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Historic Dishes Shine at Bulacan Arts & Culture Festival

CITY OF BALIWAG, Bulacan – The rich culinary heritage of Bulacan took the spotlight during the Sining Kalinangan ng Bulacan (Singkaban) Festival’s “Kalutong Bulakenyo” event at SM City Baliwag. Historic dishes, passed down through generations, were the highlight of this year’s culinary show.

The event saw “Hamon Bulakenya” and “pinaso”, traditional Bulacan dishes that have been prepared and revered by food historians, being showcased. Chef Niko Santiago, the nephew of the late Bulacan food and heritage icon Rheeza Santiago Hernandez, shared his expertise in crafting these dishes. Rheeza was the niece of the renowned food historian Mila Santiago Enriquez.

Hamon Bulakenya: A Dish with Historical Significance

This special dish, commonly prepared for Christmas meals, gained significance as a “victory dish” served to Filipino revolutionaries after they clinched a victory in Bulakan town during the Filipino-American war. Over the years, it became a sought-after delicacy during special occasions in the Bulacan region.

Chef Santiago, who works at Bistro Malolenyo, shared the traditional recipe with hospitality and culinary students present at the event. Emphasizing its cultural and historical significance, he said, “I hope that you enjoyed learning the preparations and how to cook our very own Hamon Bulakenyo. This is our province’s specialty passed through generations.”

The Singkaban Festival:

The Singkaban festival, currently in its 26th year, is celebrated from Sept. 8 to Sept. 15, as an initiative by the provincial government. As part of this year’s festivities, art exhibits and workshops were held in the SM malls of Marilao, Pulilan, and Baliwag.

In Marilao, the ReGeneration Travelling Art Exhibit, featuring the works of 25 Bulakenyo artists, was showcased, addressing themes of resilience, hope, and growth. Pulilan celebrated the art of “pagpupuni” or leaf fronds folding. This ancient art was reintroduced to the younger generation, emphasizing its significance in Bulacan’s history.

Meanwhile, in SM City Baliwag, students from Baliwag South Central School engaged in a “Design Your Buntal Hat” activity, where they crafted hats from woven “buli” leaves under the supervision of the renowned team from Guhit Pinas-Bulacan.

The festival underscores the importance of preserving and celebrating the rich cultural heritage of Bulacan, emphasizing the province’s culinary, artistic, and historical significance.

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