Quantcast
Latest Stories

From good old food to successful food competition–Cagayan de Oro bounces back

By

CAKE decoration winner featuring Aguinaldo’s home.

When a bomb recently exploded in Cagayan de Oro (CDO), my first thought was of our friends there. Were they safe? I had walked near the place where the explosion happened, ate at some of the restaurants in that row. A call helped to ease my mind about my friends. And it helped that I was to see them in a few weeks.

Every year for 17 years now, the culinary competition “Kumbira” is held in this capital city of Misamis Oriental. It is run by the Cagayan de Oro Hotel and Restaurant Association (Cohara). The members are proud of the fact that their project has lasted this long, and one can see that it’s because of their camaraderie— the importance they put to working together even if they are business competitors.

For years now, I have been invited to judge the competition, together with other chefs and writers. We always look forward to the event; it is work certainly, but, inevitably, it also becomes a get-together of friends.

Special event

This year was an even more special event. Eileen San Juan, competitions chair, said during the opening ceremony that none of the judges hesitated to come despite the recent violent incident, and she and her group appreciated that. However, some of the competitors, many of them from other Mindanao provinces, withdrew because no assurances could be given the parents that their children would be safe.

When we landed in CDO, the spanking-new Laguindingan airport surprised us. One of the judges said that when he saw the landscape, he mistakenly thought he had landed in Davao. The drive downtown was much longer now, but it’s also safer for planes to land at the new site; the old airport, after all, involved landing on top of a mountain.

The Limketkai Center, where the competitions have been held these past years, was not as crowded on the first day, although more people came on the second day. The presence of Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr. during the opening was a sign that everything was back to normal. I do hope he keeps his promise of promoting Mindanao more aggressively as a tourist destination.

‘Being Filipino’

The entries have improved a lot, perhaps because competitors have learned a thing or two from the debriefing given after each competition, with judges telling contestants what was wrong or right about their cooking or presentation.

I was asked to judge the cake decoration, which had the theme “Being Filipino.” One group made a cake depicting Aguinaldo’s Cavite home; another devised a jacket using the design of the Philippine flag.

Another competition involved cooking and packaging cashew, one of CDO’s agricultural products. Entrepreneurship was this year’s “Kumbira” theme, which included how to brand and

Creative cake decor of jacket with PH flag design, which won gold.

sell products. Some of the seminars included talks by owners of successful enterprises in the province, such as Vjandep’s pastel, a bread resembling bonete with custard. Though Vjandep pastel originated in Camiguin, it is also manufactured in a CDO factory.

What I really enjoyed was the cooking and presentation of kakanin. The contestants showed how the delicacy could be served on a buffet table or during formal meals. The kakanin was cut for one serving, placed on decorative banana leaf or in small glasses. The better ones had contrasting textures. The one that impressed us most had dipping sauces of chocolate, coffee and a buttery syrup. My fellow judge and I enjoyed tasting each concoction—a maja, bibingka malagkit, suman, bicho.

 

Highlight

Of course, the highlight of the competitions was the Chef Wars for both professionals and students, which picked out those who would be sent to Manila to compete in the finals at the National Food Showdown on Sept. 20- 21 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City

The Mindanao finalists are La Vetta Restaurant and Wine Bar (professional) and Fr. Saturnino Urios University in Butuan City (student). The Visayas finalists who were picked two weeks earlier are Bacolod Academy of Culinary Arts (student) and Business Inn/Planta Hotel (professional).

Last week, it was the turn of the National Capital region and Southern Tagalog, which declared as finalists the International School for Culinary Arts and Hotel Management or ISCAHM (student) and Marriott Manila (professional). This week will have the Northern Philippines competitions in Baguio, to determine the finalists from that area.

As we left CDO, we were glad that things weren’t only back to normal, but the signs of progress were also unmistakable, such as the new airport and new hotels like Seda which was our temporary home. What has remained the same is the good food—perfect lechon, for instance, and the sinuglaw, a combination of charcoal-broiled pork and kinilaw.

Another good sign was that I was getting used to the suwa, the aromatic lime added to the mix; it had put me off the first time I smelled it because it was like eating soap. I now look for that aroma to tell me that what I’m having is authentic sinuglaw from CDO.

E-mail the author at pinoyfood04@yahoo.com


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Cagayan de Oro , Food , Food Competition , Kumbira , Lifestyle



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  2. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  3. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  4. This is not just a farm
  5. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  6. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  7. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  8. Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  9. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  10. The truffled mac ‘n’ cheese, eggs benedict, chicken leg confit are excellent
  1. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  2. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  3. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  4. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  5. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  6. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  7. France makes work beyond 6 p.m. illegal
  8. Ever heard of HydroBob?
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?

News

  • 4.9 quake jolts Batanes on Maundy Thursday
  • Presidents, celebrities mourn writer Garcia Marquez
  • MH370 search to be most costly ever at $100 million — analysts
  • Iraqi guilty of beating wife to death in US
  • Avalanche sweeps Everest; 6 killed, 9 missing
  • Sports

  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Can Spurs get back at Heat? Can they survive West?
  • Hopkins, 49, seeks win for the ageless
  • LeBron still No. 1 with NBA’s most popular jersey
  • Pacquiao back in PH, heads home to wife, kids
  • Lifestyle

  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Entertainment

  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Whoopi Goldberg debuts as marijuana columnist
  • ‘X-men’ director accused of sex assault on teen boy
  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Business

  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Oil prices mixed ahead of long Easter weekend
  • Technology

  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Last call for nominations to ’14 Presidential Awards
  • San Francisco business coalition slams proposed tax on sugary drinks
  • A ‘time-travel’ production of ‘Les Miserable’ at Stanford
  • Filipina Maryknoll sister honored for years of service
  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
    Marketplace