One way to do this is to eat right. Using the freshest local ingredients, and the ingenuity of foreigners who've traded with the Filipinos throughout history, you can create at least 10 dishes that will not only satisfy your growling stomach, but also warm up your freezing body. For example, you have:
As far as Filipino dishes go, this is pretty basic. It's usually made from meat or poultry stewed in tomato sauce, plus ingredients like green peas, peppers and potatoes. The taste can get overwhelming, so pair it with a cup of hot steamed rice the way most Asians would, and don't forget to ladle on the sauce!
Named after the Spanish phrase for "hot rice," arroz caldo is the Filipino version of the classic Asian congee. You can make it by boiling chicken, throwing in rice to simmer until it reaches a porridge-like consistency, and topping it off with fried garlic bits, chopped scallions and eggs. Add a little bit of tang with calamansi juice, and eat it during breakfast, merienda or any other meal that needs appetizers.
It's hard to say where this dish came from. Some say it's from the Chinese who settled in the district of La Paz in Iloilo (hence its other name "La Paz Batchoy"). Others say it's the creation of an enterprising merchant in the mid-20th century.
At any rate, this noodle-based dish is delicious. Made from shrimp broth with soy sauce, batchoy is often eaten with pork, leeks, eggs and chicharon (deep-fried pork cracklings). You can eat it with the usual fork and spoon combination, but if you don't want to burn your tongue, try chopsticks instead!
Like many Filipino dishes, this was adapted from the Spanish. Derived from the Spanish word for "cauldron," caldereta was originally made from goat stewed in tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, liver, carrots and cheese. Today, the goat is substituted with beef, chicken and pork, and ingredients like tomato paste and tomato sauce are used in place of the real thing.
If there's one Filipino dish you can't mistake for any other, it's this one. Made from an oxtail base, and slathered with a generous serving of thickened peanut sauce, kare-kare is a mouthwatering dish that'll keep you coming back for more. Lucky for those who want to try it, it's a must-have meal especially in Pampanga fiestas, so add that place to your Philippine bucket list!
Similar to adobo, the meat in mechado is marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, pepper, bay leaf and calamansi juice. Then, it's braised in the marinade, topped with ingredients like onion, soup stock and tomato sauce, and simmered until the liquid develops a gravy-like consistency. Considering how long meat lasts in adobo marinade, and the fact that it's so easy to prepare, mechado is a great alternative to takeout meals in the Philippines.
Unlike a similarly-named Mexican dish, this isn't made from tripe and chili sauce. It's more like caldereta, except the meat is sliced and diced instead of simmered, and hotdogs are sometimes added into it. Known as ginamay to the Cebuanos, it's considered one of the most popular dishes in the archipelago.
Also known as nilagang baka (boiled beef), this is relatively simple to prepare. All you have to do is (1) sauté it with onions, fish sauce and whole pepper; (2) simmer the mixture for an hour or two; and (3) throw in the vegetables of your choice while simmering further. This is a healthy dish that goes well with hot steamed rice, and it's one of the dishes that Filipinos associate with good ol' home cooking.
If you'd like to try a sour stew, sinigang might fit the bill. Made with tamarind (or sampaloc in Tagalog) as a base, sinigang is served with meat, fish, poultry and vegetables that complement the distinct taste of this dish. Green long peppers are usually added for that extra spicy kick, and if you want to see the "original" version of sinigang, visit any Tagalog home.
Like sinigang, this is a broth-based dish. The usual ingredients are chicken, malunggay leaves and green papaya, boiled in a broth flavored by onions, fish sauce and ginger. In some versions, mussels or tahong are used instead of chicken, and you'll often find this served to sick people.
These are just a handful of the dishes Filipinos use to cope with the cold weather. Aside from those, you also have noodles, street fare and the perennial adobo, to name a few. With an hour or two to prepare, and the freshest ingredients you can find, you can whip them up in no time!