I first heard of “Sinanglaw” in 1992 as we were filming eminent director Eddie Romero’s “Noli Me Tangere” for the CCP Cultural Center of the Philippines in Vigan, Ilocos Sur.

After a long day’s shoot, we — assistant director Jo-Ann Cabalda-Banaga, production consultant Jo Atienza, production designer Rodel Cruz, production design assistants Pia Fernandez and Karisse Villa, period consultant Jo Panlilio, et. al. — were relaxing at the workshop of the “Art Dep” art department / production design department [ in an old and crumbling Vigan ancestral house ] and we found ourselves discussing comparatively healthy Ilocano cuisine…  “Inabraw,”  “Pinakbet,”  “Sinanglaw,”  “Mollo,”  “Bagnet,”  “K-B-L,”  …

The eyes of the red meat-loving Kapampangans in the group glazed over at the thought of all the “bagoong,” vegetables, and various innards which were the staples of Ilocano cuisine…

Alpha male, macho production designer Rodel Cruz blurted out:  “Wow, pare, you have to taste “Sinanglaw”!!!  Woohoo!!!  Pare, it’s so macho with all those cow innards it’ll freak you girls out.  Wow, man, it’s the death of cuisine!!!”

Now that really got me curious…  what exactly was “Sinanglaw”???


In Vigan, Ilocos Sur, “Sinanglaw” is a soup of cow innards sauteed in ginger, garlic, onions, peppers, and of course, bile fluids.  Sometimes, goat innards are also used.

The best “Sinanglaw” I ever had was cooked — “Slow Food” style — by Manang “Glori” Gloria [ the housekeeper at the Quema ancestral house in Vigan ] in the 1990s [ indeed, really good “Sinanglaw” takes about four hours to simmer ].  It was served for breakfast along with other Vigan morning fare like the garlicky longganizas, etc..

I remember that wonderful Vigan breakfast hosted by Rebecca “Becky” Quema de los Reyes well.  We were with Patis Tesoro, Cora Alvina, Glenna Aquino, Sonny Tinio,  Ramon Zaragoza, Jo Panlilio, et. al..

[ I will always remember Manang Glori because she is the ultimate Vilma Santos fan.  When Vilma Santos first ran for mayor of Lipa, Batangas, Manang Glori organized a small contingent from Vigan and they loyally traveled all the way down to Lipa, Batangas to cheer and support their idol.  Vintage photos and posters of Vilma decorate the walls of Manang Glori’s bedroom.  She says she will gladly die for Vilma Santos.  She claims that she will do anything for Vilma should she ever visit Vigan, Ilocos Sur.  If current Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto ever reads this, I hope she will send some signed memorabilia ASAP for her ultimate fan Manang Glori at the Quema ancestral house in Vigan, Ilocos Sur. ]

I ate so much of the delicious, cholesterol-laden “Sinanglaw” — two soup bowls full — I developed a massive headache of cerebral aneurysm quality for the rest of the day… harharhar!!!   😛   😛   😛


  1. Rose Valera said,

    October 27, 2011 at 12:03 am

    I will miss the pinapaitan or sinanglaw. I have gout . Lamang loob are the worst food for gout sufferers. Diay Ilocos, naimas ti bagoong. I cannot eat that now. Pa-asin-asin na lang

  2. June 12, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Yes, Joanne, I meant every word I said. 🙂

    I was lucky that I first visited Pagudpud — Saud and Maira-ira — and the Patapat Cliffs way back in the summer of 1992. Saud had a white sand beach but one could only swim in the morning as it got rather rough in the afternoon. We only learned about the placid Maira-ira cove when we were already in Saud. We were advised that, while it was a more beautiful beach, it wasn’t exactly “open” to tourists. But we took our chances and it just took our breaths away. The drive through the Patapat Cliffs was awesome, we could not stop taking pictures!!!

    Luckily and unexpectedly, we were also able to eat fresh lobsters and other unusual crustaceans in Saud, Pagudpud. What a treat!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂


    Toto Gonzalez

  3. Joanne Ranada said,

    June 11, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Toto, your praise of the Ilocanos warms my heart. 🙂

    If you find it beautiful now, oh, how you should have seen it 10, 20 years ago! I remember the beaches of Maraira (the Blue Lagoon) to be so virgin and innocent and huts of local fishermen are just by the shoreline. To earn a few pesos they’d offer a ride in their banca to the Dos Hermanos Islands where scuba diving would be an underwater heaven.

    For the food, i think it’s another story. Where prosperity takes a toll on the natural beauty of the place, Ilocano food has maintained its distinct taste and characteristic that is truly unique.

  4. June 11, 2010 at 9:43 am

    I absolutely agree, Ipe. Ilocos Norte is one of the most beautiful places I have visited in our country; I have been there several times. The sheer expanse and the vistas are splendid. The white sand beaches of Saud and Maira-ira in Pagudpud and the Patapat Cliffs are spectacular; I cannot forget the wondrous emerald and aquamarine hues of the sea. Our pixes there look as if they were taken in the Mediterranean or the Adriatic seas.

    And Ilocano food — contrary to popular perception — can be very good when it is carefully prepared, “Slow Food” style, by true-blue Ilocanos and Ilocanas. There is simply no other place in the country to eat the best “Pinakbet” and “Inabraw” but in the Ilocos. The vegetables — so unlike Manila’s with that unmistakable “processed taste” — are farm fresh, crisp, sweetish, and of “Julia Child quality”!!!

    And the Ilocanos were a revelation, both the ladies and the gentlemen: aside from being very hospitable and even gallant… when “keyed” the right way, they were some of the most fun people we had ever met… anywhere in the world!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂


    Toto Gonzalez

  5. Ipê Nazareno said,

    June 11, 2010 at 2:14 am

    Yes, that’s right Joanne. It is called biscocho and, like you, I like the soft one better. I make it a point to go to Pasuquin everytime I’m in Ilocos Norte. I actually have no Ilocos Norte blood running through my veins but I just love the province. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the Philippines. My favorite time to visit is from December to February when the weather is cold and the Patapat Viaduct reminds me of old Carmel by the Sea.

  6. Joanne Ranada said,

    June 10, 2010 at 8:09 am

    Ipe, right? I love the place too. Now, I’d like to hear how a bakasyonista would describe the place. I’m curious. 🙂

    The Pasuquin bread is called “biscocho” (i’m not sure if I spelled it correctly). They have it in soft and hard varieties. Personally, I like the soft one.

  7. Ipê Nazareno said,

    June 10, 2010 at 12:18 am

    God, Joanne…. I LOVE Dawang’s (and also Pasuquin bread). Now you made me hungry.

  8. June 8, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Thanks for the tip, Joanne!!! I’ll remember that.

    Toto Gonzalez

  9. Joanne Ranada said,

    June 8, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Ilocanos sometimes call this dish “paksiw”.

    The BEST place where you can try this in Ilocos Norte is in “Dawangs”.

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