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Mangan Taku: A Cordillera FEASTival in the Making

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Mangan Taku is actually a Cordillera food fair, hence the name. An annual event spearheaded by the Department of Tourism (DOT) – The Cordilleras. However, with the staging of this year’s version, the ‘Hybrid Edition”, they certainly outdid themselves. Accordingly, proving to be “hybrids” themselves with their ideas outwardly fused with the concept of innovation, DOT – The Cordilleras managed to showcase quite a number of welcome changes we are to rather expect from what the Cordilleras have to offer. More so, amidst this whole covid scare wherein one of the industries extremely hard-hit during this pandemic is tourism, DOT has put up an impressive avenue to somehow ease the region’s quandary from which we’re all affected by it in ways we’re resilient and ingenious enough to adjust to. Acquiescent and flexible to fusions, collaborations and adaptations, Cordillera is “hybrid” that way. Similarly, that Cordillera flavor is as versatile.

Terrarium by Bistro Lokal’s Chef Miko Dy is some means an innovative way to rekindle childhood memories back when we were having fun while getting soiled…

While we eat everyday as much as Mangan Taku could be anything as regular as three square meals, it dished out fresh ingredients for an undertaking. It’s also for a holistic intake of understanding for the Cordilleras’ flavorful essence and favorable identity. Mangan Taku is emanating an appetizing aroma while simmering into tenderness on its way to being the “it” thing. Better yet, make that the “eat thing”, a regional food fair marinated with a delightful mixture to spice up the conundrum as to Cordillera’s palatable recognition. Seemingly, Mangan Taku opened a pot of smoking goodness pervading into wider consciousness to feed that enigma with answers as to that of Cordillera’s inherent fare served in good taste.

Mangan Taku

Serving that ‘wow factor’, Mangan Taku likewise spooned out possibilities and plated up potentials out of food and tourism industry personalities and resources. Much like intermingling ingredients, food and tourism as one is an integrating appetizer that of which whets both tourists and locals’ zest for culinary integrity.

Apparently, Mangan Taku ladled out on a grazing table for everyone’s partaking an opportunity to showcase a particular sustenance-defining moment for Cordillera’s food scene and uncharted regional cookery. It’ll certainly pull off tourism and economic boost, yet more than anything, Mangan Taku created a framework and plated a fair share err make that “fare share” of the Cordilleras’ cooking ingenuity and richness in flavor amidst the then lucidity of its traditional cuisine.

Back then, we may not have leveled up to the national prominence of other regional dishes as familiar as it could be listed on restaurants’ menus, as much as in anyone’s bucket list perhaps. There are those from the originators: Ilocos Norte’s pinakbet, Ilocos empanada, Pampanga’s kare-kare or sisig, Bicol’s laing or Bicol express, Batangas’ lomi or even bulalo, Cebu Lechon, Bacolod’s chicken inasal, etc. Much like other places, we could only come up with variations of these dishes. However now, through DOT – The Cordilleras’ Mangan Taku, we seemed to have lived up to our historical identity with the fusion of flavors and applications much like the foreign influences that shaped our persona. Mangan Taku’s recognition of such potential, in acknowledgment of our local fare’s variability as an omnipresent ingredient, challenged up-and-coming chefs (through a competition) to cook up an original dish using indigenous delicacies fused with an avant-garde approach for some Cordillera-defining character worthy of cultural diversity and tradition, yet tending still to the Cordilleras’ stronghold of ethnicity while embracing societal flexibility.

Cordillera-weather perfect treat! This Cordilleran Ramen by Chef Cee Jay of Papa Usok and Chef Jomar of Eat’s Johnny could also depict our liberation from the Japanese invasion yet acknowledging the influence “broth” about by modernity

The Chefs Fair segment of the event at the SM Baguio Mall’s Atrium for a venue provided a considerable yet brief public exposure as to what Cordillera could possibly taste like. However, there’s more to the Cordilleras than meets the eye. We have to have our palates sense that as well, much like the manifestation of love through someone’s heart being through the stomach as they say. We could express that feeling through our passionately-prepared food. And we could utterly convey those three words, “I love you”, in an evocatively tender inflection, “Mangan Taku.”.

The Mansion as a picturesque backdrop for this live streaming was Mangan Taku team’s creative genius to highlight tourism corresponding with an intake of a nourishing truth about Cordillera’s gastronomic scenery… (photo grabbed from Fiona of Pilipinas Popcorn)

Having tried some of the winning dishes, I could probably say that I take pride in my somewhat “anywhere-between-archetypical-to-cultured” taste as much as it corresponds with the pride for these types of food to hopefully make it as a potential Cordilleras’ regional culinary heirloom of some sort that we could pass on… as much as find its way to a “far-beyond-regional” craving among Pinoys all over and foreign tourists alike. It could as well be an experience that consummates one’s visit when they happen to find themselves in the Cordilleras. It’s likewise noteworthy that these imaginative ways of executing culinary arts even complements Baguio’s creative quintessence.

Another artisanal treat “brewed and distilled through the creative spirit” of local distiller and brew master Jackson So

Somehow, Mangan Taku seems to be like a craving that needs to be fully satisfied. While it’s an annual event along its emerging stages still, it has shown so much potential to be a better and bigger event. Perhaps, like Panagbenga’s “Session Road in Bloom”, Baguio’s most popular thoroughfare could be an ideal spot for staging a more “thorough” ‘A “Fare” to Remember’ kind of EATsperience as part of Mangan Taku’s various segments… and/or:

  • Competitions could as well be extended among budding film makers/vloggers for a documentary-like clip/series with emphasis on “eat” in fEATure. A “feature perfect” story worthy to be featured on Netflix perhaps.
  • For a realistic local touch which could likely whip up wider and more active “consumer” engagement, a “new normal home cooking” competition could be another one; whereas, blind-judging could be applied.
  • Considering the tourism aspect which could essentially cater to (well) tourists, “Virtual Victual” as some teaser, marketing-wise, could also be a kind of online contest…
  • “Spirit Quencher” for a shot at wine/beer tasting as some sophisticated means to showcase locally distilled/brewed drinks/beverages to further highlight the likes of Witch Craft Brewery and Distillery…

Oops, Alright (I’m being “OA”), my excitement’s putting my 2-cents over the budget but you get the point; it’s that good. Mangan Taku is that good. It’s that “FEASTive” ~ to be shared among a bigger market and a hungrier “socially and physically distanced” townsfolk. Mangan Taku is a welcome and nurturing call to nourish our senses and probably our cultural heritage.

I believe, what I was actually explaining here is that “Taste is in the tongue of the consumer” and as it’s dependent on one’s palate, what’s not good for some may be good for the others…

Nonetheless, DOT – The Cordilleras could most likely be conceptualizing on next year’s “yummier version” so “eats all good”. Can’t wait… Oh well, I’m craving for Cordilleran Ramen, kain tayo… I mean, Mangan Taku!

Media Hippo and Pilipinas Popcorn represent! 📸: Chino Chow

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1 thought on “Mangan Taku: A Cordillera FEASTival in the Making”

  1. Pingback: Bistro Lokal Serves Dirt! Ano Trip N’yo?! – EatsOA

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