Republic of the Philippines Municipality of Cabatuan, Isabela
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researched by: Troy Alexander Gozum Miano
The Municipality of Cabatuan, Isabela, known as the Land of the Golden Grain, is the home of the unique Kankanen Festival. The annual occasion is a showcase of various native cakes and pastries made from sweet rice (“malagkit” or “dikit” in the local vernacular). The festival aims to increase the cultural heritage of Cabatuan especially in the culinary preparation of native delicacies.
The pioneering ilocanos from Laoag and Bacarra in Ilocos Norte province migrated in 1912 bringing with them their families and livestock. The settlers stayed in the locality in the southern Isabela near the banks of the mighty Magat River where they also brought their culture and tradition, their way of life, arts, clothing and cooking. The locality prospered to be known as Cabatuan, one of the seat of Ilocano heritage in Cagayan Valley. The ingenious Ilocanos is blessed with the talent of cooking more especially the art of making cakes and pastries using rice flour from dikit. The kankanen, the native term for this native delicacy, is usually a prime dish or food served on special occasions such as after-birth rites, birthdays, baptisms, after-burial rites, patronal and town fiestas, thanksgivings, celebration for the arrival of prominent guests or balikbayans and other social and religious icons and symbols as a token of honor and thanksgiving. The preparation and serving of kankanen is a ritual and a symbol of Ilocano culture and tradition.
The idea of having a festival original to Cabatuan was first conceptualized by Isabela Cultural and Historical Council officers Dr. Constante B. Andres and Mr. Troy Alexander G. Miano with the proposal of calling it Moriecos Festival. However, it was Mayor Alma A. Dayrit and the Rural Improvement Club (RIC) officers and members, led by Mrs. Visitacion F. Caridad (Festival chair 2003 & 2004), Mrs. Marcelina C. Laurado (RIC Federation President), Mrs. Ernesta S. Borromeo and the club presidents of the 22 barangays and 2 sitios, who initiated the first ever contest and named it Kankanen Festival. Mayor Dayrit and the RIC visions to promote tourism and to upgrade the fading traditional Ilocano culinary expertise of the young Cabatuanenses with the institutionalization of the festival.
The famous kankanen of Cabatuan are: moriecos, bibingkang kanin, suman, tupig, palitaw, ginataang munggo, ginataang mais, patupat, linapit, baduya, padarusdus, pilaez, busi, dila-dila, pinikkel, inkiwar, dudul (corn base), binallay and pinablad.
During the 54th Foundation Anniversary Celebration, the Kankanen Festival was launched by Mayor Alma A. Dayrit with the fiesta directorship of Isabela Electric Company (ISELCO-I) Director Franklin P. Macugay. There were 19 entries on the ever-first food exhibit on November 4, 2003 at the Cabatuan Social Grounds. Heading the ceremonial ribbon-cutting to the Kankanen Festival Booth was: Department of Tourism (DOT) Regional Director Blesida G. Diwa. The following were awarded winners: Mascot – RIC Sampaloc; Largest – RIC Diamantina; Palatable – RIC Culing West; Unique – RIC Del Pilar; Saleable – RIC Calaocan; Delicious – RIC Culing West; Marketing Booth – RIC Paraiso; Lay-out Kankanen – RIC Nueva Era and special participation award: Cabatuan East District. The Board of Judges were: Director Diwa, Mrs. Luzviminda D. Torres (From main office ISELCO) and Mrs. Rita A. Dulay (Branch Manager Cabatuan ISELCO)
With the objective of continuing the young tradition, Mayor Atanasio T. Dayrit, Jr. spearheaded the 2nd Kankanen Festival on November 5, 2004 during the 55th Foundation Day rites with Sangguniang Bayan Member Cid A. Dayrit as director-general. This time, the RIC focused on the moriecos, the kankanen original to Cabatuan. The top six winners, among the 21 entries were: RIC Canan, RIC Paraiso, RIC Saranay, RIC Macalaoat, RIC Culing Centro, RIC Sitio Malasin and RIC Culing West. The longest moriecos was won by RIC Paraiso. The criteria for judging were as follows: Nutritive Content (30%), Texture and Appearance (20%), Flavor/Palatability (20%), Presentation Relevance to Theme (10%), Cost/Price (10%) and Originality/Ingenuity (10%)
Kankanen Festival is now a part of the Foundation Day rites of Cabatuan and has become the prestige of the RIC and the common Cabatuanenses.
MURIECOS (OTOP – ONE TOWN ONE PRODUCT)
Municipal Resolution No. 2007-73
Sponsored by : SB Marval Crisologo
Co-sponsored by: SB Troy Alexander G. Miano
A resolution identifying “Muriecos” as the official one-town-one-product of the Municipality of Cabatuan, Isabela.
“MURIECOS” is a native delicacy locally produced and manufactured in our humble municipality and is being marketed to different towns, cities, provinces and even abroad. This is manufactured out of locally produced ingredients such as ground malagkit, peanut, coconut milk and sugar and is wrapped with banana leaves. SInce the said product has been conceptualized and manufactured here in our town, it became a trademark of our Municipality and so, we could say that it is through this product that our town will be known throughout the cpuntry and eventually will be known to the whole world.