5+ Refreshing Filipino Summer Drinks With Easy Vocabulary

Filipino summer drinks - A glass of buko juice surrounded by coconut and palm leaves on a wooden surface.

Filipino summer drinks are a lifeline in this scorching heat, especially now with El Niño making 2024 feel like we’re living in an oven. The United Nations even warned us about this “global boiling” thing back in June 2023.

But we Filipinos are resilient! We’ve got our ways of cooling down—and I’m not just talking about air conditioning. I’m talking about the delicious, thirst-quenching drinks that are as much a part of our culture. Today, let me take you on a mouthwatering tour of the best Filipino summer drinks out there.

Why Do You Need Filipino Summer Drinks In The Philippines?

Filipino summer drinks aren’t a luxury these days—they’re a necessity. You see, the Philippine weather is known for being hot and humid, with temperatures often soaring above 30°C (86°F) and humidity levels reaching a sticky 90%.

But here’s the thing: it’s not just uncomfortable—it can be downright dangerous. In fact, PAGASA, our trusty state weather bureau, has sounded the alarm. They say the heat index, or damang init in Tagalog, in 40 areas across the country, could hit “danger level” this summer.

Just imagine, as of May 13th, places like Dagupan (a sizzling 117°F/47°C!), Virac (115°F/46°C), and Roxas (113°F/45°C) were already feeling the burn. With that kind of heat, heat cramps and heat exhaustion are practically knocking at your door, and heatstroke isn’t far behind, especially if you’re exposed for too long.

It’s no wonder the Department of Health has already reported 77 cases of heat-related illnesses this year, including seven deaths, as of May 4th. And that, my friends, is where our beloved Filipino summer drinks swoop in to save the day (or at least make it better)!

These summer refreshments are lifesavers that replenish those precious electrolytes lost to the sweltering heat. Plus, they’re a delicious way to cool down and experience the vibrant flavors of the Philippines!

What Are The Best Filipino Summer Drinks?

Alright, enough talk about the sweltering heat! You get it—Filipino summer drinks are essential for surviving (and thriving!) this summer season. Here’s a rundown of the most refreshing, delicious, and popular Filipino drinks that’ll help you beat the heat:

Traditional halo-halo, a popular Filipino summer treat, served in a tall glass with colorful ingredients and toppings.

1. Halo-Halo

Halo-halo, which literally translates to “mix-mix” in English, is like a party in a glass. Seriously, this thing is packed with all sorts of goodies—crushed ice, sweet beans, colorful jellies, tropical fruits (think jackfruit and coconut), and a big scoop of creamy leche flan. Add a scoop of bright purple ube ice cream and a sprinkle of crunchy toasted rice.

Shaved iceThe base of the drink, keeping it icy cold and refreshing
Sweetened beansUsually red beans (kidney beans), white beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), or mung beans; adds texture and a subtle sweetness
FruitsCan include saba (sweetened bananas), langka (jackfruit), macapuno (coconut sport), or kaong (palm fruit)
JelliesNata de coco (coconut gel), gelatin cubes in various colors, or sago (tapioca pearls)
MilkEvaporated milk is poured over the top for a creamy finish
Purple yamUbe halaya (purple yam jam) adds a distinctly Filipino flavor and vibrant color
Leche flanA silky, caramel-topped custard that adds richness
Ice creamA scoop of ube, vanilla, or mango ice cream tops it all off

To make a halo-halo, just swirl everything together until it becomes this creamy, dreamy concoction. It’s pure bliss on a hot day.

Yeah, I said halo-halo is one of the best Filipino summer foods out there, but wait until the crushed ice melts. It turns into one of the most beloved summer drinks in the Philippines, especially for people who don’t want their halo-halo too cold.

A hand holding a clear plastic cup of Filipino milk tea, a refreshing summer drink, with blurred city lights in the background.

2. Milk Tea

Milk tea lovers, I know you’re waiting for this! This Taiwanese import has exploded in the Philippines! It’s everywhere, with shops sprouting up left and right since 2008. Classic milk tea with chewy tapioca pearls is a staple, but we Pinoys love our options.

Mango? Strawberry? Avocado? You name it, they’ve got it. Some, including me, add cheese foam for an extra “oomph.” Jollibee even dropped a cool $12.8 million on the Bubble Tea brand, so you know it’s the real deal.

