A sumptuous taste of traditional cookery

bilao full of Obo Manobo traditional food cooked by Jerlyn and friends.

Filipino Food Month or Buwan ng Kalutong Pilipino is celebrated every year in April as mandated by Presidential Proclamation 469 s. 2018. This prompted my group, Katutubo Exchange Philippines (KXPH), a volunteer cultural organization of indigenous Filipinos, to organize an online event showcasing traditional culinary heritage.

It was great to have featured interesting food recipes from four selected indigenous communities, making the public aware about these food items, which are natural and made fresh right from the source, from farm to table, something that you rarely find. The event jibed with this year’s theme, “Iba’t ibang luto, Pinoy ang puso.”

Puto sinilingkayo cooked by Inna Garcia of the Klata Bagobo Manobo community.

As kick-off, we conducted an online panel discussion on 10 April, which I moderated and introduced the resource persons. We tackled several topics including ingredients, farming, fishing, hunting and the typical food of their respective communities.

The main webinar conducted on 24 and 25 April was titled “Pina-git,” a Bugkalot word referring to the indigenous method of cooking, pa-git. Frederick Barcelo, a Bugkalot from the province of Nueva Vizcaya, is well-versed in farming, fishing and hunting. He demonstrated the preparation of fresh river fish using pa-git. He used an ingredient called kwegem to season and cooked the fish in a bamboo tube.

Frederick, a Bugkalot, demonstrates traditional way of cooking fish in pina-git.

Jerlyn Mendog Noa, an Obo Manobo from North Cotabato, and her young friends made a bilao full of food that included nilutlot na bak-bak (frog), nilutlot na ginataang tuvod (taro leaves), nilutlot na kaning mais (corn rice), adobong takway (taro stems), dinogdog no binggala (grilled cassava), ginataang davong (bamboo shoots in coconut milk), porobos (locally-grown coffee) and many others. She emphasized that they used at most times bawing or lemongrass instead of onions in cooking.

Glen Andreigh Senio, an Ibaloy of Atok, Benguet, is a vegetable farmer particularly of papas (potatoes). He talked about different dishes such as kini-ing (smoked, preserved pork), watwat (slices of boiled meat served in cañao ritual and other occasions), etag (pork cured in salt) and pinuneg (blood sausage). He demonstrated the cooking of the traditional dish, pinikpikan, prepared by beating a live chicken to death with a stick before cooking.

Twelve-year-old Mark Jelo is being taught how to make Ilocano empanada by trainor Florina.

Inna Maristela Garcia, a Klata Bagobo Manobo of Davao Region, discussed some of the native dishes of her community. She revealed that duliyah or durian can be cooked unripe as a viand. They also cooked pab’bak (frogs) and piyuh (freshwater crabs). She demonstrated online how to cook puto sinilingkayo or cassava cake in bamboo and coconut shells.

In a related event, “Taraon,” a workshop on Ilocano culinary heritage initiated by the Ilocos Culinary Heritage Movement led by Dr. Isaias Alipio Jr., in partnership with KXPH, and conducted from 30 April to 1 May, a number of Ilocano teens participated and were trained by Fannykate Jose and Florina Guzman on the grating of coconut, the winnowing of the glutinous rice, the cleaning of fish for cooking, and cooking in clay pots and stoves of dishes such as pinakbet, sinuman, miki, sigang a lapes, palinang, busi and linga. Highlights of the event were the cooking of the Ilocano emapanada and the pounding of boiled balanghoy or cassava to make linubian using the al-o and al-song, which several experienced for the first time. The young participants were taught to sing lubi-lubi, an Ilokano tradition associated with courtship among young people while pounding.

The author teaches the youth participants a native delicacy, palinang (coco jam). / photographs by By Dr. Edwin Antonio FOR THE DAILY TRIBUNE

Both programs were supported by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). Its executive director, Al Ryan Alejandre, provided an opening message, saying that “the values and culture that we have today are woven from the beliefs and traditions of our indigenous brothers and sisters, the words that we speak, the music that we listen to and even the cuisines are the precursors of what we enjoy today… Initiatives like this webinar are vital in preserving our culture and in a sense our identity. And NCCA will continue to support this kind of programs.”

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Credit belongs to : www.tribune.net.ph

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