The first Kinilaw Festival highlighted the ingenuity of the people of Toboso in preparing fresh seafood, meat, and vegetables to be eaten raw.
To enliven the spirit of Toboseños after having suffered from the economic impact of the pandemic, Toboso mayor Richard Jaojoco designed and staged a festival that showcase the skills of his constituents in preparing “kinilaw”. Kinilaw, which literally means “eaten raw” is a food preparation method native to the Philippines like the Latin American dish ceviche.
Just as the incoming tourism secretary Christina Frasco announced her target to scale food tourism in the country, Toboso, Province of Negros Occidental already responded to the call by holding the first ever Kinilaw Festival last June 11, Saturday. The event coincides with the Feast of St. Anthony de Padua, the patron saint to the town, which falls on June 13.
More than thirty residents competed in three categories, namely seafood, meat, and vegetable kinilaw, which was judged based on freshness of ingredients, preparation, taste, and presentation. The judges where Vicente “Enting” Lobaton, owner of Enting’s of Sagay as chief judge, Chef Sammy Nuarbe, and lawyer Jocelle Batapa-Sigue.
Batapa-Sigue congratulated all the participants, and in her social media post, said the kinilaw dishes that were prepared taste as good or even better than what hotels and restaurant serve, since the ingredients are fresh.
The winners were Methosila Quiliquite for seafood, Fely Bascar for vegetables, and Fedila Delima for meat. Bascar’s banana blossom or “puso” kinilaw was named as best kinilaw.
Organizers citing how the pandemic has affected the daily lives of their citizens, believe that Toboso residents deserve a chance to rise and be happy again. This year’s festivity is not only a celebration but also a form of prayer and thanksgiving for having remained safe and healthy amid COVID-19.
The Kinilaw Festival aims to showcase the trademark that Toboso have and that they wanted to give Toboseños a good reason to be prouder of themselves by presenting to the world that they can make good food that they can call their own. Since Toboso is both agricultural and coastal type of municipality, the town has many products that can be used to make delicious kinilaw.
The festival, which is Jaococo’s brainchild aims to inspire residents to say “dali na mangilaw ta sa Toboso” (let’s go and enjoy kinilaw in Toboso). Outgoing mayor Jaococo, who will be succeeded by his wife, mayor elect Madonnah Marañon-Jaojoco, wish to see the festival become a bigger event in the coming years.
Pictures courtesy of Toboso LGU