Kinilaw, fish meat marinated by vinegar and other spices, is a big hit in the Philippines and one of the Filipinos favorite appetizer commonly prepared during get together or pulutan. But what makes Cagayan de Oro or Northern Mindanao’s Kinilaw unique from any other regions in the country?

The answer – Tabon-Tabon.


Tabon Tabon available at your nearest store or market in Cagayan de Oro.

Scientifically called Atuna racemosa, Tabon Tabon, also known as botga, getabon in other parts of the country is a tropical fruit and said to be abundant in Northern Mindanao and in other parts of Southeast Asia. Based on’s research, the said wild fruit is also available in Southern Leyte but not widely used for Kinilaw. This colored brown pulpy fruit is used to add the sour-sweet flavor to our well loved Kinilaw and removes the “fishy” smell of the fish meat. Currently DOST is doing further research and doing marinating sauce improvements out of the fruit to penetrate distribution to the market. So make your next Kinilaw more “malinamnam” with Tabon tabon.

sources: Market Manila, ASEAN Tropical Plant Database, KinilawMix and DOST

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Vic known as "The Guy with a Big Voice" is a multi-awarded blogger, a TEDx speaker, and the social media marketing strategist of the biggest brands in Visayas and Mindanao. Other than that, he's also a columnist and writes weekly on the Mindanao Gold Star Daily's Lifestyle section - UrbanLife. Email:

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