamat - thank you, for listening.

This is a transcript of “Episode 11: The Regional Cuisine of Cebu With Louella Alix” (Click the episode link for the audio!)