Street food is a significant part of the culture in Southeast Asia, with Agriland getting the opportunity to experience some of the local cuisine of the Philippines.

Agriland made the journey to Manila, as part of the Bord Bia trade mission led by the Minister of State with responsibility for new market development, Martin Heydon.

Irish agri-exports to the Philippines are valued at €150 million, based on figures from 2022 – with the aim of increasing this over the coming years.

The majority of the products on offer are chicken and pork products – with many of the parts considered to be of waste in western culture, used here.

Filipino food is very much a mix of most Asian cultures when it comes to gastronomy, but it is also influenced by western culture.

For over 300 years, the Philippines was a Spanish province. In 1896, the Philippine revolution began, with the aim of gaining independence from Spain.

This revolution lasted through 1898 when the Spanish–American war broke out.

This resulted in Spain losing its domain over the Philippines, and the nation was transferred over to the United States – thus ending the Philippine revolution.

The Philippines would be governed by the United States until 1946.

Street food tour

Some of the food on offer on the streets of Manila included items such as skewered ham, skewered pig ears, skewered chicken gizzards, skewered chicken intestines, skewered chicken stomachs and pork stuffed peppers.

As expected, many of the foods are unusual in comparison to the typical Irish person’s western diet, with the chicken gizzards and pig ears of particular note.

Both quite tough to eat, which isn’t unexpected, as chicken gizzards in particular are a hard-working muscle in poultry.

Chicken intestines were surprisingly quite tasty, once you get past the visual appearance.

Chicken stomachs with quail eggs were a surprisingly tast item on offer from the street food venders.

The Filipino people are fond of cheese, with cheese included in many unconventional products.

Some of the more unusual ones were cheese flavoured ice-cream and a cheese spread for toast.

This interest in cheese bodes well for Irish dairy, as Bord Bia looks to increase dairy exports to the Philippines and Malaysia by €15 million in the coming years.

Already dairy exports to these nations are valued at €131 million, based on figures from 2022.


Manila is known by most as the capital of the Philippines, but it actually consists of 16 cities.

These include: City of Manila; Caloocan; Las Pinas;  Makati; Malabon; Mandaluyong; Marikina; Muntinlupa; Navotas; Paranaque; Pasay; Pasig; Quezon City; San Juan; Taguig; Valenzuela and one municipality called Pateros.

The region encompasses an area of 619.57km² (239.22m²), and has a population of 13,484,462 based on figures from 2020.

Within the neighbourhoods, there are two forms of public transport – they are Jeepney and the three-wheel (tricycles) motorbike.

A Jeepney on the streets of Manila

The jeepney originated from the jeeps left behind by the Americans during World War II. They were converted into transport for the local population. 

The routes are around the local neighbourhoods and are written on the windshield and sides. There are no official jeepney stops and you hail a jeepney from anywhere on the street.

You pay the driver by passing your money forward through the other passengers and change comes back the same way.

To stop the Jeepney you have to say ‘Para’ or you can bang the hand rail with a coin to signal the driver.

The other method of transport within the local neighbourhoods is the tricycles, they are small motorbikes with a side car.

There appears to be countless numbers of these bikes around the city; they are an extremely quick and cheap method of getting around.