Indulging in a great breakfast is the best way to start your day, and that's pretty consistent no matter where in the world you are. Here in the Philippines, staples like tapa and tocino come to mind, but you'll find way more options for early birds as you travel across our islands. Here are some of them:
Ilocos - Longganisa
No visit to the Ilocos region would be complete without a serving of their famous Vigan longganisa. Small, savory, and bursting with garlicky flavor, it's a far cry from the sweeter sausages that are more commonplace in our country. Don't forget to dip this in sukang Iloko for an Ilocano dining experience that'll have you saying naimas (delicious)!
Cordillera - Pinuneg
Pinuneg is the Cordilleras' answer to their neighboring regions' longganisa. They may look similar, but this one's a bit more hardcore, with pig's blood as its main ingredient. Chow it down with some native rice and a mug of steaming Cordillera coffee!
Batangas - Tawilis
When in Batangas, you should definitely have tawilis for breakfast at least once. This freshwater sardine can only be found in Taal Lake, and you can eat each fish in its entirety; no need to look for pesky tinik! It's usually served alongside some rice, eggs, and diced tomatoes.
Sarangani - Bangsi
If Batangas has their tawilis, Sarangani province at the southernmost end of the country has their bangsi. It's a kind of flying fish that's usually served salted and deep-fried, daing-style. Pair it with some tomatoes, eggs, and a nice heaping of rice, and you're good to go!
Cebu - Danggit
Cebu is known for their buwad (dried fish), the most famous of which is the smelly, but oh-so-delicious danggit. Cebu City's Taboan Market is the best place to buy danggit, as well as a whole slew of other dried marine life like pusit, spada, and dulong.
Iloilo - Bas-uy
Soup for breakfast? Why not? Take your cue from the Ilonggos and have some bas-uy, a pork and liver soup cooked with lemongrass, ginger, and a host of vegetables to start your day. Eat it with rice and fried dried fish, as our kababayans in the Panay island do.
Negros Oriental - Budbud
Do as the locals do in Dumaguete City and head to the painitan at the public market. There, you have to order budbud, their version of suman. There are different budbud variants depending on the main ingredient, but if you want something a bit more extraordinary, get the budbud kabug, which is made of millet instead of rice. Wash it down with sikwate (native hot chocolate) for a breakfast to remember!
Bicol - Binutong
It seems like each province has its own sweet dish made of sticky rice, and the Bicol region is no different. Bicolanos have binutong, a creamy, banana leaf-wrapped delicacy made of glutinous rice and coconut cream. Add a bit of sugar for a filling and masiramon (delicious) meal!
Laguna - Kesong Puti
You know what goes really well with your pandesal? A nice chunk of kesong puti, fresh from Laguna. Made from unskimmed carabao milk, kesong puti is usually wrapped in banana leaves and is sold fresh from the factory. Its usual shelf life is only about a week, but come on, can you really wait that long before giving in to the urge to finish the whole chunk?
Davao - Kinutil
If having alcohol first thing in the morning is your thing, you shouldn't miss trying kinutil, an energizing hot chocolate drink mixed with tuba and a raw egg. Get this at the Bangkerohan Public Market in Davao, where you could also buy durian, mangosteen, and pomelo for a more nutritious start to your day.
Photos via Yummy.ph, Tripadvisor, Flickr, CNN