This couple’s favorite bonding activity is unearthing forgotten, heirloom Filipino recipes
Rediscovering heirloom Filipino recipes from centuries past isn’t necessarily the most typical date idea, but this couple does things a little differently.
The Lost Filipino Cookbook is a TikTok account run by real-life married couple Roberto Villacabral and Beatriz Gomez. They cook up long-forgotten recipes and trace the origins of where our favorite Pinoy dishes come from.
@thelostfilipinocookbook A story with a bite. Here’s the origins of everybody’s favourite pulutan. Thank you @Mama Sitas for the Sukang Iloko crucial for this presentation, and to @Red Rustikz for their delicious sisig. Kain na! 🍛 SISIG MUTUA (Papaya sisig) 400 grams / 14 ounces green papaya Sea salt, to taste 5 grams / ¼ ounce / 2 cloves garlic 1 gram / 24 peppercorns 40 grams / 1½ ounces sukang Iloko #TheLostFilipinoCookbook #FYP #ForYouPage #Sisig #Salad #FilipinoFood #HistoryOfThePhilippines🇵🇭 ♬ original sound – The Lost Filipino Cookbook
Villacabral is a culinarian and cultural worker by trade, and Gomez has worked professionally as a food scientist, so food and heritage naturally came hand-in-hand for the pair.
The Manila-based couple had been planning on documenting their culinary adventures, but the push came by way of a serendipitous marketplace visit.
“One time we had an excursion to Liliw. And there, when we were walking around, Rob saw these vendors selling paho—the little mango.” Gomez told Nolisoli.ph.
@thelostfilipinocookbook Reviving this recipe of ✨🥭 BURONG PAHO 🥭✨, the antiquated Filipino analogue for brined Spanish green olives. Ingredients: – 350 grams paho (Magnifera altissima) – 35 grams salt – Water, enough to fill up the jar #fyp #foryou #LutongPinoyRecipe #filipinofood #filipinotiktok #culture #pinoytiktok ♬ Vals Poético (feat. Los Macorinos) (Instrumental) – Natalia Lafourcade
“Then he said, ‘You know what? I’m going to get [the mangoes] and I’m going to make a video of how these used to be brined when the Spaniards came and how they would use it as a substitute for their olives.’”
The rest—and they say—is (food) history.
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Seasonality is also an important theme in their content. For Milk Day, the couple posted a video on tibuk tibuk, a milk-based kakanin from Pampanga.
@thelostfilipinocookbook Happy World Milk Day! We commemorate this occasion with our first ever video covering a regional specialty. Kain na! 🍲 #TheLostFilipinoCookbook #WorldMilkDay #FilipinoFood #Kapampangan #Tiboktibok #Muhallebi #ArabCuisine #HeirloomRecipes #fyp #foryoupage ♬ original sound – The Lost Filipino Cookbook
Their adobo versions
In their Independence Day video, they featured four versions of adobo from different regions of the Philippines: the original adobong puti, adobong dilaw made with turmeric, adobong pula made with atsuete or annatto, adobo sa gata or adobo made with coconut milk, and adobong itim—the adobo that we’re all familiar with today.
@thelostfilipinocookbook Happy Independence Day! To commemorate this special 125th anniversary, we cover a Filipino favourite that could be considered our national dish. Kain na! 🍗🇵🇭 ASSORTED ADOBONG PILIPINO 550 grams / 1 pound and 3 ounces pork 630 grams / 1 pound and 6 ounces chicken Adobong puti 7 grams / ¼ ounce sea salt 8 grams / ¼ ounce garlic mince 1 bay leaf 300 grams / 10 ounces sukang tuba Adobong dilaw 7 grams / ¼ ounce sea salt 14 grams / ½ ounce red onion slices 8 grams / ¼ ounce garlic mince 6 grams / ⅛ ounce turmeric juliennes 5 to 10 black pepper corns 1 bay leaf 30 grams / 1 ounce sukang tuba 275 grams / 9¾ ounces water Adobong pula 7 grams / ¼ ounce sea salt 14 grams / ½ ounce red onion slices 8 grams / ¼ ounce garlic mince 5 to 10 black pepper corns 3 grams / ⅛ ounce achiote 1 bay leaf 30 grams / 1 ounce sukang tuba 275 grams / 9¾ ounces water Adobo sa gata 10 grams / ⅓ ounce patis 28 grams / 1 ounce red onion slices 8 grams / ¼ ounce garlic mince 3 grams / ⅛ ounce ginger juliennes 5 to 10 black pepper corns 1 bay leaf 30 grams / 1 ounce sukang tuba 130 grams / 4½ ounces water 150 grams / 5½ ounces coconut milk Adobong itim 10 grams / ⅓ ounce soy sauce 8 grams / ¼ ounce garlic mince 5 to 10 black pepper corns 1 bay leaf 30 grams / 1 ounce sukang tuba 265 grams / 9 ounces water #TheLostFilipinoCookbook #FYP #ForYouPage #PinoyTikTok #PhilippineIndependenceDay #Adobo #FilipinoFood #HistoryOfThePhilippines🇵🇭 ♬ original sound – The Lost Filipino Cookbook
Since posting the burong paho video in April of this year, their TikTok has amassed over 40,000 followers. For all Filipinos—and especially those living abroad—their videos serve as a cultural touchpoint that combines entertainment and education. All done deliciously and with lots and lots of love.