Pakbet Ilocano

Lasang Pinoy 21, the Anniversary Edition:
Cooking for Heroes

Lasang Pinoy 21, the Anniversary Edition:Cooking for Heroes
My heroes: Being from Vigan my choices would be husband and wife Ilocano heroes Diego and Josefa Gabriela Silang.

Diego Silang led a revolt against the Spanish government. Diego was able to expel the Spanish provincial governor of Vigan. The Spanish authorities hired Miguel Vico, a Spanish mestiso friend of Diego to assassinate him. On May 28, 1763, Diego Silang was shot in his own house in Vigan.

After Diego’s death, his wife, Josefa Gabriela Silang, took over the revolt and fought courageously. From Abra Josefa led her troops towards Vigan on several attempts, but she was driven back and was forced to retreat to Abra riding a fast horse. And finally a strong force was then sent against her to Abra, this time she was captured. On September 20, 1763, Josefa Gabriela Silang and about 100 followers were executed.

Pakbet Ilocano

My food: Pakbet, the authentic pakbet cooked in Ilocandia is not a sautéed vegetable in onions and other aromatic ingredients or with shrimp bagoong paste. It is simple boiled vegetables with fish bagoong toped with either bagnet, fried pork or dried fish. The word pakbet or kebbet in Ilocano dialect means shrivel. Pakbet or pakebbeten is to make it shrivel, the vegetables are boiled to a low heat until they shrivel. What ever vegetables available or in season can be used and of course the sweet potato or kamote is a must to add a bit of sweetness to this salty dish.

If I was to cook for the katipuneros during their revolt against the Spaniards lead by Diego and Gabriela Silang I would be cooking pakbet. A genuine Ilocano’s favorite vegetables, bagnet and bagoong are the basic ingredients of pakbet. Who knows this dish must have been cooked for/or by Gabriela Silang and serve on countless times to Diego Silang and his men. I would say that pakbet was a regular dish during their uprising against the Spaniards for the following assumption.


Ingredients are easy to source, pakbet is a dish that uses any vegetables that are available, it also uses kamote as an extender and all are being grown at ones backyards or even in the wild. The sahog use is either bagnet, fried pork or dried fish and of course bagoong na isda which I would say are essential take along foods on any guerilla campaign.

It is easy to prepare, cooking is simple boiling and simmering and no other special cooking procedure, just put all the ingredients in a big clay pot place over the camp fire and leave it until it is ready to serve. With this cooking method the entire battalion’s food can easily be prepared.

It has a long shelf life, these explain why this dish is salty. During the old times foods must be cooked either with a lot of salt or vinegar and almost dry to extend the food shelf life. The katipuneros surely at some occasions did not have enough time to even cook their food, therefore when they can find time they have cook food that will last them for several days. In fact left over pakbet serve the next meal taste better, at this time all the salty aroma of bagoong have already totally infused with the vegetables.

Here is the recipe.


Pakbet Ilocano - Cooking Procedure

1/4 k. bagnet, cut into big cubes
1 small bundle sitaw, cut in 2” lengths
3 small size ampalaya, seeded, quartered
3 small size round eggplant, slit half
1 small head cabbage, quartered
1/2 c. patani seed, skinned
2 small size kamote, quartered
1 small bundle okra, trimmed
1 medium size onion, chopped
1 big size tomato, chopped
2 thumb size ginger, sliced
1/2 c. bagoong na isda

Cooking procedure:

In a casserole pour 2 cups of water and let boil. Add bagoong diluted in 1 cup of warm water, pass thru a sieve to filter out fish bones from the solution, Reduce heat and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes and remove all scams that rises. Add in kamote, ginger and all the other vegetable ingredients. Leafy vegetables, onions and tomato on top. Cover and simmer at low heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until vegetables shrivel and liquid has reduced to half. Top with bagnet and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Serve hot with a lot of rice.

Try our other Pinakbet recipes; 

Ginataang Pinakbet 
Meatless Pinakbet, Fish Pinakbet 
Pinakbet Tagalog 
Pakbet with Bagnet, Pinakbet Ilokano 
Pinakbet, Overseas Pinoy Version 

There it is my first ever entry to Lasasang Pinoy.

Lasang Pinoy, which could mean ‘tastes of something Filipino’ or short for ‘the Filipino taste’ is a monthly food blogging event to promote Filipino food. It is a product of email brainstorming sessions of several Filipino food bloggers who thought it was time for a Filipino event in the tradition of Is My Blog Burning.


  1. Uy sarap. Are you able to get bagnet where you are? Or do you make it yourself as well?

    Love your food blog! Thanks for joining LP.

  2. when i chose andres bonifacio as the hero i would cook for in this round of lasang pinoy, i already thought of pinakbet. changing to luna instead, i think it was more appropriate to feature iloco dishes. and even if i was assigned a hero, i think i'd still go for ilocano dishes . . .

    thanks for joining lasang pinoy 21! hope to see you again in future events . . .

  3. Mike and Stef,

    Looking forward already for LP22, Thanks for the nice compliments.

    The bagnet was padala from home and it was just in time for my LP21 entry. Pork is available here in Abu Dhabi, lechon kawali is a good substitute.

  4. Thanks for this pakbet recipe and the history lesson!

  5. wish i could cook this one without my mum panicking! (she'll object, i'm sure, even if i say "this is the authentic ilocano pakbet!")

  6. i know now where to come for my filipino recipes! maybe you can join the Weekend Herb Blogging events whenever you cook some unusual Filipino vegetables? you have some very interesting and delicious recipes.

  7. Masarap din pag may kalabasa. I'm guilty of getting only talong and kalabasa when it's served in the house. I don't like the other vegetables so much.

  8. Marvin thanks for the visit, I have been trying to check your site but for some reason I could not get thru.

  9. Hi ut-man! One of my favorite yan... pakbet! My dad's Ilocano :-)

    Welcome to LP!

  10. hi there! it's nice to find a blog of real authentic pinoy food. yes, pakbet is my fave. too bad, a lot of the ingredients are not easy to come by dito sa new york. ilocano ako so i do make pinakbet the traditional ilocano way. funny, but dito ako natuto magluto.

    keep writing. i will for sure come back for ideas. request lang: baka pwede alternative ingredients if possible paki-indicate.


  11. Im an Ilocan too but we dont put cabbage in our pinakbet. we use catuday, or alocon and tomatoes. we put broiled fish in a boiling water for the dish until it turns yellow in color then we take off the fish and set it aside put bagoong then pop in there all the vegies,when its almost cooked we put the fish back on top of it. we put kamote tops or dried armang. and its good just like that. I am in LA right now and im in the army . I do love your site though its trivial. and makes me miss ilocano food.


  12. Hi jenn,
    Thanks for sharing your pinakbet version. I am glad that a kababayan from the US army can still find time to write a comment, once again thank for the compliment.


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