The art of Ilonggo cuisine

Published October 16, 2021, 5:30 AM

by Tara Yap

THE FLAVORS OF ILOILO At the Oct. 8 opening of ‘Timplada: The Art of Ilonggo Cuisine’ at the Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art (ILOMOCA) were (from right) Ambassador Norman Garibay, Janine Cabato of Megaworld Museums, Jennifer Palmares-Fong of Megaworld Visayas, MICE Center Iloilod director Salvador Sarabia Jr., and  Karmela Jesena, general manager of Festive Walk Mall Iloilo

Iloilo is synonymous with La Paz batchoy and the pancit Molo. But of course, there’s more to Ilonggo cuisine than these two-soup based dishes.

As Iloilo is trying to bolster its role in Philippine culinary arts, the Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art (ILOMOCA) has recently launched “Timplada: The Art of Ilonggo Cuisine.”

Janine Cabato, head of Megaworld Museums, explains that “Timplada” is an onsite and virtual art exhibition, a series of talks, and the launching of the Iloilo food map that will run until the end of the year.

“Ilonggos are innate food lovers with a strong sense of practicality and resourcefulness. Even with the abundance of produce in the region, the origins of their well-known regional dishes are traced to the food sources in their backyards,” says Janine, who’s also the curator.

The word timplada literally means the distinct flavor of a particular dish. In that sense, “Timplada” blends art, community, and culture that gives importance to regional cuisine—the Ilonggo cuisine.

The three-part art and cultural activities are in partnership with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Department of Tourism (DOT), the Iloilo City Government, the M.I.C.E. Center of Iloilo City, and Megaworld Foundation Inc.

“Timplada” is also timely as Iloilo City is vying for the Creative City of Gastronomy title from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The works of art

Artworks consists mostly of paintings by selected Ilonggo artists. There’s batchoy by Alex Ordoyo, pancit Molo by Jecko Magallon, chicken inasal by Kristoffer Brasileño, the KBL by Noel Epalan Jr., the laswa by Marge Chavez, the tambo by Margaux Blas, and binatwan by Marrz Capanang.

‘Ilonggos are innate food lovers with a strong sense of practicality and resourcefulness. Even with the abundance of produce in the region, the origins of their well-known regional dishes are traced to the food sources in their backyards’

Professor Ma. Rosalie “Rosa” Zerrudo’s textile work highlights Hiligaynon words for names and taste of local fish-based dishes. It is in collaboration with women prisoners, who have become artists and weavers in their own rights.

Jeanroll Ejar has a carved-wood work of ibos while Eric Barbosa Jr.’s video art installation is about the baye-baye.

Culinary talks

Prior to the Oct. 8 opening of the exhibit at ILOMOCA, “Timplada” has featured a series of talks streamed online by renowned scholars, writers, and tourism industry players.

Late in September, John Silva discussed the legacy of food historian Doreen Fernandez and the Ilonggo cuisine.

On Oct. 2, Professor Marie Joy Rosal Sumagaysay of University of the Philippines Visayas (UP V) tackled getting the new generation to embrace Iloilo’s heritage cuisine.

On Oct. 16, Iloilo provincial tourism officer Gilbert “Bombette” Marin tackled the sweet snacks or native desserts found all over Iloilo.

There will also be talks on drawing Ilonggo desserts by Leah Navarro, food in Filipino poetry by Jason Tabinas of the National Book Development Board, and preserving local food sources by

Reena Gamboa of Slow Food-Negros Occidental.

The animated story of Gabby Ghas will also be presented by Tahanan Books.

The on-site exhibition of “Timplada” is at the Hulot Gallery of ILOMOCA. Due to restrictions, the exhibition is only open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Check ILOMOCA’s Facebook page facebook.com/ILOMOCA to book for appointment or e-mail [email protected].

ILOMOCA is located at Casa de Emperador, Iloilo Business Park, Mandurriao district, Iloilo City.

 
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