Preserving Davao’s culinary traditions

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/09 March) — One of the 62nd foundation year celebration highlights of the Philippine Women’s College of Davao (PWC Davao) was the launching of the book Davao Cuisine: Recipes of the Ten Tribes of Davao City.

It features recipes of the Kadayawan tribes of Davao: Ata Manobo, Bagobo, Jangan, Matigsalug, Ubo Manuvu, Kalagan, Maguindanao, Maranao, Sama, and Tausug.

The book, a first of its kind published by PWC Davao, is edited by four-time Palanca awardee and Datu Bago awardee Dr. Mac Tiu. He was also a director of research in PWC Davao.

Marco Polo Davao executive chef Eduardo “Ed” Tuazon and PWC Davao former director of research Dr. Mac Tiu
Marco Polo Davao executive chef Eduardo “Ed” Tuazon and PWC Davao former director of research Dr. Mac Tiu

“The book is a testimony of PWC’s continuing romance with the rich cultural heritage of Filipinos,” Dr. Amelou Benitez Reyes, PWC Davao president and CEO said in the book’s foreword. “Preserving Mindanao’s culture and arts can be done in numerous ways. We hope this will spur more interest in studying all dimensions of Mindanawon arts and culture.”

Amelia Bonifacio, the school’s VP for institutional affairs, said that the book is not only a collection of selected recipes that represent generations-old culinary practices of Davao’s ten tribes. She said that it also symbolizes six decades of arts and cultural diversity consciousness of the school.

Bonifacio said that the book aimed to preserve culinary traditions amid diminishing interest and documentation devoted to that aspect of tribal culture and to inspire and challenge students to reflect and be inspired by the historical practices and pursue to create these into modern, fusion recipes that appeal to the taste of the new millennium population.

The book is a product of more than two years of research; it contains 65 recipes from the ten tribes.

“These recipes were actually cooked by the tribal cooks and witnessed by the PWC researchers,” Tiu said. The cooking demonstrations were held at the PWC campus, in tribal villages, and downtown residences. PWC students and faculty assisted in the research. “In addition to the cooking demos, interviews were conducted to clarify and validate the research notes.”

The pages of the book are filled with recipes that are easy to read and follow. Aside from the cooking instructions, brief yet substantial backgrounds on each featured tribe provide culinary and anthropology enthusiasts alike a glimpse on indigenous food and lifestyle.

Colorful pictures accompany recipes; there is also a gallery of the tribal cooks, a mini dictionary of cooking terms (English-Bisaya-Lumad-Moro), and articles on the Philippine food trip of the Magellan Expedition in 1521 (as reported by Antonio Pigafetta) and on the Kadayawan Festival in Davao.

09booktiu“Before we can aspire for international [culinary] standards, we should go back to our roots,” said Eduardo “Ed” Tuazon, Marco Polo Davao executive chef, who is himself a leader in the industry in terms of concocting dishes inspired by indigenous Davao tribes. He is known by the PWC Davao students for his culinary passion and profession. “We have to learn our own traditional recipes and present them in a contemporary setting.”

As a demonstration, chef Ed showcased some of his culinary masterpieces during the cocktails at the book launch press conference: the durian panna cotta, mangosteen cream, coconut cream brulee, and jackfruit and pandan mousse. (Jesse Pizarro Boga/MindaNews)