As a sign of thanksgiving for good graces, the Yakans, the indigenous group of Basilan, serve dulang, a medley of molded sticky rice with chicken, fried fish and vegetable on a banana leaf.
The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) recently launched its annual food festival. Food tasting local cuisine is one of the events of the lifestyle exhibition, “Discover ARMM in 100 Days Journey.” Ongoing till Sept. 22 at the ARMM Compound in Cotabato City, the event includes tours, arts and crafts demos and native delicacies.
The food festival was held at the Yakan Village, one of the cultural villages that represent the architecture and lifestyle of
ARMM’s seven tribes: Maguindanaon, Tausug, Sama, Maranao, Yakan, Iranon and Teduray.
“Aside from the houses typical of these tribes, we showcased their cultural artifacts, farming and fishing implements and how they go about their daily living,” explained ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman. “We also staged their rituals so that the public can appreciate the uniqueness of each tribe.”
Daily food festivals focused on the specialties of each tribe; there was also a culinary competition. “Visitors who haven’t been to the island provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi sampled their specialties,” said Princess Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman,
ARMM first lady and Anak-Mindanao representative.
The Yakans of Basilan presented food such as putu, sinalanglag, sagel, kinilaw (raw fish), kenna (fried fish), ginataang langka (jackfruit stewed in coconut milk) and kaliya (Yakan chicken).
Yakan chicken must be prayed upon before slaughtering. It is then cooked with chili, ginger, onion leaves, garlic cloves, lemongrass and powdered rice. Pinalam-pinalam is spicy native chicken with dulang. The jah panyam pitis, a rectangular sweet made with sticky purple rice, coconut milk and brown sugar, is also popular with the Tausugs.
The event includes a health element. The weekend market features organic farmers and producers of natural foods. Fitness enthusiasts can engage in Zumba, hataw (an aerobic dance class), yoga and outdoor sports.
At the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Complex, cultural groups will present dances, songs, poetry and dramas about the history of different sultanates. “Discover ARMM in 100 Days Journey” ends with a cultural parade and street dancing competition.