A Foreign Blogger’s Poor Opinion on Filipino Food And What’s Seriously Wrong About Filipino Food Blogging

agnes walewinder orders turd burgerBlogger Agnes Walewinder’s post on eTramping about her poor opinion of Filipino food isn’t going to get link loving from me.  Not because I am butt hurt or that I’m taking her criticism of Filipino food personally, but because I really think her blog post is so poorly written and its criticism has little value other than to call attention to herself.

Fellow Get Real Philippines blogger ChinoF probably has Agnes doing headstands and somersaults for getting some attention from some Pinoys who are only too willing to give it to anyone who’ll make even a mildly insulting comment about anything Filipino.

What is pathetic about Agnes is that she has to defend herself by commenting on Chino’s blog post: “I am not an ignorant traveler, but an experienced and respectful travel nomad who has been living and travelling in various Asian countries since 2011. I have tried a lot of different street dishes from Thailand to Sri Lanka and I felt disappointed with the Philippines cuisine the most. It’s my personal experience, but it seems like Filipinos hate everyone who has a different opinion. I’m so disappointed reading all of these mean comments.”

A few moments ago, I felt like going over Agnes’ post sentence by sentence just to point out each and every flaw, but I figured it would be just a waste of time.

So let me just point out the flaws that run through her entire post:

One. The title is a sweeping generalization.  It was originally “I Would Rather Go Hungry Than Eat Filipino Food Again!” before it was changed to “I Would Rather Go Hungry Than Eat Filipino Street Food Again!”  The thing is the blogger was too lazy to re-write the entire article to take out traces of the original title and you’ll find her referring to all Filipino food over and over again.

Two. Lack of crucial details such as where in the Philippines she went to sample Filipino food.  Even without a “selfie” to prove that she actually went to the Philippines rather than Google-sourced everything, mentioning exactly where she ate would probably explain why her experience of Filipino food was the way it is.

The thing is, Filipino food varies in quality from place to place and depending on the time of day, month, or year.

One paragraph in her blog says she went to the local market and found the food there to be of poor quality.  She didn’t say whether she went to a small market locally called talipapa or a big market, which makes a whole lot of difference.  And among big markets, there’s a huge difference between good ones like Suki Market which is clean, organized, and well lighted; and nasty ones like Galas Market or the old Divisoria market.  There’ll also be a difference in what you’ll find depending on the time of day, if you go in the morning you’re more likely to get the better quality stuff than if you go in the afternoon.  Why? Because most Filipinos do their marketing in the morning and the earlier, the better.  Also, you’ll also have to know which market sells the best particular produce.

For all I care, the blogger could have gone to some roadside talipapa in the afternoon and based her assessment of Filipino food from what she found there.  Even worse, she could have eaten at some hole in the wall karinderia expecting to be wowed.

Goodness! That’s like going to some random greasy spoon in the Bronx and basing your assessment on American food on that.  If that isn’t ignorance on multiple levels, I don’t know what is.

Three. The entire post lacks any sense of organization that would make it useful for the reader and I hardly got through the whole thing on the first reading.  It was ACTUAL WORK to try and make sense of what she was saying.

On the flip side of this fiasco, of course, are Filipino food bloggers who rave about almost any new restaurant or food product that they are introduced to and slug it out among themselves for invites to the opening of new restaurants or product launches — or so, I was told.

I don’t know whether it was last year or the year before that the word “Patay Gutom Bloggers” went around and it seemed some part of the Pinoy blogosphere was on fire.  But perhaps that is the impression that people will have when they see people quarreling over restaurant or food product launch invites.

Just recently, I was made aware that the PG blogger fiasco is still going on and has attracted even more bloggers into the fray.

If I were a PR practitioner looking at the whole thing and was told by my client that they wanted invited a couple of food bloggers to the opening of their new restaurant, I’d have to ask what value would they expect a self-professed food blogger’s post add to the overall communication campaign?

It would help a lot if the food blogger actually knows a thing or two about food other than being gifted with the ability to stuff their pie hole, work a keyboard, and snap photos all at the same time.

There are people who know food and people who KNOW food, do you get what I am saying?  There are people who spend a lot of time and money to find out about a particular dish or particular kind of food.

