Sili Ice Cream is Bicol’s Sweet yet Fiery Iconic Dessert

Bicol bagged this year’s best dessert and best mountain awards in the first Choose Philippines Awards held early this month. The region’s ubiquitous volcano, Mt. Mayon,  and the “hot” sili ice cream of 1st Colonial Grill represent how unique a tourist destination Bicol is.

Originally made to suit Bicolanos fondness for spicy food, this sweet yet fiery bubble gum pink ice cream also has become a hit with foreigners.

During the Madrid Fusion Manila 2016, the ice cream was a blockbuster.  “Ang sili ice cream talaga ang binabalik-balikan,” said Chef Andhie of The Oriental Hotel which was also a participant together with HML Food Corporations-Daraga.


The US Navy personnel that visited Albay last June for a humanitarian work responded the same. Nag-order ulit sila kahit pulang-pula na ang mukha nila at pinagpapawisan na, Mrs. Aspe told us during our visit to its branch at The Ayala Malls in Legazpi. They had takeouts, too, for their fellow personnel on board the USNS Mercy.

Laurie, a first-timer in Bicol, with Mr. Renato “Bicolano Man” Jao.

There is more to its unique flavor, though, that makes it worthy of the recognition.

Tinutungan na manok


The sili ice cream has three levels, so you can eat what is comfortable for you. It is less fatty, too.


The ice cream is first of its kind in Bicol and in the country.


It anchors the menu on the region’s culinary heritage and turns them into signature dishes. The attention to local flavor and homegrown meals is notable, and so is the continuous effort to make each meal globally appealing. This approach is worth considering especially for local brands with goals of expanding beyond, or simply attracting non-locals.

Flavors: tinutong, sili, sweet potato topped with fried garlic
Flavors: tinutong na bigas, sili, sweet potato topped with fried garlic

It keeps on reinventing, too, for its growing brand, that it has now varieties for ice cream flavors. Such as tinutong (burned rice), camote (sweet potato), pili, malunggay, kalamansi and more.


The newest branch in Tagaytay City is the first franchise out of Bicol, affirming the demand for the now iconic dessert and equally delicious Bicol meals like tinapa rice, laing, kandingga, and tinutungan na manok. Try also their kare-kare and tahong.


Another worth watching out for is the restaurant’s tinigsik meals by Aida Cirujales, dubbed as Bicol’s tigsik queen. Tigsik can be likened to Haiku but does not follow the 5, 7, 5 pattern.

This is to help make today’s generation aware of this form of Bikol literature and support local creatives.

Congratulations 1st Colonial Grill!