30 Mar2009


As a child, snipe or agachonas from Pampangga or Bulacan were quite plentiful. But over the last decade or so, I think I have only enjoyed agachonas once. So imagine my surprise when we were served pitaw, a local delicacy in Bacolod, which are rice field birds. These were already cooked adobo style, and bottled, so you just had to re-fry them to crisp wild bird meat nirvana. Highly flavorful and so much bang for the buck (a few small pieces was enough to pair up with a large spoon full of rice), these were as good as the agachonas I recall from childhood. They were so good that I asked if we could order some to take home and I managed to secure 4 bottles…


Perhaps I am hard-wired to fall in love with re-fried adobo of any type, but this was love at first taste. Didn’t need any vinegar or chili, though you could add some if you desired, the meat along with rice and possibly even a fried egg would make for a wonderful breakfast. I enjoyed mine with rice and a side dish of chopped ripe tomatoes.


These little birds are rather difficult to catch I am told, and even in Bacolod, it isn’t easy to get a steady supply of pitaw, so I consider myself to be extremely lucky to still have three bottles of pitaw in the pantry and will guard them fiercely! If you visit Bacolod and come across this delicacy, make sure you bring home at least a bottle and maybe more… :)



  1. Ging says:

    Uhmmm…poor birdies…

    Mar 30, 2009 | 7:12 am


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  3. Hatari says:

    I love agachonas…does anyone know where we kind find them here in Manila?

    Mar 30, 2009 | 7:55 am

  4. sanojmd says:

    looks delicious…yumm!

    Mar 30, 2009 | 8:06 am

  5. Doddie from Korea says:


    I just saw these birds here at the street market in Janghowon. If I knew how to kill and dress a bird, I would buy several of these tiny birds and cook them as adobo.

    Mar 30, 2009 | 8:24 am

  6. Jun b says:

    I wonder how they look like? I love adobong pugo as you can eat almost everything. Was the taste the same or much more different?

    Mar 30, 2009 | 8:31 am

  7. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    Oh Yes!!!! I remember eating pitaw at the resto of Bascon Hotel when we use to go to Bacolod for the summer. Sarap!!

    Mar 30, 2009 | 9:09 am

  8. socky says:

    I first tasted these birds in a private home-restaurant run by 2 sisters/teachers in Bulacan. It was B—y, Mrs. MM’s brother in law, who took us there. Many many years ago!

    Mar 30, 2009 | 9:57 am

  9. Mila says:

    Are these the rice field birds that you catch like fish? I remember seeing nets placed in strategic places around rice fields, they were used to catch the birds flying in formation.
    Small birds, like quail, seem to have more flavor, gaminess, than the domesticated birds. Makes adobo a lot richer.

    Mar 30, 2009 | 10:03 am

  10. Pebs says:

    MM – sorry this is off-topic, but do you know what happened to the weekend market at FTI? I went there last Saturday and there was nothing! It looked like they had moved out. Did they re-open elsewhere?

    Mar 30, 2009 | 10:33 am

  11. Cynthia says:

    I have eaten adobong maya but adobong pitaw, not yet. Thanks, MM for this new learning. I am planning to go home this May in time for our annual fiesta and I will ask my father if he could catch and cook some pitaw for me : )

    I recall my uncle makes a good bird trap, maybe he could use one for catching pitaw.

    Mar 30, 2009 | 10:58 am

  12. Quillene says:

    This is a dish I had been often told my grandfather loved very much. I was told that he would often frequent Casa Marcos and bring home agachonas. I did not get a chance to try this but was told it was one heck of a delicious dish.

    Mar 30, 2009 | 1:09 pm

  13. Dee says:

    Pebs, they moved just a few blocks away behind Sunshine mall..

    Mar 30, 2009 | 1:51 pm

  14. Marketman says:

    Pebs, yes, as dee comments, the market has moved behind the sunshine mall at the entrance of FTI… they apparently lost their lease yet again… Thanks, Dee.

    Mar 30, 2009 | 6:47 pm

  15. beth says:

    Sorry for my ignorance but it’s my fist time to encounter this dish.Are they considered wild birds or worst, migratory birds?are they safe to eat?Just concern about bird flu.Please enlighten me.tnx!

