How Building Churches Out of Egg Whites Transformed Filipino Desserts

What else are you going to do with all those yolks?

“Did you know that our churches are made from eggs?” asks April Evangelista, a local food guide, as we walk through the towering doorway of the Philippines’ Holy Rosary Church in Angeles City. “That’s how they’ve survived typhoons and volcanic eruptions.”

The Holy Rosary Church dates back to 1877 and the Spanish colonial era, a period when, Evangelista explains, “Local churches were built with egg whites.” As evangelizing Spanish colonists built churches across the islands, laborers used egg whites as an emulsifier in the concrete. “Food is in the foundations here,” Evangelista adds.

As the well-attended Holy Rosary Church attests, this had a lasting influence on the country’s architecture and spiritual life. But its legacy is also on display in Filipino bakeries and home kitchens. Because what else is there to do with millions of leftover egg yolks but bake delicious desserts?

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