Ultimate Vegan Philippines Travel Guide (from a Filipino Traveler)

Here’s my ultimate guide to being a vegan in Philippines, including basic tips, how to order vegan food, language phrases, vegan and vegetarian restaurants to visit, and vegan Filipino dishes and vegan street food to try.

I’ve been to the Philippines over 18 times now in the past decade, with the majority of it as a vegetarian and vegan.

I also grew up in a Filipino household, and you guessed it, am the only vegan 😛

While Filipino cuisine may not be the most vegan-friendly cuisine, Philippines has one of the most active vegan communities I’ve seen, and there are lots of vegan options if you just do a little research.

Hope these vegan Philippines travel tips are helpful for your next trip!

Vegan and traveling soon?

1. 🎫 Look up vegan-related activities on Viator

2. 🏨 List of 80 Vegan Hotels and Vegan Resorts

3. ✈️ 70+ Vegan Tours Happening Around the World in 2024

Quick Philippines Facts

A single road in Philippines surrounded by tall palm trees and green grass

▢ Philippines is a country in Southeast Asia with more than 7,600 islands.

▢ It’s split into three main regions: Luzon (north), Visayas (central) and Mindanao (south).

▢ People of the Philippines are called Filipinos and the main national languages are Tagalog and English.

▢ However, the country boasts a diverse group of ethnic groups and languages like Kapampángan, Ilocano, Cebuano, Bisaya, Hiligaynon, Waray-Waray and Bicolano.

▢ Currency: Pesos (php) $1 USD = 54 php.

📲 Travel tip: get reliable internet in the Philippines with an Airalo esim. Use my code ROSEAN3468 for $3 USD off your first purchase.


Vegan Philippines: Why You Should Visit as a Vegan

They have an active and close-knit vegan community, one of the most I’ve seen. It’s the place to try the best veganized Filipino cuisine from local vegan businesses and to go to fun vegan Philippines meetups and volunteering events.

In addition to it being an island-hopping travel destination, Philippines is known for their hospitality, including making sure guests are fed, and will try to accommodate a vegan guest.

Veganism in the Philippines

Long white and green banner that says VegFest Pilipinas

While veganism in the Philippines has grown rapidly in the past few years, the word “vegan” and sometimes “vegetarian” is not common.

People may think that not eating meat means you can still eat seafood or chicken.

Some dishes in restaurants labeled “plant-based” may still have eggs, milk or dairy, so you have to be specific and check ingredients. Plant milk subs are also rare outside of international chains.

The safest route is always all-vegan restaurants. There are vegan versions of basically all Filipino meats, dishes, and condiments sold by local vegan businesses and suppliers. Thankfully, there’s plenty of vegan Philippines restaurants, and the food is worth it!

📲 7 Most Popular Vegan Restaurants in Makati to Try in 2024

Do beware that animal cruelty is more obvious and out in the open in the Philippines than in other countries. You will see many deprived street dogs, animal meat markets, and caged animals.


Vegan Philippines Language Starters

Yellow banner that says Vegan Picks on it in Angeles, Pampanga Philippines

▢ English is the second language taught in schools, behind the national language of Tagalog. I’ll be using Tagalog terms for this guide.

▢ There is no word for “vegan” in Tagalog. You can try saying a vegan is “like” a vegetarian, but doesn’t consume eggs, milk, seafood, etc.

▢ The safest bets are always all-vegan restaurants and fresh fruit and veg in a market.

▢ When ordering at non-vegan places, you can ask if a dish can be veganized by removing the obvious: any meat, fish, chicken, eggs, milk, or cheese.

▢ Be extra clear about: mayo, butter, oyster sauce, fish sauce (“patis”), shrimp paste (bagoong) and Magic Sarap (a beef/chicken flavoring).

▢ When in doubt, order stir-fried veggies in simple soy sauce, salt, and pepper (with rice 🍚).

▢ Honey is not commonly used, but for foods that usually contain honey, ask about it. “Pulot” is honey in Tagalog.

▢ “Po” is added to sentences as a sign of respect for elders or strangers.


