Plant-Based Revolution: The Rise of Veganism in the Philippines

In recent years, veganism has emerged as a significant dietary and lifestyle choice in the Philippines, challenging traditional culinary norms and prompting a shift towards plant-based living. Let’s explore the multifaceted motivations behind the growing popularity of veganism in the Philippines, examining its roots in health consciousness, environmental awareness, ethical considerations, the availability of vegan-friendly options, the supportive community that sustains it, and the challenges that accompany its adoption.

The Philippines boasts a diverse culinary heritage shaped by centuries of cultural exchange and adaptation. While meat holds a prominent place in traditional Filipino cuisine, there are also longstanding plant-based culinary traditions, particularly in regions influenced by Buddhism or Hinduism. However, the mainstream Filipino diet has historically centered around animal products, reflecting cultural norms and dietary habits ingrained over generations.

The rise of veganism in the Philippines is closely tied to increasing awareness of the health benefits associated with plant-based diets. Many recent documentaries have created more awareness for the movement, check out the most influential and popular here.

Filipino cuisine, characterized by fried and fatty foods, has contributed to rising rates of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. By adopting a vegan diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, many Filipinos are seeking to improve their health and reduce their risk of chronic diseases.

Environmental concerns play a significant role in driving the adoption of veganism in the Philippines. The destructive effect of animal agriculture was explored in the documentary Cowspiracy, which has created more awareness and concern with food sourcing. The country faces numerous environmental challenges, including deforestation, water pollution, and climate change. Animal agriculture is a major contributor to these issues, prompting many Filipinos to embrace veganism as a way to reduce their carbon footprint and mitigate environmental degradation.

Ethical considerations regarding the treatment of animals in agriculture are also motivating factors for adopting veganism in the Philippines. Documentaries and advocacy efforts have raised awareness about the cruelty of factory farming, prompting many Filipinos to reject animal products in favor of a more compassionate lifestyle. Animal rights organizations, such as PETA Asia, play a vital role in promoting veganism as a means of advocating for the welfare of farm animals.

The increasing availability of vegan-friendly products and restaurants has facilitated the adoption of veganism in urban areas of the Philippines. Health food stores such as Berde Eats and The Vegan Grocer offer a variety of plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy products, while vegetarian and vegan restaurants serve creative interpretations of traditional Filipino dishes. 

Vegan food festivals like VegFest Pilipinas and markets like Good Food Sundays provide opportunities for consumers to explore new culinary experiences and support local vendors.

Green Bar owners Jade and Sarada Santos together with their staffs at Vegfest Filipinas


In recent years, Filipino celebrities such as Nadine Lustre, Angie Mead King and Joey Mead King, all regulars of Green Bar (thank you 🙂) have emerged as influential advocates for veganism and plant-based living, using their platforms to spread awareness and inspire others to adopt a more compassionate and sustainable lifestyle. Nadine Lustre, known for her acting prowess and vibrant presence in the entertainment industry, has openly embraced veganism, sharing her journey and promoting the benefits of a plant-based diet through social media and interviews. Her advocacy extends beyond personal health to encompass environmental sustainability and animal welfare, resonating with her large and diverse fan base. Similarly, Angie Mead King, a prominent figure in the automotive industry and a known advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, has been vocal about her transition to a plant-based lifestyle. Through her online presence and community engagements, Mead King highlights the positive impact of veganism on both personal well-being and the planet, inspiring others to make conscious dietary choices. Joey Mead King, a respected model and television personality, has also embraced plant forward living, using her platform to educate others about the ethical and health benefits of a plant-based diet. By leveraging their influence and visibility, Lustre and the Mead King’s have played pivotal roles in mainstreaming veganism and fostering a culture of compassion and mindfulness in the Philippines and beyond.

