Cagayan de Oro City, CDO—Mindananoans were treated to a gastronomic extravaganza as Kaon ‘Ta!, the Northern Mindanao leg of the Department of Tourism’s (DOT) food and travel festival was launched recently at the Seda Centrio Mall, Cagayan de Oro City.
Foodies and travelers delighted themselves with a wide array of local cuisine, including exotic authentic Cagayan de Oro (CDO) recipes presented by CDO’s prominent local chefs for degustation of special guests.
Over 30 exhibitors, including hotels and restaurants, farm resorts, agro industry groups, eco-farm adventure parks, transport operators, universities, and various local government unit (LGU) tourism offices presented specialty food products, coffee, vegetables, juices, handicrafts, and culinary tour packages.
Among the featured CDO chefs and their special recipes, include: Chef Benjie Gaviola, Beef Rendang; Chef Chiko Arvin Cacanindin, Chicken Surol; Chef Pat Sabay III, Humba de Oro; Chef Cyril Balbuena, Sinuglaw and Inun-unan na Pidlayan; Chef Albert Chiu, Roast Beef and Binaki; and Chef Roseller S. Fiel II, Chicken Piaparan (Halal).
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the event showcased the country’s “widely-diverse culinary culture all over the country, to create awareness and interest on distinct Filipino cuisine and tourism destinations.”
“Travel experience is really more fun when served with the fusion of the unique Filipino hospitality and delectable Filipino food,” added Puyat.
DOT Region 10 Director Marie Elaine Unchuan explained that the region is known for its abundance in agricultural products especially lanzones, pineapple and organic peanuts, on top of producing 31 varieties of banana. As such, the event showcased Mindanaoan flavors including unique coffee blends, local herbs, concoctions, organic vegetables and crop-based delicacies that promise delightful gastronomic adventures to visitors.
The host city exhibited cakes made of ground rice and coconut milk, and the famous binaki, a local delicacy made of yellow corn, cream, butter, milk and sugar.
Among the crowd favorites are Camiguin’s classic pastel, a soft bun made of sweet yema which is best eaten accompanied with a cup of freshly brewed coffee or hot cocoa. There is also the famous kiping, a crunchy snack made of cassava drizzled in latik, a syrup made of caramelized coconut milk.
Of course, the exhibit will not be complete without the Camiguin lanzones. Locals claim that the distinct sweetness of the lanzones may have resulted from the volcanic ashes that landed on the soil in which they were grown.
Meanwhile, Iligan City, known for its agri-tourism products, charmed coffee lovers with its wide selection of coffee blends. It also exhibited the organic vegetables harvested from Sikyop Agri Cooperative, a farm site in Brgy. Rogongon that houses underground rivers, caves and waterfalls in its vicinity.
Palapa, a specialty popular in Islam culture and is used to add flavor to curry rice and any kind of viand one can think of, was also sampled. The city also presented egg-white cheese puto and sukang pinakurat, definitely a couple of must-trys when tourists come to visit.
DOT Assistant Secretary for Mindanano and Palawan Myra Paz Abubakar represented Puyat during the festivities, and read her message for the organizers, exhibitors, and guests during the opening ceremonies.
“People are asking me why we continue promoting food. My response is simple: It is because food will always be one of the things you will consider in the places you visit.”
Secretary Puyat is slated to grace the launching of Kain Na! Davao leg on Dec. 7-9 in Davao City Ayala Mall . It will be held simultaneously with the launches at the Marquee Mall, Angeles City, Pampanga and at the Ayala Mall, Solenad, Laguna.