Basic Vegan Tagalog Phrases

  • Does this have __ ?: “May __ ba?”
  • No, there is none: “Hindi, wala.”
  • Yes, there is: “Oo, meron.”
  • I don’t eat meat: “Hindi po ako kumakain ng karne.”
  • Meat – Karne
  • Milk – Gatas
  • Eggs – Itlog
  • Cheese – Keso
  • Chicken – Manok
  • Fish – Isda
  • Shrimp – Hipon
  • Shrimp paste – Bagoong

📖 Read next: Tagalog Language Phrases for Vegans and Vegetarians Visiting the Philippines


Vegan Filipino Dishes by Default

Most dishes that are vegan by default will be desserts. Skip to the “Easily-Veganizable Dishes” section to learn how to veganize main and savory dishes.

👩🏻‍🍳 Related post: 7 Vegan Filipino Dessert Recipes to Make

Ginataang Bilo-Bilo

A sweet stew of coconut milk, glutinous rice balls, tapioca pearls, and sweet potatoes.

A bowl of Bilo-Bilo, a soup of jackfruit, glutinous rice balls, and banana pieces

Palitaw

A mochi-like flat rice cake made with glutinous rice flour, covered in coconut flakes, and dipped in sugar.

Three flat and round cakes of coconut circles

Biko

Rice cake made from glutinous sweet rice, coconut milk, and brown sugar. The toppings are coconut curds.

A round tray of biko, or brown glutinous rice cake

Espasol

A softer mochi-like sweet rice cake made from rice flour and coconut milk, often with sweetened coconut strips.

A wrapped packet of glutinous rice espasol desserts

Kutsinta

Steamed circular rice cakes made with rice flour, brown sugar, and lye water.

Two tan-colored circle kutsinta steamed rice cakes topped with shredded coconut

Ginataang Mais

A sweet porridge made with corn, glutinous sweet rice, and coconut milk. Once in a blue moon, someone may put dairy cream, always good to ask. / Get the recipe

Yellow bowl of Ginataang Mais, a Filipino dessert of glutinous white rice and kernel corn cooked in coconut milk

Vegan Filipino Street Food To Try

Most street food you’ll see in the Philippines won’t be vegan. But there are some common vegan ones sold by street vendors (mostly desserts).

🍡 Related post: 9 Vegan Filipino Street Foods to Eat in the Philippines

Banana Cue

Saba variety bananas coated in brown sugar and fried in oil.

Banana Cue fried Philippines saba bananas glazed in brown sugar and skewered on a BBQ stick. Common vegan Filipino street food

Camote Cue

Sweet potatoes coated in brown sugar and fried in oil.

Camote cue, a Filipino dessert of sweet potato fried in brown sugar and skewered on a stick

Taho

A mix of silken tofu, sugar syrup, and tapioca pearls.

Read more about taho.

Taho, a Filipino dessert of silken tofu in a cup mixed with tapioca pearls and brown sugar syrup

Buko Juice

Fresh coconut juice, usually mixed with sugar.

Glass of buko or coconut juice surrounded by halved coconuts

Suman

Glutinous rice cake cooked in coconut milk, and wrapped in banana leaves.

Suman, a Filipino snack of glutinous rice steamed in banana leaves

Turon

A fried spring roll (wrapper is usually vegan) with saba bananas, jackfruit, and sugar.

Turon, a Filipino dessert of bananas and jackfruit fried in a spring roll wrapper, another common vegan Filipino street food

Carioca

Fried balls from glutinous rice flour and coconut, dipped in brown sugar syrup. / Get the recipe

Carioca Filipino dessert, fried coconut rice flour balls on a BBQ stick coated in brown sugar syrup

Adobong Mani

Fried peanuts with garlic and salt.

Adobong Mani, a Filipino snack of peanuts cooked in oil and garlic

Fresh Fruit

Look for vendors selling fruits pre-cut or whole.

A bunch of golden yellow mangoes from the Philippines

Easy Veganizable Dishes

If you’re at a Filipino restaurant or staying with locals and there’s no vegan dishes available, ask if they can make the following tweaks to veganize these dishes.

Otherwise, they are usually not vegan!

