Discovering The Heritage Soup Dishes of Negros Island

The wet and windy weather has been looming over the Philippines the past ten days.  This has made us crave for the comfort food that comes in a bowl.  Just in time, the Negros Season of Culture, an advocate of Negrense heritage, will shift editorial spotlight to food in the months of July and August this year to zoom in on favorite soup dishes. Warmth in a Bowl started as a social experiment after a backyard survey revealed that 80% of Negrense favorite food selections are soup dishes.

The series features 10 dishes, from refreshing consommĂ©s to hearty chowders, and versions thereof, as happens between families, between kitchens. Many are swayed by ingredients that abound locally. Others are dictated by prized family recipes executed by well-trained “kusineras”. And so, travelers from across the country find their bearings through blogs that point them to the best Kansi house, or that of the hearty one-pot KBL (acronym for kadyos, baboy, langka). There are amazingly creative menus written out of humble farms, featuring the veggies of Laswa, the banana of Inubaran, the bamboo of Tambo, and the coconut of Chicken Binakol. Still others are rooted to peculiar traditions, like the Fish Tinola and Bas-oy that are part of Negrense breakfast fare, and the Pancit Molo that reigns supreme in the Negrense mahjong fare. The list is capped by the warmth and nostalgia of Linutikan, a bowl that predates the popular squash soup of today.

Heritage, however, is not carved in stone. It is a developing human saga. What we know as culinary heritage today was formed through the years. It absorbed influences foreign to it, from the Malays, Chinese, Spanish, and Americans. We can probably expect that decades from now our food heritage will be more complex, but hopefully without losing its trademark identities.

Filipino cuisine, and thus Negrense cuisine, has always been about assimilating tastes from beyond our borders. By virtue of colonization, our food is marked by Malay, Chinese, Spanish, and American influences, to say the least.

In recent decades, with instant communication, free trade agreements, and borderless travel, we have seen the entry of different Asian cuisines into Negros, and with it, their “Filipinization” to suit the taste preference of the Negrense diner.

That hope rests on our young and maverick chefs. Our second food project, Beyond Borders, features three who have quickly established names for themselves at home, running their own popular restaurants. We follow the journeys of Chefs BJ Uy of East Bite Asian Kitchen, Don Colmenares of Berbeza Bistro, and Nico Millanes of Portiko CafĂ© and Lounge as they pursue the Negrense’s love for culinary adventure beyond traditional borders. They are modern-day food whisperers, purveyors of fusion cuisine made possible by a world where boundaries have been blurred by technology and geopolitics, where differences of nationalities have yielded to similarities of age segment. To them we ask, quo vadis Negrense cuisine?

Negrense Season of Culture is proud to present these Negros Food stories with the standing endorsement of the Department of Tourism, Region VI, and alliance and support from Union Bank GlobalLinker.

For more stories on Negrense heritage, visit or Like them on FB and IG @NegrosSeasonOfCulture.