In Cagayan De Oro, This Food Festival Revels in Regional And International Cuisines!
Choose Philippines | Aug 20, 2019
Article and photos by Rod Bolivar
Now on its 23rd year, Kumbira has earned the reputation of being the longest-running culinary showdown in the country as well as the biggest food festival in Mindanao. Kumbira, which means “feast” in Cebuano dialect, showcases the authentic cuisines of the country and the local flavors of Mindanao. The Department of Tourism considers the food of Mindanao as distinctive because of the fusion of Lumad, Christian, and Muslim flavors. "Mindanao is very unique because we have different cultures. We have the Muslims, the Lumads, and the Christians living together in unity,” said DOT Assistant Secretary Myra Paz Abubakar.
This year, the spotlight was on Cagayan de Oro’s famous ham, where different recipes of the well-loved Christmas dish were displayed in various mouth-watering platings. Another theme for this year’s Kumbira was the introduction of Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia cuisines to Filipino taste buds, in commemoration of the silver anniversary of the East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA). On display at the event were multi-tiered cakes decorated with designs reflecting the four Southeast Asian countries such as the Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque of Brunei and the Sarimanok of the Maranaos.
DOT believes that food promotes not only tourism but also solidarity among neighboring countries. “Food is universal. Everybody has to eat. Our different provinces, our different countries: we have our specialties. Culinary tourism is one of our main programs because a lot of people come together for food," said DOT-10 regional director Marie Elaine Unchuan. “People love to eat. I believe that food can really bring people together. We have a lot of similarities, when it comes to our food, with Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei,” added Abubakar.
Other highlights of Kumbira 2019 included culinary showdowns of professional and amateur chefs, a series of lectures and demonstration by culinary experts, a bartending and flairtending competition, and an exhibition of food-related technology to upgrade the food industry of the country.