metal ulingan

If “pugon” is the old-fashioned oven… “ulingan” is the classic version of stove.

clay ulingan

“Ulingan” or what others call as “Lutuang de Uling” or “Kalan de Uling” is an old and traditional model of a modern gas stove that was used by the Filipinos in cooking their meals during the olden times. Its name “ulingan” was derived from the Filipino term “uling” which means “charcoal”. It is commonly made of clay in a short cylindrical shape with a hole on its front side where the scrap wood and the charcoal will be placed and inserted. It also has another hole on top as its burner where the fire will come out and where the pot will be placed. Nowadays, you can also see an “ulingan” made out of cement, steel, metal, and even out of recycled tin cans. 


Presently, even  gas stoves and electric stoves have already existed in a modern kitchen for a less smoky way of cooking… “pinoys” tend to go back to the basic by using the time-tested and money-saving “ulingan” for some reasons like being thrifty and avoiding the hazard of LPG gas leak explosion. Moreover, elders believe that cooking with the use of wood or charcoal through an “ulingan” can add a different smell and flavor to the food.

cooking with the use of ulingan

Other folks who already have their stoves in the kitchen still prefer to have their “ulingan” in the backyard as an alternative cooking place and for grilling purposes as well.

Photos by: Sukito San


coconut oil

Once a year, whenever “Holy Week” comes… I always see my mother extract oil from coconut on Good Friday and have it blessed on Black Saturday in a mass called “Blessing of the Fire”. It was believed that the blessed oil and water from this mass can heal sickness and can cure “spiritual illnesses”. This tradition were followed by devout Catholics during the Season of Lent and should be cooked with the use of wood through an “ulingan” and be extracted from coconut oil. This custom in cooking became vital not only in Philippine cuisine but also among the conservative Catholics especially those living in rural ares or in the provinces. Anyway, you can also use it as an alternative cooking oil for your specialty dishes or just by simple frying. It’s also healthwise because it’s natural and free from any preservatives. You can also use it by oiling your hair with it… 20 minutes before you take a bath to achieve thicker volume and to avoid a dry crowning glory.

You will need:


coconut milk or gata ng niyog (4 coconuts will do)


4-5 clean and washed pandan leaves (for aromatic scent)


4-5 oregano leaves (optional)

calamansi leaves

6-7 calamansi leaves (optional)


ulingan or any improvised stove wherein you can use wood or charcoal to fuel fire

Here’s how:

1. Have your coconut milk ready.

2. Fire up your ulingan using scrap wood or charcoal.

3. With the use of a wide mouthed pan or “kawan” heated in your “ulingan”, Pour in your coconut milk.

4. Cook it with cover for around 20 minutes while stirring it once in a while to prevent it from getting burned and to maintain the good consistency of the coconut milk.

5. Add pandan leaves. Stir it a little.

6. After a while, you can add up the oregano and calamansi leaves followed by slight stirring.


7. After an hour or more, keep on stirring it once in a while. As the liquid dries up, you will just see the natural oil from the coconut on the pan with the “latik” or the coconut curds. By the way, the “latik” or coconut curds were commonly used as a main topping or as a garnish on local Filipino desserts like “biko“.

8. Keep on stirring until only the pure coconut oil remains on the pan and the “latik” as well.


9. Cool it down for a while and use a strainer in filtering to separate the “latik” from the oil.

10. Put the oil in a dry, clean and empty bottle or medium-sized container for lasting storage.


1. You must cook it on Good Friday and it should be done before 3:00 pm (which is the time of the death of Christ).

2. If you wanted it blessed. Take it with you and have it blessed on a Black Saturday mass which is the “Blessing of the Fire”. Then, you can place it in your altar at home.

Photos by: Sukito San

food recipe: “TUPIG” on CHARCOAL

This is one of my most sought after Filipino delicacy that I want my relatives and friends to bring home as a “pasalubong” to me. Usually, you can bring this luscious food as a treat when you’re from Pangasinan, Philippines. Of course, since I love the taste of this one… I have to find out how it is done. Here’s how…

4 pieces shredded mature coconut meat

4 cups of water

1 kilogram “malagkit” flour

3/4 cup of molasses

1 piece shredded young coconut

1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

wilted banana leaves


For the procedure…

Extract the coconut milk from the mature coconut by adding water and squeezing out the “gata” or coconut milk. Then, set it aside. Afterwards, add the remaining to the coconut milk and mix well. Pour 1/4 cup of batter or the mixture on wilted banana leaves. Roll and seal on both ends. Bake it over on live charcoal for about 15 up to 20 minutes or until done.

Enjoy eating!

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