Grassroots innovations on traditional food and food systems

Women from BLLUPENTTRAS, Inc. prepares their traditional Binagyang with palaman delicacy during the Barrio Food Festival as part of the USAID and GRF INSPIRE project of Xavier Science Foundation, Inc.

On September 15, 2023, the first ever Barrio Food Festival was organized by Xavier Science Foundation, Inc. where it showcased traditional foods made by participating Indigenous Peoples Organizations (IPO) from the municipalities of Pangantucan, Maramag, and Valencia City.

The Barrio Food Festival is part of the USAID and Gerry Roxas Foundation project titled Investing in Sustainability and Partnership for Inclusive Growth and Regenerative Ecosystems (INSPIRE). In XSF’s Mt. Kalatungan BioCon initiative, six (6) IPOs are supported to establish home gardens for families to have readily accessible vegetables and crops to supply their immediate food needs. Indigenous herbs, vegetables and crops are being restored with the help of the Lumad elders in identifying the names and types of plant.

The event was welcomed by Datu Johnny Guina, PTTA Chairman and head of the Mt. Kalatungan Council of Elders in the PTTA Turugan, Barangay Portulin. PTTA is also celebrating its 25th Founding Anniversary on September 14, 2023.

Honored guests from the NCIP and LGU of Pangantucan, along with Tribal Elders graced the ribbon cutting to officially open the Barrio Food Festival.

The participating IPOs have constructed their own booth using their own creativity with materials like handicrafts, tribal accessories, and ornamental plants.  

They have also identified two delicacies which they presented during the festival. Some of the foods were made of crops commonly found in their area like cassava, taro, corn, bamboo, banana, and various vegetables. Some even have poisonous components from a locally known vine called Kёrёt. Only those with the knowledge and skills can draw out the poison from the plant and make it into a delicious dish.

Other delicacies include Ubod ng Saging, Binagyang with Palaman, Kinalayo na Utan, Binaki, Bas-oy, Ubod ng Kawayan, Nilupak, Inurap with Hagpa, Pinilipig (made of young corn), Ubod ng Ulango.

The foods were then shared to everyone around exuding the vibrancy of a local barrio fiesta. Tribal music and dances were performed by the Kulahi Pangantucan Performing Arts along with the community.

The XSF team is grateful to the participating IPOs for their ingenious ways of making the event successful.

The event boasted the indigenous traditions of food preparations and menu based on their Indigenous Knowledge System and Practices (IKSP) and hopefully it will inspire the local communities to revive and develop their traditional food systems for their security and sustainability.

XSF team headed by Deputy Director Thieza Verdijo, Project staff Angel Mae Macadingding and Jivi Roy Rizaldo with Pangantucan Tourism Office Leah Apal, Christine Joy Agudo, and Hon. Macky Tañola.

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