Bulacan Food Congress: ‘A taste of a historic past’

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan- It was a nostalgic trip and food trip too as food historians took residents and participants back in time, especially during the twilight years of the Philippine revolution against Spanish colonial rule and beyond during the first “Bulacan Food Congress” held at Mariano Ponce Hall in Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center in this city yesterday.

Dr. Eliseo Dela Cruz, head of the Provincial History, Arts, Culture and Tourism Office, said the event was organized by the Provincial Government of Bulacan headed by Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado, Vice-Gov. Daniel R. Fernando and has invited food historians to traced the origins of well known foods and delicacies in the historic province of Bulacan.

One of them,Benjamin Basilidez Bautista,graced the occasion as one of the speakers who took the participants back in time, and lectured about the food history of Bulacan that he had personally tasted.

“Iba ang luto nung araw, iba ang lutong antigo, atay-atay, hindi pwedeng minamadali. At noon marami tayong pang-asim na pwedeng pagpilian, may dahon ng alibambang, catmon at palapat,” Bautista said.

He also shared the origin of leche flan, which was the first dessert ever prepared by the Filipinos back then when egg whites were used primarily for cement making mixed with powdered talaba shells and they don’t want to waste the yolks.

Another speaker, Nicanora Teresa Hernandez, niece of the late Bulacan Food Icon Milagros Santiago-Enriquez, who coined the term “Kaluto” which is the Bulacan-Tagalog direct translation of recipe, presented the book that her aunt authored and was awarded the Best Cook Book in 1995, the “Kasaysayan ng Pamanang Kaluto ng ating Bayan”.

The book was divided in different chapters including the Spanish Era where the list of the favorite foods of the country’s heroes can be found including “Tinola and Ginisang Monggo” of Jose Rizal, “Pinalundag na Bulig and Pochero” of Marcelo H. del Pilar, and “Arros ala Cubana and Puto Caramba” of Gregorio del Pilar among others.

Others chapters include the American Era where they introduced their pies and pastries, the Japanese Era that introduced and shared cookeries like “Laing”, “Binatog”, “Nilaga” and “Adobo” and the Hello Joe Recipes where foods like “Picadilyong Sausage”, cheese and hotdogs in blankets were introduced during the liberalization period.

Also, Adobo Queen Nancy Reyes Lumen from the family that owns Aristocrat and Atching Lillian Borromeo, a Pampanga food icon, shared some tips on how to further promote the Bulacan cuisine.

“Ang weapon n’yo ay mga cellphone n’yo. Make your food instagrammable,” Lumen said.
“Magkalapit lang tayo, alam n’yo sa tingin ko kung ano ang pinagkaiba natin? Mahinhin kayo, mayabang kami, siguro lagyan din natin ng yabang ‘yung mga pagkain ninyo,” Borromeo said.
Bianca dela Cruz, a tourism student from Bulacan State University, said that the event was an eye opener for her.

“Bilang isang millennial, na-realize ko na marami pa pala talaga kong hindi alam at hindi natitikman na nandito lang sa paligid ko nagmula. Ang sarap bumalik sa nakaraan,” dela Cruz said.

Gov. Alvarado lauded Dr. Dela Cruz and his team for keeping the food legacy of Bulacan alive and widely available to the present generation.

“This only shows the richness of our culture and traditions. It also shows that Bulakenyos, even during those years, knows hgow to eat good foods,” Alvarado added.

The event was made possible in partnership with the Bulacan Restaurant Owners Association (BROA) who’s president is Gilbert De Jesus of Family Affairs Events Specialist (FAES) and Café, Restaurant and Events Place (CREP). –EMIL G. GAMOS

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