Coconut oil is likely the most commonly used edible cooking oil in the Philippines which is a leading producer of coconuts and the largest exporter of copra (dried coconut meat) from which coconut oil is often extracted.
Virgin coconut oil (VCO) say many coconut oil advocates is the best choice with its tocopherols that act as antioxidants. However, because of a low smoke point (138 degrees Celsius) unrefined coconut oil is unsuitable for frying. Refined coconut oil on the other hand has a higher smoke point (around 177 degrees Celsius). Oil that reaches its smoke point begins to break down and release potentially harmful carcinogens.
Refined bleached deodorized (but not hydrogenated) coconut oil, often referred to as RBD coconut oil, is the cooking oil one most commonly finds on Philippine supermarket shelves. Coconut oil is often labeled as vegetable oil; recently it has been marketed as lauric oil. Common local brands include Minola, Baguio, Cook Best, Golden Fry, Marca Leon, Magnolia Nutri-Oil, Spring, and Magic Fry. The Coconut Industry Investment Fund (CIIF) Oil Mills Groups is the largest coconut oil producer in the Philippines.
Coconut oil's saturated fats are commonly cited as a reason to avoid coconut oil and they were previously demonized as unhealthy but this is mainly due to association with other foods with high saturated fat content since there are not many studies that directly tie coconut oil to bad outcomes and the ones that do used partially hydrogenated coconut oil that contained trans fats or induced essential fatty acid deficiency. Saturated fats like coconut oil actually have a theoretical advantage over unsaturated fats since they are more stable in normal conditions and do not oxidize as easily.
Other cooking oils like palm, soybean, canola, corn, and olive oil are also commonly available in large metropolitan supermarkets.