The temperature in the Philippines has been unusually colder for the past few weeks.
It has been reported that the since the first week of January, it has dropped to at least 18 degrees Celsius in the mornings and at night.
This cold weather is due to the “amihan” or northeast monsoon which will continue until February.
Representatives from the Philippines Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration (PAGASA) said that the temperature at the mountain provinces, particularly in Baguio City, reached 8.1 degrees Celsius.
In Manila (capital city of the Philippines), temperatures dropped to 17.5 degrees Celsius at around 2 a.m. on Jan. 18.
In our country, the normal or average temperature can range from 25-32 degrees with humidity of about 77 per cent. Highland areas may have night time temperatures of 20 degrees.
From the month of March to May, the Philippines experiences hot summers with 39-40 degree temperatures. While from October to February it can be as low as 22 degrees.
When I “skyped” with my granddaughter the other day, it was so funny to see her wearing a toque and heavy jacket when they were on their way to the park. But this is definitely a good break from all the heat and humidity that they normally experience.
The cold season is also the time when Filipinos prepare hearty comfort food to keep warm. The top five dishes that are perfect for cold weather are the “lugaw” (congee), “suman” with “tsokolate de batirol” (rice cake with hot chocolate), chicken “sopas” (creamy macaroni chicken soup), “champorado” (hot chocolate porridge) and “sinigang” (sour stew).
Overseas Filipino workers like us, most specially the ones who work and live here in Canada prepare these foods almost all year round (for obvious reasons).
The “champorado” is my favorite. It is a warm chocolate rice pudding that we Filipinos eat for breakfast or during snack time.
I noticed that the rice pudding here in Canada is often served cold with milk and tapioca. Although the champorado can also be served cold it is better when warm.
Champorado has a bittersweet taste when combined with “pan de sal” (soft, buttery rolls) and/or salted fish.
When I was a little girl and to this day, I love eating champorado with a banana or a sausage.
This chocolate rice porridge is made up of sweet glutinous rice and cocoa powder. It is very easy to prepare although I often refer to the recipe in the Panlasang Pinoy (Filipino Taste) website when I want to get exact measurements of the ingredients.
8 tbsp. Cocoa powder
1 cup of glutinous rice
1/2 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups water
condensed milk (optional)
Pour 2 1/2 cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil.
Put-in the glutinous rice and allow water to re-boil for a few minutes.
Dilute the cocoa powder in 1 cup warm water then pour-in the pot. Stir continuously.
Once the glutinous rice is cooked (about 12 to 18 minutes of cooking with constant stirring), add the sugar and cook for another 5 minutes or until the texture becomes thick.
Remove from the pot and place in a serving bowl.
Serve hot with a swirl of condensed or evaporated milk on top.