Bulacan cuisine is more than just a collection of recipes; it is a representation of the province’s rich history, traditions, and way of life. From humblest family meals, grand banquets to community festivals, the flavors and ingredients used in the cuisine as well as the traditions and accoutrements that accompany with it reflect the province’s diverse influences, unique identity, and rich cultural heritage.
This year, in the age of globalization, the celebration of Filipino Food Month in the province takes a deeper look at the culinary scene as it highlights the iconic dishes and best culinary offerings through the “Delectable Flavors of Bulacan”.
The “Delectable Flavors of Bulacan” is a campaign of the Provincial Government of Bulacan through the Provincial History, Arts, Culture and Tourism Office (PHACTO) in partnership with the Department of Tourism, Municipal Office of Marilao, Richwell Colleges, Incorporated and SM City Marilao. Anchored on the Presidential Decree 469 signed in 2018, the campaign aims to preserve, enrich, and promote while ensuring the transmission of the vast Filipino culinary traditions and treasures to the future generation. It is also poised to support various local food industries, small scale producers, and agriculture sector of the province.
PHACTO Head Dr. Eliseo Dela Cruz said activities held in SM City Marilao are the concluding events of the campaign. Capping the celebration at the mall was the launching of “Kalutong Bulakenyo: A Guide to Culinary Heritage of Bulacan” book, which takes readers on a gastronomic journey through the province’s unique tradition and food preparation practices. The book contains heirloom recipes and traditional Bulacan dishes that have been passed from generation to generation. Apart from being a treasure trove of culinary knowledge, the book also features the stories behind each dish and its cultural significance to the people of Bulacan.
As part of the celebration, the Provincial History, Arts, Culture and Tourism Office (PHACTO) also recognized the people who have contributed to the preservation and promotion of Bulacan’s culinary heritage through the Gawad Haligi ng Kalutong Bulakenyo Award. Recipients of the recognition were awarded for their outstanding contribution to the province’s culinary scene, serving as guardians in preserving dishes and recipes that have been part of the province’s identity for years and centuries. Among the award recipients were Bulacan Food Historian Milagros Enriquez and her niece Rheeza Hernandez, who popularized heirloom recipes like Hamon Bulakenya and Gurgurya as well as vanishing folk art of puni.
A feast for the senses, guests and participants were delighted as they savor and indulged in the Giant Kakanin treats that were given freely during the event. Created by local Marilao delicacy makers, the giant treat serves as a kick off ceremony to Marilao’s Kakanin Festival. The giant kakanin measures 3 meters by 3 meters and yielded 2,000 servings for guests to enjoy.
With food at its center, Delectable Flavors of Bulacan also featured cooking demonstrations. Guests and visitors had a rare glimpse of the techniques and ingredients used in some of Bulacan’s iconic dishes.
“We are proud to be one of the partners of PHACTO’s Delectable Flavors of Bulacan” says SM Assistant Vice President for Mall Operations Ana T. Datu. In her welcome remarks, she emphasized the significance of the celebration in preserving and promoting Filipino food culture, particularly among the youth, in the midst of increasing popularity of international cuisine and globalization.
Gracing the event are Bulacan Governor Daniel Fernando, Bulacan Vice Governor Alex Castro, Department of Tourism Regional Director for Region III Dr. Richard Daenos, Marilao Mayor Henry Lutao, Marilao Vice Mayor Jun “Bob” Dela Cruz, Provincial Tourism Head Dr. Eliseo Dela Cruz and Provincial Administrator Antonette Constantino. Sharing honors are SM Assistant Vice President for Mall Operations Ana Datu, SM City Marilao Assistant Mall Manager Engr. Janette Aguilera and Marilao Tourism Officer Ricardo Manalo.