    Mar 30, 2009 | 7:42 pm

  16. GJN says:

    I grew up eating pitaw (although I prefer mine not too crisp) which my mother made herself. The live birds were delivered to our house. I would watch with fascination how our cucinera dressed the tiny birds. Unfortunately that was all I watched. I never stuck around in the kitchen long enough to learn what my mother and the cook put in the marinade. I just simply enjoyed eating them … bones included…for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Pitaw is always available in Manila during the annual Negros Fair. Abangan!

    Mar 30, 2009 | 11:27 pm

  17. marilen rodriguez says:

    Such a delicacy – my in-laws used to bring over pitaw nga guin-adobo. My children hesitated to to eat them, seeing the heads, but were eventually won over by a little fib – I told them the pitaws were teeny weeny chicken.

    MM, you had the best food sources in Negros – because pitaw indeed infrequent and rarely on sale in the market. Please tell us your source for the adoboed pitaw. Thank you.

    Mar 31, 2009 | 12:19 am

  18. Maria Clara says:

    They are good even plain deep fried seasoned with salt and cracked black pepper but pain to dress them. We used to dressed them alive I know I sound heartless and brutal but that’s the way to do the job. A good farm raised equivalent I believe are baby pigeons before they leave the nest. If you keep them in a jar to enhance the adobo flavor line the jar with dried brown banana leaves. When you reheat them take the banana leaves of course the flavor is enhanced to its max!

    Mar 31, 2009 | 2:05 am

  19. Marketman says:

    beth, I don’t think anyone has caught bird flu from a cooked bird, particularly an adobo-ed one. marilen, I have forgotten the shop’s name, beside the Negros Products Store on Lacson Street. And they don’t always have pitaw…

    Mar 31, 2009 | 2:06 am

  20. mariasaamerica says:

    I am enjoying your posts on the food of Negros tremendously. You have a gift of being able to take these things which we take for granted and make them interesting and extraordinary. Food in Negros ( and I guess, the Philippines, in general) is a big part of our culture. Unfortunately, many of these delicacies and food have recipes which are “tightly guarded” or not written down, and therefore, “disappear” when the establishments which make them close down, or the bakers/cooks/kusineras pass away. How I miss eating the Hotel Mallorca “pan” which we would wait for at 6PM so we could eat it piping hot as it comes out of the oven, Tita’s pan de sal, ice cream from Luguay,and most recently,the ensaymada and buko pie from Bacolod Executive Inn,to name a few, when I go back to Bacolod. Sayang! or in Ilonggo, Kanugon gid!

    Mar 31, 2009 | 3:12 am

  21. noes says:

    adobong ibon is yummy!

    Mar 31, 2009 | 6:27 am

  22. aleli says:

    Isn’t that bird endangered?

    Mar 31, 2009 | 5:56 pm

  23. Teddy says:

    that bottled pitaw is tima lacson and millie kilayko’s “Papa Daniel’s Pitaw,” and that can be bought in Sweet Greens, the restaurant of Tima and Daniel “Bitay” Lacson across the Capitol. If you can’t find it in Sweet Greens, try House of Negros (which showcases Negrense products)beside the former. And I found these contact numbers, the place where its made and the company which makes it in Rica Lopez de Jesus blog: call Casa Carmela Kitchen at 034.435.4460 or 034.435.3072 or visit info@casacarmelakitchen.com. pitaw is one of things I always looked forward to seeing on my maternal grandparent’s table – it certainly was a culinary delight that spiced up my childhood life, growing up in the family compound in Bacolod, Negros Occidental. and I’m glad Bitay, Tima and Millie have found a way to make this delicious treat accessible to a lot more people….

    Apr 1, 2009 | 7:32 am

  24. Teddy says:

    oh sorry, Sweet Greens and House of Negros are both along Lacson Street. and Casa Carmela is along Lizares Ave. – turns out, the same street where my maternal grandparents’ compound is located – and where I grew up as a child…gads, surreal memories of really GOOD food and inordinate pampering!

    Apr 1, 2009 | 7:35 am

  25. Jun b says:

    so is pitaw a wild quail? or something else…..

    Apr 1, 2009 | 10:07 am

  26. Murasaki Shikibu says:

    I remember eating wild birds we’d buy from sellers on the side of the road on the way back from the beach. They were delicious.