Kangkong

Stir-fried water spinach. Ask if they can cook it in only soy sauce and pepper instead of oyster sauce, and no other seasonings.

A pile of kang kong pan-fried vegetables mixed with sliced garlic

Pinakbet

A vegetable dish – ask if they can make it fresh with no pork, shrimp, shrimp paste (bagoong), or fish sauce and just soy sauce.

A vegetable dish with okra, squash and green beans

Champorado

Porridge made with cocoa powder, sugar, and glutinous sweet rice. Instead of cream, ask if they can make it with coconut milk.

A bowl of champarado, or rice cooked in milk and chocolate powder

Lumpiang Sariwa

A fresh spring roll with bean sprouts and veggies. Ask if they can make it without adding ground meat.

Shredded carrots wrapped in lettuce that is also wrapped in a white edible wrapper

Laing

A stew of shredded taro leaves and coconut milk. Ask if they can make it without adding any meat and shrimp paste (bagoong).

A bowl of Laing, or dried taro leaves cooked in coconut milk and red and green peppers

Gulay or Chopsuey

Stir-Fry Ask if they can make a stir-fry with whatever vegetables (“gulay”) available or tofu, with just soy sauce. Eat with rice.

Stir-fried vegetables like green beans and cauliflour with tofu

Adobong Gulay or Sitaw

Green beans (sitaw) or any veggies cooked in vinegar and soy sauce. Ask if they can make it without meat.

A piles of green beans on a basket

Common Non-Vegan Ingredients to Look for

These ingredients are often used in sauces in Filipino food. If the dish can be made fresh, ask if they can make a dish without any of these ingredients, and just soy sauce or salt & pepper.

Magic Sarap

Adds umami flavor to soups and stews, but has egg and chicken powder.

A yellow packet of Magic Sarap non-vegan seasoning

Pork

Some seemingly-all veg dishes may have ground or chopped pork added. Ask if there’s meat (“karne”).

Stir-fried vegetables like green beans and cauliflour with tofu

Patis

Fish sauce that’s added to some stews. Ask if they can use just salt instead.

A long white jar of fish sauce

Knorr Cubes

Used for flavor in stews. The only vegan Knorr cube is the vegetable-flavored one.

A yellow box of Knorr chicken seasoning

Bagoong

Shrimp paste used in soups and stews.

A clear jar of pink shrimp paste

Oyster Sauce

May be used in vegetable stir-frys. Ask to use soy sauce instead.

A long jar of Mama Sita Oyster Sauce

Local Vegan Grocery Snacks To Look For

You’ll find some accidentally-vegan snacks as well as vegan meat product lines in grocery chain stores in the Philippines.

Fruits to Try

This will depend on the season, but these are must try produce! Most fruit are imported from southern Philippines. There are way more, but here are a few common ones you’ll find.

Philippine Mangoes

Along with Thailand, Philippines has some of the sweetest mangoes!

A bunch of golden yellow mangoes from the Philippines

Atis Fruit

Similar to a custard fruit

A pile of Atis fruit, or light green-colored round fruit with dragon-looking scales

Lanzones Fruit

A sweet-sour fruit

A box filled with lazones fruit from Philippines, or beige-colored balls

Grocery Stores to Find Vegan Items

Depending on the location, you can find vegan meats and vegan-by-default snacks and items in large chain stores in the Philippines. For vegan-branded and imported vegan goods, the smaller chain stores listed are the go-to’s.

UnMEAT Vegan Meat

You’ll find the UnMEAT vegan meats in most chain grocery stores like SM and Robinsons. They offer frozen vegan ground meat, hot dogs, and burgers. Some stores may also carry their canned vegan spam.

Black bag of vegan ground meat with tacos on in, from UnMEAT, a vegan Philippines brand

Veega Vegan Meat

Veega is another common brand you’ll see. Note a few of their products like the hotdogs are not vegan. The vegan ones have the orange border with the “Vegan line” on it. They offer vegan Filipino meats like tocino, adobo flakes, and tapa that are really good.

Orange and white bag of vegan tocino, a Filipino cured meat, from Veega brand

If you have more time, you can find many vegan items in the Philippines by shopping online (most only accept Ggash or local bank payments).

