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1st Lanao del Sur Inter-LGU Culinary Festival: A gastronomic feast showcasing Maranao cuisines

MARAWI CITY (PIA)--Known for its colorful culture and traditions, the Province of Lanao del Sur is also a thriving hub for gastronomic delights.

This was showcased in the Inter-LGU Culinary Festival, a cooking demonstration competition flaunting the rich and diverse flavors of Maranao dishes. It was organized by the Provincial Tourism Office as one of the highlights of the 64th founding anniversary of Lanao del Sur.

Provincial Tourism Officer Ahmad Nouraldinn Tamano Jr. said the festival was designed to promote "Maranao culture-preneurship" by showcasing the vibrant Maranao culture and at the same time spotlighting the talent of local cooks and chefs.

The representatives of the Municipality of Saguiaran prepare the ingredients for their special Maranao cuisine during the 1st Inter-LGU Culinary Festival. (JND/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)

18 LGUs, 54 cooks

Eighteen local government units (LGUs) across the province participated in the culinary festival. These are the municipalities of Balabagan, Balindong, Binidayan, Buadipuso-Buntong, Bubong, Kapai, Kapatagan, Lumba Bayabao, Lumbatan, Madalum, Marantao, Masiu, Piagapo, Pualas, Saguiaran, Sultan Dumalondong, Taraka, and Tugaya.

Each local government unit (LGU) has three contestants tasked with preparing an appetizer, soup, main course, dessert, and drinks.

Their dishes were judged according to taste, presentation, and cultural significance by international halal chefs Mayumi Pascua and Ismael Abaya, together with Farm and Grill Restaurant owner and chef Ansary Benito Cali.

The raw ingredients were provided by the provincial government through a farmer’s market established at the venue, where cooks can buy the ingredients they need. Most of the fresh ingredients were locally sourced from farmers and fisherfolks in the province.

The “Matarintis a manok” of the Municipality of Sultan Domalundong is a whole fried chicken combined with shredded coconut. The dish is a combination of traditional Maranao cuisine represented by shredded coconut and fried chicken which is a trend now for the new generation (MJP/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)

Beef randang and chicken piyaparan

Among the many Maranao dishes, beef randang and chicken piyaparan shined the most at the culinary festival.

"'Yung main course namin is beef randang. 'Yung beef randang kasi is parang kultura at tradition na yan ng mga Maranao. Lahat ng handaan, mga events natin tulad ng Eid'l Adha and Eid'l Fitr, kahit na may kambing ay nandiyan pa rin yung beef [Our main course is beef randang. The beef randang is like the culture and tradition of the Maranao people. All our feasts, events like Eid'l Adha and Eid'l Fitr, even if there is a goat, the beef is still there]," said Farhana Lomudag from Tugaya town.

She said it was her first time joining a culinary competition. She and her teammates were nervous but excited at the same time, as they would be able to showcase their Maranao dishes at the culinary event.

Farhana shared that if the provincial government holds the same competition next year, they will participate again as they find their first experience memorable and meaningful.

"The main dish [we prepared] is a whole chicken, which we called "Matarintis a manok." The term "matarintis" means perfect or whole package. Since the trend nowadays is fried chicken and in our culture the way of cooking the chicken is piyaparan (with shredded coconut), so we decided to combine them together," said Majar Mariga from Sultan Dumalondong.

Mariga said the names of their dishes were also coined from the main ingredients, such as the appetizer Parezan," which is a combination of pareya (bitter gourd) and puzan (small salted fish).

Hadja Aliah Dimalna from the municipality of Marantao, who cooked chicken piyaparan, said she also enjoyed the experience. "Sumali kami for fun. Sinubukan lang namin and okay naman 'yung experience. If may ganitong event next year, InshaAllah sasali kami [We joined for fun. We just tried it and the experience was okay. If there is another event like this next year, in God’s will, we will still join]," she added.

Meanwhile, the Provincial Tourism Officer was surprised to witness a fusion of traditional and modern ways of cooking Maranao dishes.

"Nakakagulat na nag-evolve na rin ‘yung mga cuisines natin. For example, yung biyaring dish na nakasanayan nating raw (ang pag-serve).This time, dito ginawa nilang fried [It was really surprising to see that our cuisines have also evolved. For example, the biyaring dish that we usually serve raw, they have fried the ingredients]," Tamano stated.

With this development, Tamano said the citizens can hope for another culinary event at next year's founding anniversary of the province, targeting promising cooks from the different schools in the province as participants.

For the first culinary event, the cooks from the municipality of Balabagan were hailed as the champions, while the first and second runners-up were bestowed on the municipalities of Bubong and Marantao, respectively.

The champion received a P50,000 cash prize, while the first and second runners-up got P30,000 and P15,000, respectively. Other participants received a consolation prize of P5,000 each. Aside from the cash prize, all participants were also given P5,000 to defray their transportation costs. (APB/PIA-10)

About the Author

Apipa Bagumbaran

Assistant Regional Head

Region 10

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