    Apr 1, 2009 | 2:44 pm

  27. birds of a feather says:

    Why eat migratory birds when there’s an over supply of chickens?
    Shameon you!

    Apr 1, 2009 | 11:11 pm

  28. Marketman says:

    birds of a feather, have you seen how commercial chickens are raised, do you think that is any less offensive as eating a bird caught in the wild? Both are offensive to animals, but I am a carnivore. And I would argue plants have feelings too. And if I am aware an animal is endangered, I certainly try to avoid it to give it time to repopulate its ranks. But I eat fish caught in the wild, so why wouldn’t I eat fowl caught in the wild? Oh, and btw, I am curious where you discovered they are migratory, as I haven’t found much information on pitaw in my reference books or the net…

    Apr 2, 2009 | 9:30 am

  29. jun b says:

    yeah seems there’s no information what pitaw look like? I’ve seen a blog saying it’s pogo or maybe he mean pugo or maybe wild quail. but “birds of a feather” I do respect your conviction but accussing someone with a strong word without even researching the fact is probably not a good way. if you just maybe spend sometime to read the archive you will understand what this blog is all about. in fact marketman is a pro environment with a big heart. so please let us enjoy this site like the thousand people who read this site regularly. you may want to take your cause in another site who are truly hurting our mother earth. who knows you may get support from us too. cheers

    Apr 2, 2009 | 8:58 pm

  30. lee says:

    birds of a feather.. Shameon without a space separating both words is fowl language..

    Apr 2, 2009 | 9:55 pm

  31. Jun b says:

    hehehe correct ka dyan lee its fowl….BTW i’ve got 10pcs of young quail today for S$15(P450). I know it is expensive but I have no other option here in Singapore and I have to drive 45 mins to a remote farm mart @ sungei tengah.

    Hmmm I remember having this with my friends when I’m still a teen and we cook them pinatuyong adobo with one kaldero of rice Yummmy!!!!….. and oh yes the one I’ve got is definitely a migratory bird because it came from Malaysia although it did pass the custom and immigration as a frozen bird :)

    Apr 2, 2009 | 10:43 pm

  32. betty q. says:

    JunB: I was also curious what pitaw looked like. I thought it was pugo. So I googled…what MM wrote up above…snipe….and I saw what it looked like. It has loooooong slender beak, bird is about 8 0r 9 inches long…counting the tail feathers and maybe the beak as well..oh, just google it!

    Apr 2, 2009 | 11:49 pm

  33. Jun b says:

    Hi Betty Q, Yes it look like Pugo (Quail) but I believe it is no with its long beak compare to the normal quail as well as the wild quail which has a short beak. The papa daniel bottle of pitaw has a picture of it and yup it look like a snipe although there is about 20 variety of snipes around the world.

    Apr 3, 2009 | 10:03 am

  34. Flying V says:

    How arrogant and conceited you are! You can hide behind your money and education but you can’t shed the FILIPINO in you.
    This blog is nothing but and EGO trip for you. Flaunt your Narcism.
    Forget about apologizing even when you’re wrong… that’s not the filipino way!


    Identifiable as a Gallinago snipe by its cryptically-patterned black, brown, buff and white plumage, but is not easily distinguished from Swinhoe’s and Pin-tailed Snipe in the field, though it is slightly larger.


    Breeds mainly in Hokkaidō in northern Japan, with smaller numbers on Honshū, the eastern Russian mainland and, historically, Sakhalin and the Kurile Islands. The entire population migrates and spends the non-breeding season principally in eastern Australia, where it is the commonest Gallinago snipe. Recorded on migration in Taiwan, the Philippines and New Guinea, and is a rare straggler to New Zealand.


    Breeding habitat in Asia: alpine moorland, grasslands, rough pasture, young tree plantations and cultivated areas. Non-breeding habitat in Australia: shallow freshwater wetlands of various kinds with bare mud or shallow water for feeding, with good nearby vegetation cover for shelter.


    Latham’s Snipe is an omnivorous species that feeds on seeds and other plant material (mainly from species in families such as Cyperaceae, Poaceae, Juncaceae, Polygonaceae, Ranunculaceae and Fabaceae), and on invertebrates including insects (mainly flies and beetles), earthworms, spiders and occasionally molluscs, isopods and centipedes.


