Who would’ve known that ube could be used in so many dishes and in so many unusual ways? Some of you probably know this and aren’t surprised, but I sure as hell didn’t.
I love ube! A lot! But I’ve only learned to enjoy it in the most common and typical of ways. You can pretty much imagine my pleasant surprise when I discovered the various ways that ube can be prepared and enjoyed when I recently flew to Bohol to attend their Ubi Festival 2016.
Bohol is probably the province I frequented the most last year, totalling to about 5 trips. And during all those visits, never was I told that Ubi (this is how Boholanos say “ube”) was such an important crop in this place. So much so that Bohol celebrates the Ubi Festival annually.
The Ubi Festival is held every year to give importance to the crop that feeds Bohol and other parts of the Philippines. Giving it the value and recognition it deserves is a testament to the tremendous love Boholanos have for ubi.
Though you may be more familiar with the Sandugo Festival that Bohol is greatly known for, the Ubi Festival is an equally joyous and fun-filled occasion wherein Boholanos show their deep gratitude for a bountiful harvest.
I recently discovered during the Ubi Festival that Bohol happens to be one of the top producers of Ubi in the country. This root crop grows best in the island province of Bohol than in any other part of the country. Now there is something you probably didn’t know.
The Ubi Festival is participated by various towns, showcasing the different varieties (yes, there are MANY kinds) of ubi during the celebration.
To Boholanos, ubi is not just merely a simple root crop. It is so precious to them that ubi has become a symbol of Bohol. In fact, legend says that it was ubi that saved many Boholanos from severe famine during the war. The ubi variety called, Kinampay, is endemic in Bohol and is the most sought after due to its unique aroma and color.
A fun and belly-filling Ubi Cookfest at the 16th Ubi Festival in Bohol
For this year’s 16th Ubi Festival, the province held a fun “Ubi Cookfest” at the Bohol Cultural Center.
Various chefs participated, showcasing the skill and creativity as they masterfully whipped up all kinds of sweet and savory dishes using ubi as their main ingredient.
The judges of the Ubi Cookfest: (L-R) Jessica Avila, Nancy Lumen-Reyes and Chef Tatung
Judging the Ubi Cookfest were 3 well-known personalites in the food industry: (L-R) Jessica Avila, Nancy Lumen-Reyes and Chef Tatung.
So, making one’s ubi dish stand out and be noticed was no small matter.
Some of the incredible dishes during the Ubi Cookfest were the following:
Kusina ni Tisay: Grilled Shrimp with Ubi
The Bellevue Resort: Creamy Silky ayan Seafood Soup
South Palms Resort: Sugpo’t Tilapia with Ubi sa Gata
Gipreto Puto Na May Latik
Who would’ve thought that a simple root crop such as ubi would be a source of so much fun and excitement!
Reading about it is not equally as fun as actually being in Bohol, celebrating the Ubi Festival with the warm and very welcoming Boholanos. I suggest that you include Bohol’s uniquely different Ubi Festival to your list of must-visit local destinations in the near future. Book a flight and get ready for some gastronomically fun activities. Enjoy the incredibly beautiful and quiet beaches there as well while you’re at it.
Thank you, Bohol, for another wonderful experience! You never cease to amaze me time and time again.
Likewise, I would like to thank the Bohol Provincial Tourism Council Inc., United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Philippines AirAsia for making this amazing trip possible.
Philippines AirAsia offers 3 daily flights from Manila (NAIA Terminal 4) to Tagbilaran Bohol. Visit www.AirAsia.com to know more about their flights and insanely affordable promos.