When in the city of Tuguegarao it’s impossible to miss the plethora of panciterias, from roadside eateries to full-service restaurants. This city, after all, is home to a distinct version of a Filipino food favorite—the pancit batil patung.
Unlike the regular pancit served during birthdays for “long life,” the locals consume it as a daily staple, much like eating rice. It’s also unique in that it features miki noodles with ground carabao beef or cara-beef, fried egg and other toppings, as well as a serving of egg drop soup called kaldo, hence the words patung (topping) and batil (to beat) in its name.
Its cooking process takes about 20 minutes and typically begins with sauteing onion, garlic, vegetables, and cara-beef in oil. Once cooked, it’s set aside. In the same pan or wok, water, noodles, and soy sauce are added. The noodles are drained and added to the sauteed ingredients, while an egg is cracked and stirred in the beef stock.
Both components of the dish should be present for optimal flavor, along with a side of chopped onions, soy sauce, chili, and vinegar sauce to taste.
A basic pancit batil patung has a poached or fried egg on top, but panciterias often get experimental with the toppings to distinguish their version from others. They put any topping imaginable: balut or fertilized duck egg, chicharon bulaklak or crispy pork intestine, carajay or deep-fried pork belly slices, among many others.
The origins of pancit batil patung are unclear, apart from the fact that it’s the city’s own spin on the dish brought by Chinese traders to the Philippines long ago and that it first became famous in the city during the 1980s. What’s certain, though, is that one has never truly visited Tuguegarao if they’ve never had pancit batil patung.
Among the many panciterias to choose from, here’s where you can get the best pancit batil patung in Tuguegarao.
Lokal Kanan + Pasalubong
01 Airport Rd. Pengue Ruyu
“It’s easily the most iconic dish of Tuguegarao,” says Eric Lim, owner of a Lokal Kanan + Pasalubong, a restaurant that, as the name implies, serves local dishes.
Lim, a self-confessed foodie, came back home from the States and contemplated between getting a regular 9-5 job or putting up his own business. He chose the latter.
“When I went back home to our province, I thought of a concept for a restaurant,” he shares. “That’s how I came up with Lokal because no local-food-centric restaurant had opened at the time.”
When it did open, Lokal made sure to serve pancit batil patung to diners.
Operating on a made-to-order basis, they serve the standard pancit batil patung with cara-beef (Php100) and a special version (Php150), which is topped with calamares or fried squid rings.
For families or groups of friends, they sell it by bilao, too: a 14-inch serving good for 10 people (Php300) and a 16-inch serving good for 15 people (Php500).
At their open-air restaurant, a bunch of pasalubong items are also available, like carabao milk candies, carabao chicharon or fried carabao rinds, Tuguegarao longganisa or pork sausage, and even a Lokal-made vinegar. These come in limited quantities, however, due to the pandemic. “In the future, once the situation is better, we’ll definitely bring more of it back,” Lim says.
Located 500 meters away from the Tuguegarao Airport, Lokal is open all days of the week in limited capacity, from 9AM – 7PM. They also accept walk-ins and reservations for groups via their Facebook page, Lokal Kanan + Pasalubong. All of its staff have been fully-vaccinated and they do not require vaccination cards for diners.
Billy Jack’s Panciteria
Buntun, Santiago-Tuguegarao Road
Frequented by both locals and tourists alike, Billy Jack’s Panciteria is another must-visit spot in the city for pancit batil patung.
The panciteria, opened in 2014 by Billy Anchanzar Lim, offers the standard version of the noodle dish (Php60-P80) and a variety of toppings to choose from: Tuguegarao longganisa or pork sausage (Php20), tapa or meat jerky (Php45), chorizo (Php25), sisig or grilled parts of pig’s face (Php60), chicharon bulaklak or crispy pork intestine (Php40).
But perhaps its claim to fame is this: Billy Jack’s is the first panciteria to offer pancit batil patung with balut or fertilized duck egg (Php18).
The open-air panciteria, which boasts of reggae-inspired interiors with references to surf culture and Bob Marley, is open from Monday to Saturday in limited capacity, from 9AM – 8:30PM, to walk-in diners. It’s just a kilometer away from Buntun Bridge.
Jomar’s Pancit Batil Patung
Luna Street, Centro 6
Ask any local in Tuguegarao for a pancit batil patung recommendation and it’s likely that they’ll suggest Jomar’s.
Not only is the panciteria located in the city proper, it also serves large portions of the dish at affordable prices. One serving can easily feed two diners.
There are three options available: Ordinary (Php70), Special (Php80), and Super Special (Php90). Apart from the serving size, the differences among the options is that the last two options have more crushed karahay or chicharon-like toppings, liver chunks, and cara-beef bits.
Jomar’s panciteria has four branches in the city which is easily accessible to the public.
Robinsons Place Tuguegarao, Pan-Philippine Highway
Another local restaurant serving pancit batil patung is Criselda’s Restaurant.
Established in 1986, the restaurant started out as a snack house and eventually became a full-service restaurant serving local dishes. Today, they have multiple branches open all over the city.
Their bestseller, the classic pancit batil patung (Php98), remains a favorite despite the many versions that are now offered in other panciterias. The main dish is topped with egg, sauteed carabeef, karahay, chicharon, liver, and bean sprouts, and it comes with a serving of egg drop soup. As per usual, it’s also served with a side of chopped onions with soy sauce, vinegar, calamansi, and sili to taste.
The most accessible location of Criselda’s Restaurant is currently in Robinsons Place Tuguegarao. It’s open all days of the week, from 10AM – 7PM, and is open to walk-in diners.
Outsource the Planning
For a seamless trip, you may leave the planning to DOT’s accredited tour operators in Cagayan:
(078) 305 0339, 0926 324 4702
For Department of Tourism-accredited accommodations, visit the official Cagayan Valley Tourism website, region2fun.ph.
All tourist destinations in Cagayan have health and safety protocols in place to protect locals and visitors alike. Everyone is expected to comply by wearing face masks and face shields, regularly washing their hands, and practicing physical distancing.
To check out up-to-date information regarding local destinations that are open and the safety protocols and requirements needed for each location, you may visit www.philippines.travel/safetrip or download the Travel Philippines app at app.philippines.travel or the Google Playstore.