Black teaThe base of the drink, brewed strong and mixed with milk and sugar
MilkUsually fresh milk or non-dairy creamer is added for a creamy texture
Sugar or syrupSweetens the drink and balances out the bitterness of the tea
Tapioca pearlsAlso casually known as “boba,” these chewy pearls are a classic topping
Other toppingsCan include grass jelly, aloe vera, pudding, or even cheese foam
FlavorsPopular options include taro, matcha, brown sugar, and fruit flavors like mango or strawberry

Milk Tea is surprisingly easy to make at home. Start with your favorite black tea, brewed strong. Mix in milk (dairy or non-dairy, your choice!) and sugar or syrup to taste.

Don’t forget the star of the show—tapioca pearls! Cook them until they’re soft and chewy, then add them to your tea mixture. Want to get fancy? Throw in some grass jelly, pudding, or even a dollop of that trendy cheese foam.

A photo of peeled coconuts and their juice and meat.

3. Buko (Coconut) Drinks

We can’t talk about Filipino summer drinks without giving a shoutout to the mighty coconut or niyog in Tagalog. We Filipinos are obsessed with coconuts, and for a good reason—they’re delicious and super versatile. And when it comes to beating the summer heat, buko (young coconut) drinks are where it’s at!

Here’s the buko lowdown, straight from yours truly:

  • Buko Juice: The OG, the purest form of coconut refreshment. It’s like Mother Nature’s sports drink, straight from the young coconut. Packed with electrolytes, it’ll keep you hydrated and feeling refreshed even when the sun is doing its best to melt you.

  • Buko Shake: This is like a tropical milkshake, but better. Creamy coconut flesh, sabaw ng buko (coconut water), milk, sugar, and lots of ice. You can even amp up the sweetness with a drizzle of evaporated and condensed milk.

  • Buko Pandan: This one’s got a little extra somethin’ somethin’. We’re talking pandan (screwpine) leaves for a fragrant aroma, gata ng niyog (coconut milk) for richness, and some gulaman (agar jelly) for a fun, jiggly texture. It’s like the buko pandan salad you love, but in drinkable form!

  • Buko Salad Drink: This drink combines coconut meat, tapioca pearls, assorted jellies, milk, and sweet syrup for a unique combination of flavors and textures. It’s a refreshing drink version of buko salad, a famous Filipino dessert for every occasion.

Buko JuiceYoung coconut waterFresh, hydrating, and electrolyte-rich
Buko ShakeYoung coconut meat, coconut water, milk, sugar, iceCreamy, tropical, and refreshing
Buko Pandan DrinkYoung coconut meat, pandan leaves, coconut milk, gulaman, sugarFragrant, sweet, and cooling
Buko Salad DrinkYoung coconut meat, sago pearls, assorted jellies, milk, sweet syrupUnique, fun, and festive

Making these Filipino drinks is easy, too. For buko juice, just crack open a young coconut and pour that sweet juice into a glass. If you like, add a squeeze of calamansi for a tangy twist. For the other drinks, just blend everything together until smooth, pour over ice, and enjoy!

These delicious Filipino drinks are unbelievably nutritious. Coconut water is ultra-rich in electrolytes like magnesium and potassium, helping replenish lost fluids and prevent dehydration. Plus, the coconut meat itself is full of fiber, healthy fats, and all sorts of vitamins and minerals.

4. Fruit Juices And Shakes

We’re blessed to have an abundance of tropical fruits in the Philippines, and they’re practically begging to be transformed into refreshing summer drinks. Here are the best Filipino fruit juices and shakes you need to try this summer:

  • Mango Juice/Shake: Sweet, juicy mangoes are a staple in Philippines cuisine. The Filipino mango makes the most refreshing juice, shake, and even dessert, perfect for beating the summer heat.

  • Calamansi Juice: This tiny citrus fruit is our local version of lemonade, and it’s both tart and refreshing. Squeeze it into ice water or blend it into a shake for a zesty pick-me-up. It’s packed with Vitamin C, too, so it’s good for you!

  • Melon Juice/Shake: Cantaloupe or honeydew blended with ice and a touch of sugar makes a refreshing drink. And don’t forget to eat those melon bits at the bottom!

  • Guyabano (Soursop) Juice: This one’s a little more unique, but trust me, it’s worth trying! Guyabano is a sweet and tart fruit packed with vitamins and antioxidants. Blend it into a creamy shake, and you’ve got a tropical treat that’s delicious and good for the body. According to experts, Guyabano cures different kinds of ailments. Interesting!

  • Avocado Shake: I know it sounds weird, but avocado shakes are a thing here in the Philippines, and they’re surprisingly delicious! They’re creamy, rich, and refreshing. Plus, they’re full of healthy fats and nutrients, so they’re basically a meal in a glass!

