Pride of Ilocanos–Giant Rice Cake, Dinengdeng
towns of Tagudin in Ilocos Sur and Agoo in La Union made Ilocanos proud as
they cooked up two things closest to their heart.
BY ACE ALEGRE
Tagudin, Ilocos Sur and
visitors partake of the giant inkiwar, May 1
PHOTO BY ACE ALEGRE
A sticky rice cake the size of a small swimming pool and a vegetable dish
cooked 1,001 ways. Ilocanos may not be known as the world's best
chefs but on May 1, they made their own claim to fame, with a giant
inkiwar (rice cake) and dinengdeng (vegetable stew) cooked in
more ways than you can taste.
In Tagudin town, Ilocos Sur province, Tagudinians struggled to make it to
the Guinness Book of World Records with a 10-meter in diameter inkiwar.
Tagudin Mayor Roque Verzosa said 200 persons helped make the giant rice
cake using 250
gantas (roughly 560 kilos) of malagkit (glutinous rice), 1,000
pieces of coconut, and 125 gantas (roughly 280 kilos) of molasses
(sugar cane juice).
Verzosa said it took them a week to prepare the giant fete, in
time for fiesta day when thousands of Tagudinians come home from
join the revelries.
is an Ilocano word meaning “to stir.” And stir the cooks did for days,
patiently and continuously, on 20 giant silyasi (vat). They didn’t
cook with blue flames, but the Ilocano way – flames from dried bamboo over
giant makeshift ovens dug in the ground.
The rice cake was
placed on a gigantic bilao (flat basket of woven bamboo strips)
that took three weeks to make.
The giant inkiwar
was displayed at the town plaza where some 3,000 villagers from the 43
barangays of Tagudin and other visitors eagerly lined up for a piece.
Festival chairperson Antonina Ocania said they had better preparations for
the giant inkiwar festival this year than last year. She beamed to
reporters while she sliced and gave out chunks of the sticky cake.
Ocania said they spent P185,00 for the inkiwar, almost double the
P100,000 they spent in 2005.
Verzosa said Tagudinians
have become better at making the giant rice cake, observing the standards
in sanitation in food preparation.
is a popular Ilocano vegetable dish, consisting of locally-grown legumes
and sprouts. It is mainly flavored with bagoong isda (fermented
fish paste), and grilled fish.
The fishing and farming town of Agoo in La Union showed how it can cook a
favorite Ilocano dish in more ways than 1,000.
On May 1, thousands
gathered at the newly-renovated Imelda Park at the town center for the 2nd
Agoo "chefs" dressed in native Iluko pandiling and patadyong
(blouse and skirt weave) paraded their 1001 fares made of different
vegetable ingredients: dinengdeng kalabasa (pumpkin),
dinengdeng patani (lima bean), dinengdeng kardis, dinengdeng
talong (eggplant), and dinengdeng okra.
“There is nothing
like dinengdeng, and nothing like Agoo dinengdeng,” said
Agoo Mayor Eufranio Eriguel as he led La Union Governor Victor Ortega
around the 1001 dishes for a taste test. The governor could only nod in
approval as he chewed a mouthful of dinengdeng sabong kalabasa
The people of Agoo promised to hold another Dinengdeng Festival next year,
as the Tagudinians vowed to make the giant cake again, to honor St.
Agustine, their patron saint. Bulatlat
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