Large Chain Stores: SM Supermarket, Robinsons Supermarket, Walter Mart, S&R

Smaller Chain Stores: Healthy Options, The Vegan Grocer

Online: Shopee, Whole Mart

There’s SO MANY online vegan Philippines product sellers. Go here to browse the Facebook Vegan Philippines Marketplace.

Vegan & Mostly-Vegan Restaurants

You can also check out my Google Maps with vegan restaurants and vegan food options in Manila and Pampanga.

If you’re specifially visiting Makati, read 7 Most Popular Vegan Restaurants in Makati to Try in 2024.

  1. Cosmic Philippines (Makati + Pasig) – Possibly my favorite vegan restaurant in the Philippines. If you want to try vegan Filipino food, this is the place. Their sisig is a must.
  2. Wabi-Sabi (Makati + Quezon City) – This vegetarian restaurant serves a mostly vegan menu with Japanese food, including vegan tantanmen ramen and really good side dishes. In the same restaurant is a stall for vegan kakigori, or Japanese-style shaved ice. The matcha one is SO good.
  3. Greenery Kitchen (Makati) – One of the top vegan Filipino restaurants I’ve tried. They also have a stall at Terminal 3 arrivals at the NAIA airport in Manila!
  4. Theejay BBQ (Manila) – They serve the best vegan Filipino BBQ I’ve ever eaten. And all of their vegan Filipino dishes are just as good.
  5. Green Bar (Makati) – If you’re craving dishes like vegan burgers, donuts, or veggie rice bowls, Green Bar is the place to go!
  6. Kahatea (multiple locations) – Make sure to ask to make the drinks vegan, as they make the best vegan Filipino milk tea! I crave vegan leche flan milk tea often.
  7. Shaka Cafe (Mall of Asia) – If you find yourself at the Mall of Asia, heada to Shaka, an all-vegan cafe chain serving up burgers, smoothies, and desserts.
  8. Pizza Plant (San Juan, Manila) – Craving pizza? Order from Pizza Plant, an all vegan pizzeria. I’ve tried a few of their pizzas, and all were solid!

Tips:

1) Use the search bar in the Manila Vegans Facebook group to see more options in the city you’re visiting.

2) Check HappyCow.net filtered by city for vegan Philippines food options. These are the restaurants I’ve either been to, or are popular with local vegans.

Vegan Philippines Travel Bloggers

If you know any Philippine-based vegan travel bloggers/nomads to add, let me know!

Food Bloggers @TheFoodieTakesFlight @theveganfoodieph @AstigVegan

Activists @manilavegans

And More @vegansofmanila @manila.jiva.yoga

Facebook Groups to Join

Manila Vegans  – Largest online vegan community group in the Philippines. You’ll find all vegan businesses & restaurants here that you won’t find in a Google Search.

Vegan Marketplace PH – Product postings from local vegan Philippines businesses.

Northern Luzon

Central Philippines

Southern Philippines

Tip: to check for options specific to the city you’re visiting:

  1. Check HappyCow.net
  2. Use the search bar in the Manila Vegans Facebook group.
  3. Search for “Vegan [insert city/region] in Facebook and filter by groups.

Vegan Events & Activities

Festivals

Vegan Philippines events to look out for:

Philippines Travel Quick Links:

📲 Local sim card or eSIM card from Airalo

🚊 Ride from the airport: prebook a ride | airport shuttle bus

🎫 Browse through dozens of available Philippines tours

Related Posts

9 Vegan Filipino Street Foods to Eat in the Philippines

7 Vegan Filipino Cookbooks to Check Out (Yes, They Exist!)

7 Vegan Filipino Dessert Recipes You Have To Try!

Tagalog Language Phrases for Vegans and Vegetarians Visiting the Philippines

List of 130+ Vegan Festivals Around the World in 2023 & 2024

13 Vegan Filipino Restaurants and Food Options in the US and Canada

Top 8 things to do for first-timers in Manila + Makati, Philippines 2024 🇵🇭
PPOP RISE! 🤎 1st Ever PPOP CON, Wish Bus, Alamat, SB19, Eunwoo Kpop Fanmeeting in Philippines 💜