Traditional cookfest keeps Tinungbo Fest spirit alive
The resumption of the traditional way of cooking rice and viands is keeping the spirit of Tinungbo Festival alive in Pugo, La Union, where many residents trace their roots to the highland region.
On weekend, residents and tourists alike partook of the various native delicacies prepared during the much-awaited cookfest event of the festival that resumed after a three-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
There was fun as the cookfest participants from the 14 barangays used bamboo stems to cook rice and viands, including traditional dishes.
The Tinungbo Festival was inspired by the indigenous way of cooking rice, fish, and other local delicacies called “tinungbo” using light young bamboo internodes. The rice and viands are grilled over charcoal or low fire.
The participants composed of five for each barangay were given two hours to cook their preferred local delicacies using bamboo stems.
In the olden times, the people of Pugo mastered the art of cooking with the use of light bamboo, which are widely available in the town’s riverbanks and mountains up to now.
Such traditional way of cooking has been preserved even with the presence of modern cooking utensils.
Pugo officials led by Mayor Kurt Walter Martin, whose parents are from Mountain Province, thanked town and barangay officials in making the resumption of the festival a success.
The first-term chief executive said the Tinungbo Festival will be further strengthened in the years to come, as it has become the town’s sought-after event since its inception in 2016.
The Tinungbo Festival became known to people outside of the municipality when its contingent, all high school students, won in the open categories of street dancing competitions of festivals such as the Panagbenga.
Tribu Tinungbo was the grand winner in the open division of the 2017 Panagbenga street dance competition and took the second spot in the same event the following year. – Text and photos: Harley F. Palangchao