It was such a delightful experience for me last November 22, 2021 when I became one of the judges during a cooking contest especially because it was held in a beautiful place called Buluan Maguindanao. The first time I have ever been to and which made me happy that I came to visit it and saw the beauty of the Municipality of Buluan.
And the best part of the contest was, I got to taste every dish they made. It was not just an ordinary or common menu that I knew. It is what the province is proud to have since it will highlight palatable flavors of the province. The participants used native chicken and local products aboundant in the place.
We were invited to take part in this special event, “Bagiluto 2021”. Bagiluto means, “cooking” and from there, we were all excited to watch how the participants prepared their freshest ingredients. We each have our own questions while they kept going. I was somewhat inspired on why they chose to cook it. They were all so into it that I have l already guessed that their dishes will taste good.
I know how to cook but having passion for it is not the same thing. I learned how to cook for my family and maybe somehow being a food blogger is a plus for me because I have opportunities to taste the different food that represents any place that each has been known for.
I love native chicken and I am always happy when I get to visit our relatives in Davao Oriental because they cooked it deliciously. Aside from being the healthiest food, it is so tasty and fresh to eat. I only knew two types of menu: native chicken adobo and native chicken soup. But when I was invited to this cooking contest, I was amazed by how many kinds of menu they made out of the native chicken.
During the contest, participants were expected to cook two dishes: a main dish and a dessert. This was open to all regular and municipal employees of the province of Maguindanao. They were only given two hours to finish everything.
As judges, we were allowed to roam around and interact with them. We asked questions and they answered us politely despite the pressure going on. I personally enjoyed interviewing them and felt that they really knew what they were doing. Thus, they came prepared for this contest.
The whole area smelled good after few minutes and we were really apt for the challenge on who we’ll choose to win. The criteria for judging was based on the main ingredients, overall taste, preparations and the presentation.
When time was up , we were all seated in a long table to wait for their presentation. They prepared separate plates for the judges to taste. I felt both anxious and excited because I am not only curious about it but I would also love to learn how they cooked it. Each team were called one by one and they approached us holding those mouthwatering food right infront of us. I found it appealing to our eyes because aside from their creative presentation, they used attractive plates bringing out the bright colors of the food. Personally, it was difficult to choose the winning team because they all gave their efforts. Honestly, we ate almost everything on the plate because it was served hot and delicious. But it was a contest so we have to choose fairly based on the criteria. There were three other judges besides me and they were also keen to cooking and are good in identifying which food has the best taste: Jojie Alcantara (my sister), Chiqui Aportadera and Francis Isko.
Overall, the contest was successful and everyone warmly welcomed us. We were grateful to Leebai Sinsuat Ambolodto (SAO-PACCO) Provincial Accountant’s Office – Supervising Administrative Officer, our good friend who invited us and the one who made this project event happened. Kudos to her and the staff who were there to assist us and warmly welcomed us when we arrived. I enjoyed the experience and learned a lot from those participants who were kind enough to share their expertise of the food they cooked
Congratulations to the following winners:
1.) Municipality of Gen. Salipada K. Pendatun ( Champion)
2,) Provincial Government of Maguindanao ( 1st Runner up)
3,) Municipality of Datu Saudi Ampatuan ( 2nd Runner up)
This is just one of the events that goes to show that the Province of Maguindanao has become a food hub for local flavors with big taste.
(from left to right): Leebai Sinsuat Ambolodto, me, Jojie Alcantara, Chiqui Aportadera and Francis Isko.