CALAMBA CITY, Laguna — Native food delicacies and specialties could be the unifying factor for this city’s 54 barangays (villages) during Thursday’s “2nd Salusalo ng Aning Calambeño,” a food festival which showcases traditional recipes out of the bounty of the farm harvest, fisheries, and aquatic resources.
Larissa Malinao, head of the City Cultural Affairs, Tourism and Sports Development Department (CATSDD), described the resounding success of the “salusalo” as a feast in the tradition of a village banquet, which inspired the city government to sustain the event annually.
“This event is one of the major highlights of our annual “Buhayani Festival” which kicked off June 8 and culminates to Dr. Jose P. Rizal’s 158th birth anniversary on June 19, owing to tradition where native dishes and delicacies are served during fiestas and village banquets,” she said in an interview with the Philippine News Agency.
Malinao expressed hope the event has encouraged farmers, fisherfolk and village constituents to produce more, noting “their response was overwhelming with 100-percent participation this year.”
She said all the barangays participated in the food festival, with farmers, fisherfolk, farm workers and village leaders preparing native dishes like the popular “puto” (rice cake) varieties including “suman”, “kutsinta”, ube (purple yam) sweets, “malagkit” (sticky rice), maruya (fried banana wrapped in flour), “lumpia” (spring roll), shing-a-ling (crispy flour stick), green mango slices, and other native sweet delicacies.
Also up for the city folks ’ “boodle fight” were special native viands from tinola sa bayabas and papaya (stew in guava and papaya), “pesang dalag” (mudfish stewed in ginger),” sinaing na tulingan” (scad), chicken and pork adobo, pancit (noodle) variety, stuffed egg cakes, dinuguan (pork stewed in blood), “laing” (taro leaves), home-made longganisa (sausage), an array of unique gastronomic delights and beverages from native “barako” coffee, lemon grass and cucumber juices.
Malinao thanked the support of the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council (FARMC), Barangay Agriculture and Fisheries Council, and the respective village leaders and councils.
She noted that culinary experts, chefs, and judges found it hard in choosing the best recipes in the food categories for the special awards of PHP10,000 each due to the enormous entries for the food fest.
Malinao also shared that the chair of the judges’ panel of chefs and culinary writers/bloggers, who hail from this city, has encouraged the city government to finally come up with its “One Town, One Product,” besides sustaining the food festival.
She added they are also coordinating with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in terms of training village folks to lengthen the shelf life of the foodstuffs, learn proper packaging that is attractive, and entice tourists and assistance in marketing.
Winners in the Best in Food Categories included: Vegetable Dish with their “okoy specialty” – Barangay Cinco; Seafood “Tinapang Bangus” – Barangay Lingga; Meat Dish “Tinolang Tagalog” – Barangay Saimsim; Dessert “Ube Balls” – Barangay Lawa; Merienda “Adobong Mais” – Barangay 6; Rice Dish “Red Paella Rice” – Barangay San Jose; Beverage “Mabato Coffee” – Barangay Mabato; and the Best in Booth with two winners -Barangay Camaligan and Barangay Sucol.
Meanwhile, Councilor Cha Hernandez described the preparedness and enthusiasm of the villages for leveraging their farmers and fisherfolk as “champions in agriculture”.
“We want to uplift the lives of our farmers and fisherfolk, as we encourage our young generation to engage in farming and fishery as our future is in agriculture,” she said.
Councilor Virginia Alcasid, chair of the City Council Committee on Tourism and Social Events, thanked village leaders and their respective councils for their cooperation and support in making the “salusalo” event a resounding success. (PNA)