August 26, 2017
Travelling in the Philippines is cheap according to the budget travelers I met and hosted. When they ask me where they can eat a cheap meal, I always tell them to eat at small stores called Turo turo or Tapsilogan. And these stores are everywhere!
Turo Turo, also known as Carinderias are practically everywhere. Turo means to point. You have to point out which viand you want to eat. You can find these stores in every street, every school and every parking area of jeepneys and tricycles. When I had the chance to talk to repatriated Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Syria a couple of years ago, most of them would tell me that they want a carinderia business.
Tapsilogan is a coined term for Tapa (Cured Beef), Sinangag (Fried Rice) and Itlog (Egg). These stores are usually open at nighttime until early morning. A meal usually costs a dollar.
These stores are not only popular to travelers but also for locals. As for me, a person who tries to become healthy in this Fast Food country, turo turo are my go-to stores to eat healthy meals. Not to mention the support you give to local entrepreneurs and a dirty finger to the Fat Bee and the Scary Clown.
Earlier, my friends and I went to this turo turo near a University hospital. The place was tiny with only six tables and around 2 dozens of monoblock chairs. There were 4 vegetable viands and around 8 meat viands, both in stainless steel containers. I ordered the sauteed bitter gourd and this very tasty taro cooked in coconut milk. The 2 vegetable viands cost a dollar. It was cheap. It was healthy. It tasted like mom’s cooking.
During dinner, we went to our favorite tapsilog place. I ordered TunaSilog and a bowl of tofu. They served it with soy sauce, a very sour green lime and my all time favorite chili paste. This costs around 2 dollars.
I am not sure why we still eat at expensive unhealthy fast food chains when we have these local stores. If you happen to travel to the Philippines, make sure to try out turo turos, carinderias and tapsilogan.