FOODWAYS OF SARIAYA (PRELIMINARY DESCRIPTIONS ON SARIAYAHIN FOOD CULTURE ) Shirley V. Guevarra Corazon F. Gatchalian Food and Culture Group University of the Philippines - Diliman
Objectives of the Study:
Identify food artifacts that can be packaged as tourismic products;
Explore the contribution of these local delicacies and beverage to Sariayahin’s cultural identity; and
Describe the distinct performativities of these delicacies and beverage making them central to Sariayahin’s tradition.
Ethnomethodology – aims to reveal the ways in which people construct meanings for themselves in their everyday activities
- cultural mapping
- in-depth interviews
- Focus Group Discussion
- Validation from Sariaya Tourism Council
Lambanog: Magic of the Spirit and Words
Lambanog, (coco vodka) an alcoholic beverage made from fermented coconut sap is one of the local and/or traditional beverages of Sariaya.
Serves as a very important feature Sariayan festivities e.g. the Agawan Festival (or locally known as Bagakay Festival) and the Holy Week.
Lambanog drinking or tagayan characterized by verbal jousting, powered by the spirit of the drink.
The ritual serves to effect contestations and negotiations among the participants e.g. courtship/marriage, politics, friendship, disputes, etc.
Showcases power relations and social structures
Nilupak/Minukmok: The (He)art of Courting
Nilupak or minukmok is a sweet delicacy made from crushed banana (saba) or kamoteng kahoy (cassava) mixed with milk, sugar, butter and young coconut meat.
Mukmukan was used as a venue for subtle ligawan (courtship) among young folks in Sariaya The panliligaw or diskarte takes place during the pagbabayo and paghahalo ng laok: accompanied by songs and dances (tinikling)
Today, this tradition of panliligaw does not take place anymore. Pagmumukmuk has evolved into a venue for other types of socialization and recreational activities.
H owever, pagmumukmuk is still associated with taga-lunang, thus the activity is arranged through an intermediary.
This ritual reflects gender relations rather than power relations and class distinction.
More than anything else however, mukmukan or pagmumukmok effects fraternalization, solidarity and cooperation among the participants.
Pinagong: Ode of a Sweet Accident
A sweet bread shaped like a pagong (turtle), sweetened by carabao’s milk and coconut milk;
Considered as the cupcake or cheesecake of Sariaya
Pinagong’s origin is being traced to a certain Eusebio Pisigan of Lucban who accidentally produced the turtle-shaped bread.
A popular pampasalubong by local travellers, in Sariaya, pinagong is ordinarily pangkape (for coffee breaks) and pambisita (for visitors )
The production of pinagong is a male domain.
It is also more associated with the “center”, being predominantly produced and consumed in the Poblacion.
What is unique in the Sariayahin’s pinagong is its consumption which involves dipping into black coffee and allowing its sweetness to approximate the flavor of the creamer.
More important however is the sense of ownership and pride that Sariayahins have manifested in the product, claiming that Sariaya pinagong is better than those produced in other places.
Truly, the greater enthusiasm that the Sariayahins have shown in the production and consumption of the pinagong has given it a Sariayahin character .
Concluding Reflections :
The production and consumption of the three distinct products manifested social structures and power relations – negotiations, inclusion and exclusion .
More predominant however is the manifestation of a strong sense of social solidarity among the Sariayahins.
Thus, food serves as a medium in levelling off social classes in Sariaya.
Moreover, the concepts of kapwa and pagkatao are reflected in these performativities.
The latter revolves around cultural patterns e.g. courtship and marriage, social structure straddling class, gender and power relations, etc.
Being at the heart of the Southern Tagalog region, Sariaya’s food culture bears the mark of a hybrid character.
It is a product of the fusion and eclecticism of the Sariaya culture and that of the western and other neighboring areas’ culture.
Sariayahins are aware of these fact - that these delicacies are of foreign origin, Nilupak being not exclusively Sariaya (or Quezon), pinagong being Lucban in origin and lambanog being associated with the people of nearby Batangas.
Harness the potential of Sariaya cuisine in developing tourismic products, these having developed a distinct Sariayahin character.
Flesh out the meanings and values that are shared by the Sariaya folks in the production and consumption of these products for better appreciation by tourists.