Green Bar owner Jade Santos together with Angie Mead King Nadine Lustre at Green Bar


Despite its growing popularity, veganism in the Philippines faces challenges associated with dietary traditions and accessibility. Traditional Filipino cuisine heavily relies on meat and seafood, making it difficult to find vegan versions of classic dishes, especially in rural areas. Additionally, plant-based alternatives may be more expensive or less accessible for some segments of the population, highlighting the need for education and outreach efforts to make veganism more inclusive and accessible to all Filipinos. The vegan community in the Philippines is characterized by its vibrancy and supportiveness, providing a sense of belonging and solidarity for those embracing a plant-based lifestyle. Social media platforms and online forums serve as hubs for sharing recipes, offering support, and organizing events, while local vegan groups foster community engagement and advocacy efforts. The supportive network of individuals and organizations plays a crucial role in sustaining the momentum of the vegan movement in the Philippines.

In addition to cultural and social factors, economic considerations also influence the adoption of veganism in the Philippines. While plant-based diets can be affordable and cost-effective, especially when based on locally sourced ingredients, there may be perceived barriers to entry for some individuals, particularly those from lower-income backgrounds. Addressing issues of food accessibility, affordability, and education is essential for ensuring that veganism remains an inclusive and sustainable lifestyle choice for all Filipinos.

Veganism in the Philippines represents a multifaceted journey towards health, sustainability, and compassion. Motivated by concerns about personal health, environmental sustainability, and animal welfare, an increasing number of Filipinos are embracing plant-based living as a means of effecting positive change in their lives and in the world around them. Despite challenges associated with dietary traditions, accessibility, and economic considerations, the growing availability of vegan-friendly options and the supportive community continue to drive the expansion of veganism in the Philippines, heralding a new era of conscientious consumption and ethical living. We at Green Bar aim to help people with their plant based journey. 


1. Is vegan food widely available in the Philippines?

Vegan food availability in the Philippines has been gradually increasing in recent years, especially in urban areas like Manila and Cebu City. You can find vegan options in restaurants, cafes, and even some traditional Filipino eateries. Local markets and grocery stores also stock ingredients for vegan cooking.

2. How can I find vegan communities in the Philippines?

To find vegan communities in the Philippines, you can start by searching online on social media platforms like Facebook or Look for vegan groups or communities specific to your area. Attending vegan events, such as food festivals or plant-based workshops, can also be a great way to connect with like-minded individuals.

3. What are some tips for transitioning to a vegan lifestyle in the Philippines?

Here are some tips for transitioning to a vegan lifestyle in the Philippines:

  • Research Local Ingredients: Familiarize yourself with locally available fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes that can serve as staples in your vegan diet. Some examples include rice, sweet potatoes, taro, cassava, and various tropical fruits.
  • Explore Traditional Filipino Cuisine: Filipino cuisine offers many naturally vegan dishes, such as adobong kangkong (water spinach), pinakbet (mixed vegetable stew), and ginataang kalabasa (squash in coconut milk). Learning to cook these dishes or finding restaurants that offer vegan versions can make your transition easier.
  • Connect with Local Vegans: Joining vegan communities or groups can provide support, advice, and resources as you transition to a vegan lifestyle. Sharing experiences and tips with others who understand your journey can be invaluable.
  • Be Adventurous: Explore new foods and recipes. The Philippines has a rich culinary tradition with a wide variety of plant-based ingredients waiting to be discovered. Experimenting with different flavors and cooking techniques can make your vegan diet more enjoyable.
  • Plan Ahead: When dining out or traveling, research vegan-friendly restaurants or options in advance. While veganism is gaining popularity, not all establishments may cater specifically to vegans, so planning ahead can ensure you have options available.
  • Read Labels Carefully: Be mindful of hidden animal products in processed foods and condiments. Some ingredients may have animal-derived additives, so reading labels carefully is essential when shopping for packaged foods.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with the latest vegan news, products, and events in the Philippines. Following vegan influencers, bloggers, and organizations can provide valuable insights and resources to support your vegan journey.

By following these tips and staying committed to your goals, transitioning to a vegan lifestyle in the Philippines can be both fulfilling and rewarding.