Cordillera “Mangan Taku” food fest features ‘watwat’ in Baguio City
BAGUIO CITY – The Department of Tourism-Cordillera in partnership with the city government celebrates the 3rd year of the “Mangan Taku” Cordillera Food Festival featuring ‘Watwat’, a traditional way of cooking meat which is considered as part of the Cordilleran custom that is prepared for any occasion.
Watwat are chunks of pork boiled in a large pot minus the spices and given to guests as the hosts’ traditional way of appreciating the individual who joined the festive or family occasion.
Jovi Ganongan, regional director of the Department of Tourism-Cordillera, said that Mayor Benjamin Magalong has issued Executive order No. 46, series of 2022 declaring April 27 to 30 as the Mangan Taku 2022 celebration to be held at Wright Park Reflection Pool, in front of The Mansion, Baguio City.
The Mangan Taku, a general term in the Cordillera which means ‘let us eat,’ was institutionalized in September 23, 2019 as per City Ordinance No. 81 declaring every Second day of April as part of the Summer Vacation activities in the Summer Capital wherein the Cordilleran cuisine is featured.
Ganongan said the four-day festival will feature cuisines and heirloom dishes from the provinces of Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province, including the preparation techniques by respective accomplished chefs from the said provinces.
Ganongan added that during the event, food lovers can get a taste of the different cuisines in the Cordillera ranging from viands, snacks, desserts, drinks, and appetizers from 20 exhibitors, mostly from all the provinces of the region.
“The Mangan Taku Food Festival aims to put Cordilleran cuisine into the spotlight in order to boost culinary tourism in the Cordillera Region which has evolved as a vital component of tourism, and in the overall tourism experience of local and foreign visitors,” the ordinance reads.
The festival was first held on April 14, 2019 at Rose Garden and second at SM Baguio Atrium in 2021. Both occasions were initiated by the department in partnership with the Tourism Promotions Board and supported by the Department of Agriculture pursuant to Proclamation No. 469 in 2018 declaring the month of April as the “Buwan ng Kalutong Pilipino” or Filipino Food Month.
That proclamation was meant to promote the appreciation, preservation and promotion of Philippine culinary traditions and treasures, ensuring the transfer of knowledge to future generations and to support the various industries, farmers, and agricultural communities.
According to Ganongan, ‘watwat’ is a traditional food in Cordillera which is prepared for any occasion or festival.
“We know that on an occasion you attend, you will be given a piece of pork when you come home, which is a traditional custom in the Cordillera,” said Ganongan.
Meanwhile, Mayor Alfredo Chao-ig of Pasil, Kalinga said they will represent the Kalinga province in this year’s Mangan Taku Festival to feature ‘Inanchilla’ and Slow Food dishes, a famous local delicacy which was previously chosen by Arl of Taste of Slow Food International for presentation in Italy.
He said the ‘inanchila’ is an indigenous Kalinga snack while ‘Slow Food’ dishes or delicacies that will be cooked from locally grown crops without using food chemicals or commercially produced ingredients will be displayed in the municipality’s booth.
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