More than a dozen traditional native cuisine favored by the Ibalois and Kankana-eys of Benguet took center stage recently in the 1st Benguet Cultural Ethnic Food Festival held at the Kapangan municipal gym on March 19.
“It was a resounding success as even guests from Albay province in the Bicol region took repeated servings,” said Dr. Alumno Ampaguey, coordinator of the activity that was sponsored by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
Mayor Roberto Canuto said the food festival showed that native cuisine could be both attractive and tasty. “It is my wish that these practices should be preserved by the incoming generations,” he said.
Canuto led municipal officials in adopting NCCA culture and arts officer Maria Crisalda Magsumbol as a daughter of the place with the title Kagamis, meaning charming or beautiful.
The native cuisine included the kinuday (kini-eng) or smoked ham, pinicpican, banana burger, sina-eg (yeast treated rice), papaya coscos manok, sabeng (native vi-negar), bobod (yeast) preparation, peseng (boiled gabi or taro stalks), lambong, pinuneg (boiled meat mixed with blood), binaita, dinokanog, bagis silet, and boiled kinuday spiced with lemon grass.
The presentation of the traditional food preparations was preceded by indigenous games such as splitting and filing of wood, carrying of water with bamboo poles, and turning of coconut cup filled with water.
The activity drew the participation of all barangay officials and concerned citizens from the town’s 15 barangays, namely: Balakbak, Beleng-Belis, Boklaoan, Cayapes, Central Kapangan, Cuba, Datakan, Gadang, Gaswiling, Labueg, Paykek, Pongayan, Pudong, Sagubo, and Taba-ao.
Benedicto Gaplaew, president of the Kapangan Ibaloi Kankanaey Indigenous Peoples Organization, said the festival highlighted the unity of the two ethnolinguistic groups of Kapangan as well as their traditional food preparations in a modest way.