follow us on

Taal’s Heirloom Recipes Come Alive In Celebration Of Filipino Food Month This April

It’s Filipino Food Month this April, a yearly reminder for us to revive the old family recipes of our hometowns as an important part of our culinary heritage and culture. One such place rife with old recipes that recall the past is the municipality of Taal in Batangas Province. Just a short day trip from Manila, Taal is well known for its rich history and well-preserved ancestral houses.

These days, Taaleños far from their hometown are coming back to their roots, reopening heritage homes for a glimpse of history and a revisit of the community’s unique cuisine and culture.


READ: Did You Know That April Has Been Declared Filipino Food Month? Here’s How To Be Part Of The Celebration


Pio Goco worked in the United States for years before deciding to come home and reopen Goco House, the ancestral home built by his great grandparents Juan Cabrera Goco and Lorenza Deomampo. The house is distinctive for its rounded corners, where the capiz windows have rounded frames, perhaps the only one of its kind in the country.


READ: Timeless Taal: 8 Reasons To Visit The Heritage Town This Summer



Pio offers luncheon or dinner by appointment as part of a guided tour of Taal. On a usual day trip, he’ll take you to see the spectacular view of the sunset in his town as viewed from the Basilica tower, the grim but fascinating old cemetery meant only for the Spaniards, perhaps followed by merienda of halo-halo with feathery shaved ice made by Taal resident Jhun Estacio.


READ: READ: A Weekend Home That Overlooks Taal Lake


At Goco House, the table is set the way it must have been in the days when such a residence required some formality at mealtimes, with heirloom plates, crystal and silverware. The crocheted tablecloths were made by Pio’s aunts, who he says used to take care of them during their summer vacations.


As part of the tour, Pio served a relaxed lunch prepared by the third-generation family cook, Reggie Agoncillo. Here, she shares the recipes for three of the family dishes served:


Taal Adobo sa Dilaw

Among the lunch dishes served us was the quintessential Taal adobo sa dilaw, chicken braised in turmeric. Like their preference for the yellowish adobo, the Taal version of tapa is different too, being made of pork rather than beef.


Serves 6


2 tablespoons cooking oil

2 tablespoons sliced luyang dilaw (turmeric)

1 onion, chopped 

3 cloves garlic, minced 

1 kilo chicken or pork, cut into cubes 

salt or patis, to taste

cracked pepper, to taste 

water, enough to cover meat

1/4 cup vinegar


1. In a pan, heat cooking oil. Sauté luyang dilaw, onion and garlic until fragrant. Add chicken or pork and cook until lightly brown. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Pour in water and vinegar. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until meat is fork-tender and liquid is reduced to half.

3. Transfer to a serving platter. Serve with rice.


Sopas a la Pobre 

Pio named the soup sopas a la pobre perhaps because it was made of bulalo (beef shin) broth without the bone and its meat, but with miswa (rice noodles) and speckled with malunggay (moringa) leaves.


Serves 6 to 8


1 kilo bulalo bones, cut into pieces

8 cups water

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 packs misua noodles

salt and pepper, to taste

2 cups malunggay leaves


1. Simmer bulalo bones in a pot for about one hour. Skim off scum on the surface. Set aside.

2. In another pot, heat cooking oil and sauté onion and garlic. Pour in beef stock together with the bones. Bring to a boil.

3. Add misua and simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Add malunggay leaves. Serve hot. 


Taal Taghilaw

What a treat to taste once more the taghilaw, in which innards of pork (intestine, spleen, kidney, liver) with lean meat and brain are cooked like paksiw, boiled in vinegar, peppercorns, and salt but are served dry.


READ: READ: Neri Miranda's Newest Venture Is A Rustic Restaurant With A Panoramic View Of Taal


Serves 8


2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 onion, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 kilo pork loin (lomo), cut into strips

1 pork heart, boiled and cut into strips

1/2 kilo small pork intestine (isaw), boiled and sliced into 1-inch long pieces

1/4 kilo pork liver, boiled and cut into strips

salt and pepper, to taste

water, enough to cover meat

1/2 cup vinegar, or to taste

3 green chilies


1. In a casserole, heat cooking oil and sauté onion and garlic. Add pork loin, heart, intestine, and liver. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Pour in water and vinegar. Let simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes or until meat is tender. Add chilies. Serve hot.



Goco Ancestral House, Marella corner Del Castillo Streets, Taal, Batangas, (0917) 373-7346, Facebook: Goco-Ancestral-House


A longer version of this article first appeared in FOOD Magazine, Issue 3, 2015

Recipes from the Goco Ancestral House courtesy of Reggie Agoncillo

Photos by Pia Puno