Today, we are celebrating the Philippines’s 123rd Independence Day. It is on this day in 1898 that we declared our independence from Spain, and the very first time that our flag, our national symbol, was first waved on the balcony of the Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite.
But it isn’t only the Philippine flag that is considered a national symbol. In fact, there are many icons out there that are associated with us Filipinos. Think Dr. Jose Rizal, our national hero; or the Narra tree and the Lupang Hinirang, among others. All of these make the Philippines, the Philippines. (Read: 5 Patriotic Movies To Watch On Independence Day)
But if there is one thing that makes Filipinos distinct from other nationalities, it surely is our food! Our national fruit, mango, is loved by many for its sweetness; our national fish, bangus (milkfish), is known to be adaptable in different conditions; and our national animal, the carabao, has many agricultural purposes.
So in honor of Independence Day, we take a look at some of the dishes we can make using these national symbols! (Note: Let’s also remember to preserve our wildlife just like our hardworking carabaos.)
National Fish: Bistek na Bangus
Unofficially, adobo is the national dish because many consider it to be so, and tourists and foreigners associate it with the Philippines. But since we’re only talking about national symbols, we’re listing a similar dish to adobo that uses our national fish, bangus!
The bistek na bangus is the seafood version of beef steak or bistek, which is highly similar to adobo, and has the sweet, salty, and sour flavors we love. Try this recipe here.
National Animal: Tapang Kalabaw
We all know that the carabao or kalabaw is a hardworking and gentle giant that helps our farmers with their crops. They stay under the sun for long periods of time to carry harvest. But did you know that the carabao also has delicious meat?
In some provinces, people would turn carabao meat into delicacies such as tapang kalabaw or dried carabao meat. It takes a longer time to soften, but many say that it is worth the wait. So if you happen to chance upon carabao meat, why not try and make a batch of tapa? Follow the recipe here.
National Fruit: Mango Coffee Cake
This recipe combines three Filipino favorites: mango, coffee, and cake! It is an unusual combination, but it is surely a delicious one. (Read: 5 Dessert Recipes Using Fruits in Summer Season)
Imagine getting the sweetness and a hint of sourness from the mango, and then the bitterness of coffee, all mixed into one dense cake! It’s a good dessert for gatherings and family celebrations, especially since it’s very Filipino and not many brands carry this flavor. Check out the recipe here.