Juice ng manggaPhilippine mangoes, water, sugar, ice, (milk for shake)Sweet, tropical, and refreshing
Calamansi JuiceCalamansi fruit, water, sugar, iceTart, tangy, and thirst-quenching
Katas ng melonRipe cantaloupe or honeydew melon, water, sugar, iceSweet, refreshing, with melon bits
Guyabano JuiceGuyabano fruit, water, sugar, iceCreamy, sweet-tart, and nutritious
Avocado ShakeRipe avocados, milk, sugar, iceRich, creamy, and filling

To make any of these drinks, just blend the fruit with the other ingredients and serve over ice. Add sugar to taste, or try evaporated and condensed milk for a sweeter treat!

Pro tip: Head to the nearest palengke (local market) or fruit stalls commonly found on the streets for the freshest, ripest fruits. Trust me—it makes a world of difference in flavor!

A photo of two glasses of ice cold sago't gulaman.

5. Sago’t Gulaman / Samalamig


Let’s move on to one of the classic Filipino beverages that are as fun to say as it is to drink—sago’t gulaman (shortened sago at gulaman or “tapioca pearls and agar jelly”)! Or, as we call it, samalamig from the word sa + malamig (literally means “to a something cold”). It’s a simple concoction but a real crowd-pleaser, especially on a hot day.

We’re talking about chewy sago pearls swimming in a sweet brown sugar syrup, along with cubes of gulaman. It’s the kind of drink that makes you feel like a kid again, slurping up those pearls and chasing them with the sweet syrup.

Sago pearlsSmall, chewy pearls made from tapioca starch
GulamanAgar jelly, usually cut into cubes or rectangular strips
Brown sugar syrupA sweet syrup made from caramelized brown sugar and water
WaterServes as the base of the drink
IceKeeps the drink cold and refreshing

Sago’t gulaman is everywhere! You can find it at almost every food stall, restaurant, and street market, from parks to outside schools and office buildings—almost anywhere. It’s a staple in our summer drink lineup because it’s cheap, refreshing, and just plain delicious.

How Do You Say Filipino Summer Drinks In Tagalog?

You can say “Filipino summer drinks” in Tagalog as Mga inuming Pinoy sa tag-init. Here, mga indicates the plurality of “drink” (drinks), inuming is derived from inumin, which means “drink” or “beverage,” Pinoy is a colloquial term for “Filipino,” and sa tag-init translates to “in summer.” The pronunciation is ma-nga ee-noo-meeng pee-noy sah tahg-ee-nit.

Philippine Summer Drinks Helpful Phrases

You’ve got the lowdown on all the amazing Filipino summer drinks. Now, let’s ensure you can talk about them like a pro. Whether you’re ordering, asking for a recipe, or just curious, learning these Tagalog phrases will have you covered.

Where can I buy…?Saan ako makakabili ng…?
Which drink do you recommend?Aling inumin ang nirerekomenda mo?
How do you make…?Paano ka gumawa ng…?
Is this drink sweet?Matamis ba ang inumin na ito?
Are there any non-alcoholic drinks?Mayroon bang mga inuming walang alkohol?
What are the ingredients in…?Ano ang mga sangkap ng…?
Where can I find…?Saan ako mahahanap ng…?
I want a cold…Gusto ko ng malamig na…
How much is a…?Magkano ang isang…?
Can you teach me how to make a…?Pwede mo ba akong turuan kung paano gumawa ng…?
What is the recipe for…?Ano ang recipe ng…?

Frequently Asked Questions On Filipino Summer Drinks

San Miguel beer is the most popular alcoholic drink, while buko juice, sago’t gulaman (samalamig), and fruit shakes are popular non-alcoholic options, especially during summer.

What Is The Cultural Drink Of The Philippines?

Tapuey (rice wine), basi (sugarcane wine), tuba (palm wine), and lambanog (distilled liquor) are all traditional Filipino alcoholic beverages with deep cultural roots.

Are Soft Drinks / Soda Safe To Drink In Summer?

Soft drinks are not ideal for hydration in summer due to their high sugar and caffeine content, which can dehydrate you further. Stick to water, buko juice, or other naturally hydrating drinks.

Cheers To The Philippine Summer!

I hope you’re now equipped to beat the Philippine summer heat with these refreshing Filipino summer drinks in hand. Remember to quench your thirst while embracing the vibrant culture and finding joy in the simple things. So go on, raise a glass (or coconut shell!) to good health, good times, and the sweet taste of summer in the Philippines!

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