By Mike Baños
The Municipality of Naawan, Misamis Oriental recently took a step forward to improve its tourism potentials with a competition designed to develop a pasalubong item carrying the town’s brand.
The Naawan Pasalubong Delicacy Contest, a project of LGU Naawan in cooperation with Monster Kitchen, Province of Misamis Oriental, Department of Tourism Region 10, and Congressman Bambi Emano challenged participants to concoct a pasalubong delicacy highlighting the use of coconut and cacao/tablea as a component, ingredients which are indigenous to Naawan.
The October 3 first round of the competition held October 3 was at the Training Center, Provincial Capitol, Cagayan de Oro City with an esteemed panel of judges including Chef Catherine Dano (CEO Thai Me Up), Chef Ramon Cardenas (CEO, Desserts by Mon Cardenas) and Chef Nova Lumactod (Kitchen Operations Pro).
The top five competitors who emerged from the first round were Andrew Quiñones (Naawan); Khevin Faith P. Cabactulan (Calaanan, CDO); Nash Ong (Carmen, CDO); Gabriel C. Gonzaga (Macabalan, CDO); Loui Rejay D. Derecho (Tagoloan, Misor).
The top five proceeded to the second and final round held at the Monster Kitchen Cogon Market Branch in Cagayan de Oro City with the following Panel of Judges: Chef Catherine Dano (CEO Thai Me Up); Atty. Jeffrey C. Saclot (Misamis Oriental Tourism Officer); Chef Albert Chiu (All Seasons Kitchen Expert); Chef Ramon Cardenas (CEO of Desserts by Mon Cardenas) and Decius Esmedalla (OIC-Chief Tourism Operations Officer, DOT-10).
As a follow-up activity to the competition, a Product Development Training with Chef Albert Chiu for the five Naawan Pasalubong Delicacy Contest Winners was held at the same venue on October 24.
Nash Ong emerged as the Grand Prize winner with his Hinukay Pilit Balls made from glutinous rice filled with coconut jam, cacao, and desiccated coconut formed into balls.
2nd Prize went to Loui Rejay Duran Derecho’s Tabnut Sweet Basket made tableya and coconut. 3rd Prize Winner was Gabriel Gonzaga for his Linukot, a soft kakanin stuffed with tableya and caramelized bukayo.
Andrew Quiñones won 4th Prize with his Buko De Cacao Tart(Naawan Hugs) while Khevin Faith Cabactulan won 5th Prize for his Pandecocao, a modernized and enhanced pandesal with tableya and coconut milk.
The competition awarded P50,000 as First Prize; P20,000 Second Prize,P10,000 for Third Prize, and P5,000 for consolation prizes. All winners will likewise be featured in the Naawan Pasalubong Center as the town’s pasalubong food items.
“I’m glad to have been a part of the Naawan Pasalubong Delicacy Contest. This laudable initiative of LGU-Naawan complements the food product development focus of the Provincial Tourism Office, as encouraged and promoted in our annual Food Exhibit during our provincewide celebration of the National Tourism Week,” said Atty. Saclot.
“Our target for next year is to come up with a similar activity so that more discoveries will be done relating to uniquely made food items which are potential as pasalubong”, he added.