Take Charlie Gaw, the owner of Sabroso, for instance.  I thought I knew enough about lechon until I met him.  This guy claims to have traveled the entire country tasting the best lechon in every single province and he has come to the conclusion that the best lechon comes from Cebu.  Thing is he says that not all lechon in Cebu tastes great and there are actually just a few lechon makers there that really make great lechon.  Then among those lechon makers, there’ll be only be a limited number of the best of the best lechons.

Charlie is active on Facebook and I think still has a Multiply site for Sabroso (his brand of lechon).  He is well known among lechon makers because he used to supply a number of them with pigs for lechon.  He is also well regarded among restaurant owners in the Morato area in Quezon City and his social network includes some of the most well known foodies in the Philippines.

If I had a client who was launching an all pork restaurant, I’d probably recommend that they invite Charlie because I’d presume Charlie knows a lot about pork and his opinion about pork would carry a lot of weight.

Thing is, not all food bloggers or people who blog about food are like Charlie who can afford to educate their minds and palates.  But at the very least, they should take pains to know more about food — how it’s made, how it’s cooked, where it comes from, etcetera.

Thing is, if you are writing about anything, it really matters that you actually know a lot about what you are writing about.  Otherwise, you’ll come off like Agnes or some forgettable food blogger.

Conlusion: Agnes Walewinder’s review of Filipino food boils down to saying that she ordered a turd burger and is disappointed that it tastes like crap.

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Post Author: Paul Farol

Try not to take me too seriously.

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97 Comments on "A Foreign Blogger’s Poor Opinion on Filipino Food And What’s Seriously Wrong About Filipino Food Blogging"

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ChinoF
Member

No problem with me. I took the other side of the fence, because that tends to be more unpopular, I think.

Gisela
Guest

The mystery question is:

WHY WAS SHE LOOKING FOR LONGGANISA IN A WESTERN CONVENIENCE STORE?

And then go claiming she was looking for “authenticity”?

I do not care if she hates or like Filipino food…. but she shouldn’t be complaining if she’s looking longanisa is a convenience store.

I hope she does not go to KFC in China and then look for “authentic Orange Chicken”.

ChinoF
Member

The 7-11 personnel don’t even tell her where to get longganisa. They just want to make a sale.

Gisela
Guest

In the first place, 7-11 is an AMERICAN company. That should have given her a clue.

And it is a CONVENIENCE store.

There is no excuse for that. If I go to Thailand, I will not go to 7-11 to look for a Tom Yum.

Yawn
Guest

7 to eleven is a Japanese company not American.
The parent company is Seven and 1 Holdings Co Tokyo.

Gisela
Guest

She could have fared better if she went to Jollibee — the Philippines’ equivalent to the nasty McDonald’s.

It seems to me that she did not do her research and just took a list from CNN rather than a culinary-cultural site or blog.

I don’t care if she does not like Filipino food. But a lot of her experiences are a backfire of lack of research. I hope she won’t be complaining that the Chinese food in China does not taste like the Chinese food in the Western world and that they don’t have “fortune cookie” in Chinese restaurants

ALDO
Guest

order the longanisa burger in Boracay not in a convenient store.

Loraine
Guest

The thing is in other 7-11, you can buy authentic food like in Japan.

Dave
Guest

The woman can write what the hell she wants in her own travel blog. It’s not like she was writing a paid piece for a foodie site or something.

I actually found that the disappointment in that blog resonated with my own feelings when I first got to the Philippines after travelling over the Asian mainland for the best part of a year.

Darryl Wilson
Guest
If it’s her travel blog, she can say what she likes. Everyone is entitled to an opinion whether it is credible or not. Nobody forces you to read what she writes. Furthermore, whether you try the best or the worst food offerings that a country has to offer, there is no guarantee that you will like a particular cuisine. I have always heard mixed reviews of Pinoy food from various foreigners. Different strokes for different folks and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. You don’t need to be a culinary expert to define what you like and what you… Read more »
Sammy
Guest

Very well said. Typical filipino behavior getting butt hurt over anything. So pathetic.

gisela
Guest

also remember that this is the internet and criticism is part and parcel of ones right to publish blogs

meanwhile, paul is a blogger here and he can write what he wants, too

Paul Farol (@paulfarol)
Guest

I’ve got nothing against people saying that Filipino food is not their thing or that Filipino food sucks.