    Display flights and drumming by the males. Nests on the ground, concealed in vegetation, with a clutch of four eggs.


    Internationally, Latham’s Snipe is considered to be a species of Least Concern. In Australia it used to be hunted as a gamebird but is now completely protected.

    Apr 4, 2009 | 10:05 am

  35. Rona Y says:

    Sweet Greens! I’ve actually been there–Aunt Tima and Millie are my relatives. I’ll have to ask my mother to try and get some pitaw while she’s still in Bacolod. I wonder if she has evern tried it!

    Apr 4, 2009 | 11:10 pm

  36. stitch says:

    Flying V seems to have a nice little Latham’s snipe up his/her butt. Attempting to present obviously researched information as stock knowledge is plagiarism. Misspelling narcissism is ignorance. So is equating being Filipino with a lack of education or money: “You can hide behind your money and education but you can’t shed the FILIPINO in you.”

    Do us all a favor and never come back.

    Apr 4, 2009 | 11:44 pm

  37. Jun b says:

    Flying V, Just want you to know that your Wiki source for which you have actually cut and paste the lathams snipe information. Listed the species as LC or least concern. Which put it under the lower category of the lower risk.

    Oh one more thing I wouldn’t actually believe all the things that are written on Wiki. I can actually create my own version of Pitaw or snipes information on wiki which I would say the best tasting adobo :)

    Apr 5, 2009 | 12:19 am

  38. millie k says:

    GJN, Negros Trade Fair this year will be earlier. Sept 11-16 at Rockwell Tent. With a lot more activities. Check out http://www.bestofnegrosisland.com. See you there!

    Apr 9, 2009 | 10:14 am

  39. Joey C says:

    Flying V,you are OT (off topic) go to the bird watcher site .
    Anyway, snipe are good eating birds ( locally called tikling) . There are plenty of kinds painted , common ,tikling kabayo& etc. The best for eating are the painted .Preparations of these birds differ from place to place . I have tasted adobo from Bulacan with siling labuyo & a friend of mine would cook it with Balsamic vinigar & olive oil. Availability , medyo hard to find in markets the best is to look for it on your own .And the painted snipe are plentyful in the months of Oct till Jan

    Apr 9, 2009 | 10:15 pm

  40. gino says:

    hello Joey C,

    Snipes are locally known as Kamang. Tikling is the local name of Barred Rail, non-endemic. Great Painted Snipe is locally known as Po-ok because of the sound it makes “pook”

    i love them marinated and grilled…yummy

    hope this helps.

    May 18, 2009 | 2:20 pm

  41. gino says:

    Flying V is STUPID and Birds of the same feathers is a MORON.

    PETA Member – People Eating Tasty Animals

    May 18, 2009 | 2:30 pm

  42. Chilli-Tamale says:

    Marketman your “pitaw’ makes a hot topic…sorry I’ll join the vegetarians for now…L.O.L. and yes, there are a lot of migratory birds not just in eastern Australia; here in Perth, too. Those with feathers and without feathers variety…L.O.L.

    Sep 7, 2009 | 12:09 pm

  43. psychomom says:

    MM are pitaw and agachonas one and the same?

    Sep 11, 2009 | 2:06 am

  44. el_jefe says:

    market man…pls do try the tikling and ulok…these avians are really savoroso….i see those birds hanging on roadside stalls along the hi-way in bay laguna….frogs and ”baragan snails” are sold there too…anyway..these wild poultry are best cooked ”adobado” style or adodobado de sangke” with ”kuchay” sprouts….

    Oct 26, 2009 | 11:13 pm

  45. emsy says:

    I think MM made a good point about eating wild animals…if you eat fish caught in the wild, why is it any more offensive to eat a wild bird? unless it IS considered endangered (which means it’s actually criminal to poach/kill them) then there is absolutely no difference. I have noticed the MM and the regular readers respect vegetarians and their beliefs, but i hope that vegetarians, and maybe even people who feel strongly against eating wild animals should also give us carnivores a wide berth.

    anyhoo, i also grew up eating these small birds, and they are QUITE good. my mom also makes them into adobo but we usually fry it before eating to take some more of the gaminess out of the meat.

    Nov 16, 2009 | 2:31 pm


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