Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Showcase of Ilocos Food Crafts at the IFEX

It was on May 16-19, 2013 that Iloko cultural community was invited through the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) by the Center for International Trade and Exposition Missions or CITEM, a bureau under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to join and showcase culinary crafts at the International Food Exhibit (IFEX): Asia's Ethnic Food & Ingredients Show at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
I got excited when I was informed by the office that I have to bring to Manila food craftsmen to showcase Ilocos empanada and tupig. CITEM requested first patupat but they were thinking of another version of it. So I explained to them what it is all about, took the photos of the delicacies and sent them. I later suggested tinubong but not possible logistically, then I finally proposed tupig but we studied how to cook without the charcoal. It worked well with electric oven upon trying it.

I had difficulty finding people because the elders at the Laoag City market wouldn’t want to travel because of health reasons. After asking several people, I found these young people who nodded positively. I was able to request from the provincial government of Ilocos Norte, empanada maker Romando Figuracion of Johnny Moon Café with assistant Ian Briones and the longtime tupig/patupat makers Mary Rose Julian with assistant Glaiza Julian of Flong’s Special Tupig.

Despite some problems we were able to showcase and demonstrate cooking empanada and tupig. It was a big hit since many people queued up for a sampling of the food. There were some celebrities who dropped by like Chef Claude Tayag who enjoyed empanada very much. There were foreigners too. The photos used on the backdrop of our exhibition area were my output which I used for presentation before the CITEM staff. Same photos were also used on the agency’s website Also featured on the show for the culinary craft spot are the pili nut cracking from Bicol region and making burlas for pastillas and candies from Bulacan.

Friday, January 10, 2014

2013: A Year of Recognition

I did not expect that the year 2013 was a year when my efforts and initiatives to help the less fortunate people especially the children will be recognized by people and various institutions. I barely had two years implementing the Kids on Project Photography to various parts of the country. I had the chance also to implement it abroad. This is a free photography lecture and workshop for the children in the orphanages and indigenous communities. It was implemented in the Aeta community of Bataan, Pag-amoma Children’s Place of Davao City, Tahanang Carmela d’Amore in Laoag City, Subic Bay Children’s Home in Olongapo City, SOS Children’s Village in Iloilo and Asrama Darul Falah Perkim in Kuala Lumpur.

Later, I basically did a voluntary cultural work for the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) when I was elected to become a member and eventually became an officer. I started working in the year 2011. I visited various cultural communities providing technical assistance and help facilitating their cultural projects.

I was chosen to receive the (Ship for South East Asian Youth Program) SSEAYP International Award on April 2013 in Vientiane, Laos during the SSEAYP International Assembly (SIGA). Prior to this, I was awarded as Outstanding Laoagueño for 2013 in the Field of Culture & the Arts by the City Government of Laoag and the Pillar of Excellence Award for 2013 in the field of Culture & the Arts at Northwestern University in Laoag City.

Because of the challenge that goes with the award, I thought of implementing another and more exciting project called Katutubo Exchange. It is a cultural exchange program for indigenous kids and youths from around the country. It is SSEAYP inspired program and it took off from my Kids on Project Photography. I eventually organized the Katutubo Exchange Philippines where I invited volunteers & cultural workers to join my advocacy. The objectives are to heighten the awareness of the people towards indigenous peoples and their cultures, promote the traditional arts and to provide learning opportunities for the participants. Lucky to have been sponsored by Cebu Pacific Air for the air travel of participants. Other agencies also took part.

Immediately after the program I was interviewed and then featured on GMA Television Network’s show Unang Hirit and also in Agung NCCA’s news magazine. It was a simple program that served 12 participants and had gone a long way… making a difference in the lives of these young people.

I traveled this year to a few countries by attending the UNESCO World Heritage Committee 37th meeting in Cambodia. I witnessed festivals abroad such as the Lantern Festival in Taipei and watched the Formosa Aboriginal Cultural performance in Nantou, Gai Jaktra Festival in Baktaphur and Raksha Bandhan in Kathmandu, Nepal. I also saw a traditional Bengali wedding in Bangladesh and hosted by my Indian friend Pola. I traveled also to Singapore, Vietnam and Guam to where I have seen the Labor Day Celebration.

Locally, I attended festivals such as Sinulog in Cebu, Gameng Festival of Solsona, Pamulinawen of Laoag City where we implemented the Pamulinawen Photo Experience, Guling-guling of Paoay, and Panag-abuos Festival of Banna town all in the province of Ilocos Norte. I monitored the Bagat-Isem Festival as festival project sponsored by NCCA in Santol La Union. We witnessed Bakle Ad Bunubungna of Kiangan while we had CNCC meeting in Banawe and visited the rice terraces.

I conducted capability buidling seminars for cultural communities of Aeta in Bataan Peninsula State University in Abucay and the Kasiguranin and Dumagat of Casiguran Aurora. I was invited by the DepEd to conduct project proposal writing workshop for the Ivatans in Batanes.

I led a group of foodcraftsmen from Ilocos Norte for the International Food Exhibit (IFEX) where Ilocos empanada and tupig were featured on a cooking demo. I opened the program Dungog Kabataan in Lingayen Pangasinan attended by IP youths from Northern Philippines.

I attended the Cultural Mapping Conference at UST Manila and the Historical Societies Assembly at NHCP Manila. I was able to visit Dumaguete and Siquijor for the ordination of my friend Fr. Bryan Ligutom. I joined a medical mission in Zambales, celebrated my birthday with the kids at the Missionaries of Charity in Manila. I also joined the observance of the disability week with the Move Pilipinas at Quezon City Circle and Hapi wheelchair’s Day in Taguig where wheelchairs exhibited were decorated and designed by various artists. 

Attended the SIP General Assembly in Pasig where I met for the first time some alumni members and the Reunion on Board Nippon Maru for the 40th SSEAYP where I met my batchmates. 

I delivered a lecture on heritage conservation for civil engineers at the PICE Tehnical Conference in Ilocos Sur and was invited as guest of honor and speaker at the MMSU Management Convention in Batac. I served as judge to the dance competition of the IP week celebration of the province of La Union in Rosario and judge to art competition among IPs organized by Kalinawa Art Foundation. 

Another surprise that came this year was the publication of my article about Kapurpurawan Rock Formation on the travel magazine VIEW of Business Mirror on its July 2013 issue. My own photograph of the site landed on its cover being the first time to be featured on the front page of a publication.

I have attended the Silver Anniversary of NCCA at the CCP and the Ani ng Dangal Awards on separate occassions. We held the Dayaw Festival kick-off at Rizal Park creating a flash mob and held a press conference on October and we held a meeting for the final preparation in the supposed to be site of the 2013 Dayaw Festival in Tacloban City then a supertyphoon struck and devastated the place so we just reformatted the program into Dayaw arts for healing session and I have attended the Bohol leg where I met the quake victims.