What I do have against her post is that it fails to be useful as a criticism of Filipino food.

It comes off as wildly ignorant.

Thing is, if you mouth off or publish something such as what Agnes did, you should welcome the criticism that comes your way.

And, let’s not miss out on the fact that she’s just hit baiting.

Gisela
Guest

And since a Pinoy post may be seen as bias, I might as well post a foreigner blog that is not aligned with Agnes’ POV

http://www.idreamedofthis.com/2014/03/20/another-foreigner-s-response-to-i-d-rather-go-hungry-girl

Ryan
Guest

The blog makes more sense and is more constructive — though at times it’s getting too much personal.

But so far the line that struck most: “Basically, honesty is great, but not at the expense of fairness.”

Jemaima
Guest

Indeed, blogging isn’t just about knowing how to use the keyboard and accessing the net. Opinions, in order to be credible, should be based on proof and valid arguments, which should have been established before drawing conclusions.

Gisela
Guest

She really hit it hard when she revealed she was trying to buy longganisa in a 7-11 store. LOL

Jim DiGriz
Guest
Anyone travelling on 25 bucks a day has no serious right to comment on food. If you can’t afford travelling on a decent budget and eat decent food, then I really suggest, that you travel the Philippines on Discovery channel or Nat Geo. Filipino food might not be listed on the top of culinary dream list, but it certainly is not bad. I’ve eaten in plenty of Carinderias over the last 30 years and I never, ever had an upset stomach. As a matter of fact, Carinderia food can be really good if you know where to eat and what… Read more »
Dave
Guest

She specifically compared it to the likes of Thailand where you can get tasty street food for cheap.

I also tried to stick to a tight budget when travelling the world for a few years, but I found it harder to find good value food for cheap in the Philippines, so I had to go to ‘proper’ restaurants all the time.

Gisela
Guest

And she was looking for longganisa (Filipino sausage) is 7-11.

Would you, as a traveler, attempt to find Pho or Tom Yum in 7-11 if you were in Vietnam or Thailand?

That makes her whole post dubious especially with the CLAIM that she was looking for something “authentic”. No TRUE traveler or foodie would even find local cuisine in a 7-11.

Paul Farol (@paulfarol)
Guest

For $25, she could have gotten the all you can eat buffet at Kamayan.

Jim DiGriz
Guest

You seem to overlook that her 25$ budget seems to be her complete budget, which includes accommodations.

HawkEye
Guest

Don’t kid yourselves about Filipino food. It just aint good! not comparable to Thai, Japanese, Indian , or even Vietnamese. Salty high fat or everything just has to be sweet. Explains why alot of the people are overweight, have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, renal/gall stones and Type 2 diabetes. Never seen so many “young” people dying of stroke, renal failure or heart attacks!

gisela
Guest

you surr youre not talking about the US?

by statistics, malaysia is the.most obese country in asean. google will be your.friend

obesity has hardly anything too do with sweet or salty food. it’s about excess calories…which is why obesity is also growning in china, japan snd korea among the.younger generation

even mexico has obesity rates that can compare to the us and mexican food is highly revered

Paul Farol (@paulfarol)
Guest

American junk food is even worse, not that I hate burgers, pizzas and burritos.

Jim DiGriz
Guest

We are not talking about healthy food, we are talking about good tasting food. Those are 2 different things.

Frededrick
Guest

Nathan Allen two thumbs up!!!

HawkEye
Guest

if it was so good, why is it that virtually everywhere you go there’s soy sauce, ketchup, knorr, or tabasco on the table? Who kills the taste of food with this kinda stuff other than Americans. Beef is also rarely cooked properly even in “good” restaurants is like chewing on rubber!

gisela
Guest

it is the same elsewhere..

