Sunday Best: El Sto. Cristo Milagroso de Sinait and Sinanglao Lunch

St. Nicholas of Tolentino Parish, Sinait

Reny and I found ourselves in Sinait, Ilocos Sur, on a Sunday morning. It was our initial visit at the Sto. Cristo Milagroso Sanctuary, St. Nicholas of Tolentino Parish. A fine day!

Devotedly referred to as Apo Lakay, the Miraculous Statue of the Black Nazarene and Badoc’s  La Virgen Milagrosa were believed to be drifting in the sea when they were discovered by fishermen in Dadalaquiten, Sinait,  in 1620. The story of the two statues will very well fascinate you if you are an avid follower of the Catholic faith. In the time the Virgin Mary was moved to Badoc, the Apo Lakay remained in Sinait and keeps attracting pilgrims from across the country.

Across the old church, we walked to the hilera of turo-turo eateries. They are the same carinderias that travel to the “Dayo” of Badoc and Batac on certain days.  Have I told you, turo-turo means point-point? Literally, you point to the viands of your choice. The food is native Ilocano, with lots of meat alongside monggo gisa, pinakbet, inabraw, native pancit, rabong and a lot more. I satisfied myself with a hot bowl of sinanglao (a term used by the south for paksiw) at Luzminda’s Kitchenette. I had to ask around for good sinanglao. The pieces of beef were rather chunky. The sourness of the soup was typically Ilocano with a lavish dose of sukang Iloco. The lady let me taste her beef tapa. Yum! It didn’t look fried like we do ours.

I hope you’ll like the photos. A beautiful week ahead, everyone!

St. Nicholas of Tolentino ParishSto. Cristo Milagroso ShrineSto. Cristo Milagroso Shrine - St. Nicholas of Tolentino ParishEl Sto. Cristo Milagroso de SinaitSt. Nicholas of Tolentino ParishSt. Nicholas of Tolentino ParishSt. Nicholas of Tolentino ParishChurch BellsSt. Nicholas of Tolentino ParishSt. Nicholas of Tolentino ParishA TreeCarinderias of SinaitLuzminda's Kitchenette, SinaitTuro-TuroPancitBeef SteakDinengdengLuzminda's KitchenetteSinait Sinanglao
Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013

100% organic and natural Inabraw aka Dinengdeng

Ever wondered why the thrifty character of an Ilocano is celebrated? One logical explanation is because he eats rehashed fish and grows his own veggies.

You may want to try cooking our yummy soupy inabraw (aka dinendeng). Here’s how:


  • marunggay (moringa) leaves
  • saluyot leaves (Corchurus or mallow-leaves)
  • sabong ti parya (bitter melon flowers)
  • grilled or fried fish
  • 3 tbsps fish paste (bugguong)


  • Bring grilled or fried fish to boil in 3 cups of water.
  • Add bugguong until liquid boils
  • Add vegetables and remove caldero from heat as soon as it boils.

Now you’re ready to serve the Ilocano dish and in fact, an unavoidably ubiquitous dish in Ilocos. Backyard vegetables like marrunggay, parya, saluyot, tabungao, pechay, camatis, kabatiti, pallang, uttong, carabasa, among many others, are 100% organic and cheap, and more often than not, free.

Grilled dalag (mudfish), paltat (catfish), tilapia or galunggung (mackarel) make the tastiest inabraw. Another lovely abraw is a combination of murrunggay, cabatiti (sponge gourd or loofah) slices and sabong ti carabasa (squash flowers).

Ilocos bagoong is all-natural, with monamon fish fermented in salt. The best bugguong is aged in burnay.

You get to hear “Inabraw manen?” as often as you smell the fish paste boiling. The smell can reach as far as one block away — a telltale sign that an Ilocano lives in the neighborhood:)

Note: Cook before serving. Cooled inabraw is so unappetizing.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012