The Provincial Tourism Office has taken the lead in ensuring that local food of Iloilo province will live long enough to speak of the tradition of the locality where they came from.
“This is a new initiative because for the past 10 years we have not made research nor promote culinary delight in the province of Iloilo. Our concentration has been always destinations and events,” said Iloilo provincial tourism officer Gilbert Marin in an interview on Friday, May 28.
“We want to document every municipality. We are after those with history for generations,” he added.
He said with the help of the town’s tourism officer, they search for dishes with historical background and must have been handed down from their ancestors to the younger generations.
They have documented the local kakanin (cake or pudding) of Bingawan known as “paduya,” Tigbauan’s “biko” and “kalamay sa buri,” Pototan’s “aripahol,” “sinakol” of Alimodian, “suman sa lukay” of Barotac Viejo, and "sirit-sirit”, and “but-ong” of Balasan.
Next week will be the “pulot sa lubi” of Janiuay and “sinipit” of Calinog.
They target to finish the documentation of the culinary delights of the province’s 42 municipalities and one component city before the end of this year.
“We would like it known that these traditional foods have been the source of income of our ancestors. That it is through these that they were able to send their children to school, build a house, and even buy cars. It will be a pride of the locality that they have a unique food that can only be found in their place,” Marin added.
The provincial tourism office will be coming up with a coffee table book to preserve the stories as well as to ensure that the delicacies are sustained even if handed down to the following generations.
Marin added that the initiative is also the province’s response to the “Kain Na”, an annual event of the Department of Tourism that features culinary delights all over the Philippines.
Two years ago, the province hosted “Kain Na” and local foods from towns of Leganes, Carles, Zarraga, and Lambunao were featured.
“After that, we were thinking that we wanted to replicate the same activity for the province of Iloilo,” he said.
The local version was supposed to be named "Kaon Na” that will showcase local and traditional dishes, a lecture forum, cooking demonstrations, and food tasting.
However, due to the health pandemic and health protocols to be observed, Marin said it may be delayed to next year. Perla Lena/PNAPhoto of Bingawan's Paduya by Bombette Golez Marin