Jim Arndt
Guest

Hi,

Maybe see could just have gone to this obscure travel site to get some information first.

http://www.travelchannel.com/tv-shows/anthony-bourdain/travel-guides/philippines

Jim Arndt
Guest

Maybe SHE

Kenneth
Guest
Filipino dishes basically revolves around few ingredients, garlic, onion, ginger, salt, pepper, fish sauce, meat whether chicken, beef or pork, soy sauce, and vinegar. With these plain ingredients you can make a variety of dishes. Just add another ingredients and it becomes a whole different dish. It basically start with sauteing garlic, onion, then adding the meat “Sangkutsa”. Then add soy sauce of fish sauce to taste and adding a touch of tart flavor, you have “adobo”. After that add tomato sauce, bell pepper, and simmer in coconut milk, and it becomes “Caldereta” Surprisingly, Filipino ingenuity is seen not only… Read more »
Sammy
Guest

You think it’s a waste of time yet you made the effort of making a long article about it, and you keep commenting on it. Boy are you pathetic. It’s her blog and she has a right to her own opinion. Move on people.

frst nm
Guest

who cares? general consensus of filipino cuisine on the world stage….ain’t worth a sh!t. Ignorant or not her impression is hers. What she experienced is authentic enough. It is what it is folks so move on….or just bite the bullet.

gisela
Guest

yeah, hotdog in 711 while trying to look for “authentic” cuisine

Hyden Toro
Guest

I think somebody sold the Lady, food that came out from “Pagpag”. It was good , she did not have any stomach trouble; or worse: “cholera”…with apologies to those, surviving on “Pagpag” food, with gusto…

Gogs
Member

Did anybody else bring up that what started this was just one person’s entry in her blog/ vlog? Same with the Singapore bus/ OFW issue. It was one person’s letter to the editor or something of that level. Isn’t the real point here that pinoys are the national version of Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Andersen? Where one is so sensitive over things so slight and normally just noise that they will just erupt? Pinoys, Onion skins, peas. They are consistent.

ChinoF
Member

As Paul Farol said, Agness may have tried to capitalize on that to gain hits. But it’s the Filipinos’ fault for being so predictable. Filipino behavior needs to grow a pair….. of brains. Yes, one may not be enough.

libertas
Guest
Since food is a significant reflection of a country and of key interest/importance to tourists/visitors, DoT should be more proactive, involved, and creative, and not just think a tourism strategy is a slogan and advertising budget. It needs to address the component parts of the visitors experience, and that includes food. A quick review of traveller websites confirms that there is significant room for improvement, not just to the food itself, but to the overall experience ( quality, environment, service etc). I am sure the basics are there but why settle for mediocrity, the goal should always be excellence, and… Read more »
Jay
Guest
When it comes to eating international ‘weird’ food, I’m going with the opinion of more open and well traveled guys like Bourdain or Zimmerin over Walewinder. At least those guys are more open and will probably do research on certain foods if they wanted the best of it to show viewers things about that food. Hell their best criteria for good eats is freshly prepared, which is far better than making a spat about processed food not meeting the standards. I’m reading her blog and one of the funniest statements is “The fruits we bought at local markets daily looked… Read more »
ChinoF
Member

Bourdain’s review when he came here was certainly balanced, but I think some Filipinos even tried to rage against it. That’s an even worse case because, showing Filipinos hate ANY criticism, even if deserve. If Walewinder was trying to capitalize on that, it’s the Filipinos’ fault for being predictable.

Loraine
Guest
I hope we could all agree that food hygiene needs to be taught to Filipinos. Cold food needs to stay cold and hot foods need to stay hot because germs grown fast in certain temperature range which cause food borne illness. I cringe when I attend Filipino parties where food hygiene is violated as a rule. I like Filipino food because I am a Filipino but I agree that other Asian cuisines are more complex, balanced and healthy. I did not come home for 16 years. I missed the tropical fruits and found myself dreaming about them frequently. I bragged… Read more »
Jess
Guest

Oh my gulay! I had the same plan of dissecting her blog and telling her off because of her irrational generalization, lack of facts and details, and missing organization. But figured, it’s a waste of time. There’s a big difference between a person with a budget and somebody being cheap. One does her homework to find the best given the limited resource, the other does nothing but find the worst in everything.

And c’mon, she said in the comments that they went to “all possible food places”. But in their blog she said they couldn’t find Adobo. Really? Unbeliebaboy!

Jekster
Guest

Just wondering, she tries to compare street food of the Philippines and Singapore and she never mentioned how much she spend in buying Sing street food as compared to Phil street food. The case here is that the purchasing power of Singapore is much much higher than the Philippines. You might be eating in singapore street but the cost is like eating in an authentic restos in the Philippines… Nice try by Agnes but uneducated view!

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