From Nuffnang

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

"Kung May Tiyaga, May Nilaga."

"Kung may tiyaga, may nilaga."

In English, this Tagalog  quote roughly translates as

"If there's perseverance, there's nilaga."

But what really is nilaga? Well, it is one of my favorite Filipino dishes, and this preference is shared by many.  Nilaga is a soup dish made by boiling meat chunks with an assortment of vegetables, including cabbage, pechay (bok choi), corn slices, kamote (sweet potatoes), potatoes, and leeks.

Nilagang baka and nilagang baboy are the most common variants of the dish having beef and pork as main ingredients, respectively.

Some people enhance the flavor by adding tanglad (lemon grass), luya (ginger) or both.

With these ingredients, nilaga proves to be both a nutrient-loaded comforting food.

Now let's get back to the quote.

Does it really takes perseverance to have nilaga? Today is Labor Day, and I think it really takes hard work to earn money for buying the ingredients.

Based on April 2012 prices in the public markets, here is a price list of the main ingredients: 

1 kg. beef, cut into cubes [PhP 290.00] 


1 kg. pork, cut into cubes [PhP 180.00] 

1/4 kg., or about three pcs. potatoes cut the same size as the beef [PhP 15.00]

1/4 kg., or about three pcs. sweet potatoes cut the same size as the beef [PhP 10.00]

{Note: 1/2 kg. of potatoes or 1/2 kg. of sweet potatoes may be used.}

1 small cabbage, cut into four [PhP 15.00]

1 bundle pechay (bok choi), cut crosswise [PhP 5.00]

1 bundle leeks, cut crosswise [PhP 10.00]

3 ears of corn, each cut into four [PhP 20.00]                                               

5 onions, diced [approximately PhP 10.00]

4 tablespoons of patis (fish sauce) [PhP 15.00 per 350-mL bottle]

10 corns of black pepper [PhP 5.00 per sachet]

1 liter of water [PhP 20.00 per liter if purified water would be used]

Salt and pepper to taste [approximately PhP 5.00] 

nilaga, nilagang baka, nilagang baboy
Not just one, but two sumptuous bowls


The total amount of PhP 420.00 for the beef variant (or PhP 310.00 for the pork variant) shows that having nilaga requires lots of hard work.


  1. Your nilaga is very expensive. :P

    Good for how many?

  2. wow 12 not bad, or 2-3 servings for a group of 3/4, mahal din pala. Basta masarap ang luto at lutong bahay, okey na...

    1. Nagkataon pang tag-ulan sa ngayon. Masarap humigop ng mainit na sabaw ng nilaga.

  3. I love how you start your post haha my mom saw your post from afar and she told me that it looks good! :)

    1. Thank you. :)

      Aside from reminding me of the sumptuous dish, the quote reminds me to work hard.

  4. We prefer our nilaga hot (so we put lots of ginger, finger chili, and pepper) and not sweet (so no corn, camote or banana). Yung papawisan ka at medyo sisipunin habang kumakain :D

    1. I want to try the hot version of "nilaga." That version would surely spice up my gut. :D

  5. lol. i love the start of your post. akala ko naman kung ano. i'm a pretty bad cook, but nevertheless, thanks for sharing the quote. my mom loves nilaga so super useful to when we cook nilaga :)

    1. Thanks! :)

      The quote is one of my favorites: It spurs me to get back on my feet when I feel lazy.

      On the other hand, "nilaga" is a comfort food that I always crave for, rain or shine. The cold weather makes me long for a piping-hot bowl of that soup dish now. :)

  6. I love the mais the most sa nilaga. Labo no?

  7. wow, that's how much the soup cost... you really need to work hard, as the saying states... hahaha. nice one. Yahweh bless.

  8. hahah that looks yummy indeed! whenever I'm in philippines i find everything very expensive just because its sounds "hundreds" and indeed expensive for an ordinary worker. but roughly converting in sing dollar its only like 10 to 15 dollar. i find beef really expensive haahah xx

  9. I missed my Mom's Nilaga all of a sudden.