Sorbetes: Pinoy’s Very Own Adaptation of Ice Cream

Especially as a young Filipino kid, days are not complete without hearing the ring of a hand bell by “mamang sorbetero” and rushing towards him to hand a 5 or ten peso coin in exchange for a cone of deliciously known as dirty ice cream. Upon hearing, you may be thinking it is literally dirty, but it is actually just coined as a ‘dirty’ ice cream for being sold anywhere in the streets around the Philippines. This is known to the Filipinos as Sorbetes.


Sorbetes is the country’s very own, which started on the importation of ice in the Philippines. It was served on the feast of the 1898 Independence declaration when Aguinaldo became the first elected president of the country.


A little look back, the first sorbets in the country was made through an ice cream freezer called a ‘grapiniera’, with a manual handle to churn the ice cream mixture. In the colonial era, sorbets processing was traditionally a family activity as they took turns in turning the handle until such time that the ice cream has reached the right consistency. The ice cream freezer usually contains a cream mixture that is made of carabao milk, eggs, crushed ice and whatever flavoring that they desired to add. To keep it from melting, salt was often used by the families.


In the present times, a lot of sorbeteros (sorbetes vendors) are roaming around the towns, carrying their remarkable types of carts that would surely give everyone a clue of what’s inside: three metal canisters containing different flavors of ice cream. Even these carts are uniquely designed through a creative Filipino mind, usually decorated like a Philippine jeepney, with the name of the vendor followed by an apostrophe and s, such as “Juan’s Ice Cream”.


Many Filipinos have grown to this kind of food, as this has played a great part of most childhoods. The generation today has always been hoping that the coming kids of the future will also be able to experience and taste this classic Pinoy creation. Being a Filipino isn’t indeed complete without having to taste the delectable Filipino’s dirty ice cream.