Estelea's Blog

French Mum, humanitarian, restless explorer and doer on sabbatical in Cebu (Philippines): one Attila in each arm, I am exploring the “toddlers safe” corners of the region, while trying to keep some room for Me.

The secret of my weight loss? living in the Philippines!

Don’t get me wrong: Living in the Philippines is great! awesome people, places, everlasting summer … But there is one thing I ll never get used to, it’s the food!

For a vegetarian like me, Filipino food is a nightmare. It’s still very hard to find something without meat, and on top of that, I don’t like rice and I try to avoid any kind of added sugar.. How many times have I pretended “no thanks, I am not hungry” when I really meant ” I am actually starving but you only have lechon here”. I don’t think I will ever get used to seeing people eating the infamous balut – the infamous bird embryo that is boiled and eaten from the shell.

Not that I am too picky or anything, I think it is cultural. If I ever eat fish, it shouldn’t look like one or else it gives me the creeps. So imagine my reaction the first – and only – time I asked for a soup and it came with the head of the dead fish starring at me with its white eyes.. Ms Attila was in horrified and in tears “Mum, they cut the head of the fish! There is a dead fish in the soup!!!”.

Then I discovered this hilarious video of American kids discovering Filipino food. And I felt like I was not the only one 😉

Can I just have a hot calamansi juice please? Salamat!


21 comments on “The secret of my weight loss? living in the Philippines!

  1. lexklein
    December 7, 2016

    I just made a big mistake: I watched until the part of the video when they got the egg … I haven’t even eaten breakfast yet, and now I don’t want to! I had to snap it off – fast! Maybe I should come to the Philippines; I need a little crash diet right now! 🙂

    • estelea
      December 7, 2016

      😀 and lucky us the video doesn’t come with the smell ..I d rather eat the whole grass in the garden to ever getting close to that!
      Come here though, diet and yoga on the menu ! and there is always a McDo nearby in case of emergency, nothing can beat their French fries 😉

  2. jtvaleroelectrical
    December 8, 2016

    I’m a Filipino and vegetarian too at young age I lived in the province of Cebu where vegetables are always in the table.. Now I got married and live in the city everything here is meat and oily foods especially in carenderia, if you want to go to restaurant there’s lechon and crispy pata.
    I would be happy if I eat in an carenderia with a lot of vegetables.

    • estelea
      December 9, 2016

      Oh yes, I hear you ! It would be so great .. Are you living in the center of Cebu now? there are a couple of good options I know, but it is too bad that the vegetarian most of the time have to pay more, especially when there are so many great ways to adapt the Cebuano dishes.
      The other day a friend of mine made baked Lumpia with coconut flesh instead of meat, it was sooooo yummy! A carenderia with lots of vegetable would be my breakfast/lunch and diner favorite place 🙂

      • jtvaleroelectrical
        December 9, 2016

        I’m now living in Liloan Cebu. But everyday I will go to Mandaue City and Cebu City.

      • estelea
        December 12, 2016

        Waou that’s a long journey! especially at this time of year .. All the best to you dear and Happy Xmas to you and your fam 🙂

  3. Andy
    December 8, 2016

    You’re a vegetarian?
    *re-follows to make a final comment*
    When Spent a week in the Philippines (Mactan), the best place I found to eat was Korean, followed by an Italian place. Can’t beat the cheap rum though.

    • estelea
      December 9, 2016

      True, Tanduay is an institution here! Korean love their meat too, and after 10 days in Seoul I became kimchi intolerant forever 😛
      You know, before the Philippines I lived in India and Thailand so I guess I ve been a bit spoiled when it comes to VG food ..

      (Yes I am a vegetarian but a cool and never practice proselytization, or else I would feel very lonely in my own family. So I do respect the second hand vegetarian too (“the cow eat grass. I eat the cow”)

      • Andy
        December 12, 2016


      • estelea
        December 13, 2016


  4. Green Global Trek
    December 10, 2016

    I totally can relate to this! I rarely eat meat, fried food or sugar. The hardest place I can recall to date for me food wise was Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Finally we found a vegetarian restaurant and an Italian one and found a guesthouse nearby and then ate all our meals there. Sounds like you need some time in Ubud, Bali girl!!

    • estelea
      December 12, 2016

      Oh yeah! a bit of Ubud would definitely be a nice Xmas present 🙂 At least we have a great resto that happens to be French, oui oui, that serves real salads, with real vegetables. I know the menu and the ingredients by heart.. It feels so good to know that there is a place to go in case of emergency 😉 Sri Lanka has enough varied food from what I recall, right?

      • Green Global Trek
        December 12, 2016

        Yes. Lots of seafood, curries, rice. It is not Ubud, but it’s pretty decent.

      • estelea
        December 13, 2016

        Pretty similar to South India I think? yummy …..

  5. anroworld
    December 10, 2016

    Oh, that dead fish head sounds pretty scary, definitely! Hope you are doing well, dear Estelea, we’ve been out of contact for a while. You did not watch any of my series yet!

    • estelea
      December 12, 2016

      THe dead fish is nothing in comparison to the dead duck foetus 😦 brrrrr …. I will dear, those last weeks have been so hectic, I have really been missing our chitchats! Talk soon XXX

      • anroworld
        December 12, 2016

        I missed them too! It’s good to know you are well, yeah, life is hectic nowadays. Are you ready for Christmas? Will go to Europe for Christmas holidays? My best wishes and hugs!

      • estelea
        December 13, 2016

        We ll spend Xmas here, by the beach 🙂 we ll leave the Philippines in May or June, so better enjoying the pristine beaches now .. Maybe we ll be in a cold country next year, who knows?
        In the Philippines, people have been preparing Xmas since Sept!!! They are definitely ready. Not me, yet. Even after all those years in Asia, I still have a hard time believing it is Xmas when it is so hot outside :)\
        How about you? Ready?

      • anroworld
        December 13, 2016

        Right, I do understand why it can be hard to get to hot Christmas, I can hardly imagine. It is real winter here, I am preparing my Christmas Special video where you can see a lot of snow. Here is cold as well, fortunately, not so. Everywhere you can feel the Christmas spirit. I will be ready as soon as my Christmas episode is done, I am so excited about my new series launched via YouTube. I have already made 3 episodes and felt great. You know how crazy I am about film making, it’s like I can touch my dream. Also I prepared special Christmas photo souvenirs, hope someone can enjoy them. So, I believe I am not bored!
        Yeah, you have to enjoy last months at beach, you might see it later. I was happy to chat with you and wish you joyful Christmas season. Swim a lot! Ouch, it would be fantastic to wear bikini now and dive to warm waters of ocean….

  6. that traveling nurse
    December 15, 2016

    it is cultural, you’re right. the philippines is a bad place to be a vegan. I’m sorry. 😉 i do love my meat but i don’t do the balut and the fish head and anything raw. ahhh…a few more weeks then I’m home! enjoy your hot tropical christmas!!!

    • estelea
      December 16, 2016

      This year we’ll spend it in Bantayan! Traffic here is so totally crazy at this time of year, it’s always easier when there are just a few tricycad on the streets 😉 Merry Xmas dear!

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This entry was posted on December 7, 2016 by in Cebu, Culture shock, Me, Philippines and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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