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Tubo sugarcane juice from Cebu, Philippines

What: Tubo (“too-boh”) is the local word for sugarcane, and Tubo is also a brand of sugarcane juice. Despite the huge tracts of land dedicated to sugarcane plantations in the northern part of Cebu island, it took a Cebu-based Austrian entrepreneur to make sugarcane juice available as a freshly prepared drink—something that’s common in other sugarcane-growing countries like Pakistan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Singapore. Using mechanized rollers, Tubo stands press the juice out right before your very eyes, so every order is literally freshly squeezed. Poured over crushed ice, Tubo’s sugarcane juice is sweet but refreshing—the perfect on-the-go drink.

Where: We found a Tubo Cane Juice stand inside JCenter Mall (63-932-637-5682; A.S. Fortuna St., map) in .

When: JCenter Mall is open daily, 10am-9pm.

Order: Feeling adventurous, we ordered a medium-size Tubo drink (Php55) flavored with ginger and calamansi (a.k.a. limonsito). And what was not to love? The drink was sweet but not overly so—the crushed ice not only cools the juice, it also waters the fresh sugarcane juice down to just the right sweetness. The (all-natural) ginger and calamansi provided excellent counterpoints to what would otherwise be pure sugarcane juice on ice. Also on the menu was sugarcane juice mixed with watermelon or mango juice. In keeping with Asian drink styles, there were also varieties that added sago pearls and milk.   

Alternatively: Conveniently, there are Tubo stands at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (map), but other than that, you’ll have to peel a length of sugarcane, bite it, and chew it to extract its juice—this is how tubo is traditionally consumed. Just don’t forget to spit out the woody pulp.



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