Eleven panelists with nine books, coming from different regions and backgrounds, and resonating a thousand ideas – this is The Power of Pen unleashed last May 20, 2017, in a roomful of culinary professionals, food writers and researchers, academes, and culinary enthusiasts. The Power of Pen 7: Regional Convergence commenced at the MK Tan Hall, Bayanihan Center, Pasig City, attended by a number of passionate individuals in support of fostering the regional cuisines in our country.
“For the longest time, we have been focused too much on learning what is not ours,”, Ms. Myrna Segismundopointed out about the over sensationalism that is given to the trends being fused with foreign cuisines. “It’s wonderful to have a forum like this, where we focus entirely on all things Filipino,” she added.
The Power of Pen 7: Regional Food Convergence rekindled an old flame, that is, our interest and love for what we have long taken for granted – the provincial Filipino cuisine, an expression of our culture and history marked with our identity as a nation understanding of our differences and commonalities as a people. It was an avenue to unravel the treasures in our culinary atlas – what ingredients were able in North and South, what food was served in the East and West, and how all of this plays in navigating our practices in food preparation – its encompassing socio-cultural symbolisms, and its implications in our foodways today.
The Power of Pen 7: Regional Food Convergence also featured farm to table video presentations through the assistance of the Agriculture and Fisheries Information Division (AFID), under the Department of Agriculture spearheaded by Secretary Emmanuel Piñol.
Among our roster of speakers are culinary luminaries such as Ms. Amy Besa (author of Memories of Philippine Kitchen), Mr. EdgiePolistico (author of Philippine Food, Cooking, and Dining Dictionary), Ms. Corazon Alvina (author of Batanes: A Delicate Balance – Food, Ecology, and Community), and Ms. Maria Remedios “Pixie” Sevilla (on Kasaysayan ng Kaluto ng Bayan by Milagros Enriquez) for the morning session. Our afternoon session was preceded in insightful talks by Dr. Macario Tiu (author of Davao Cuisine: Recipes of The Ten Tribes of Davao City), Chef DatuShariffPendatun III (on The Cuisine of Muslim Mindanao) Chef Myke Tatung Sarthou (author of Philippine Cookery: From Heart to Platter), Chef Claude Tayag (author of Linamnam: Eating One’s Way Around The Philippines, and Food Tour: A Culinary Journal), and Chef Xavier Btesh (author of French Kusina).
Ms. Margaux Salcedo, a columnist, and the moderator for The Power of Pen 7, pointed out the notion of having a National Cuisine. From her column published in Philippine Daily Inquirer business section, she reiterated the points that of Ms. Cora Alvina and Ms. Amy Besa, that we should not force the issue of having a national cuisine and that we are defined by the distinct flavors of each province. To this effect, we can only celebrate our similarities and differences by blurring the political implications of calling it a “national” or even “regional” cuisine, and by stirring insightful discussions on how we can preserve our colorful culinary heritage.
“Are we finally on the map?,” asks Ms. Myrna Segismundo. “We’ve always been there, we just never said anything.”
The Power of Pen: Regional Convergence is a successful intellectual venture and insightful exchange among the authors and our participants, but we extend this convergence to you as we all play roles in fostering our regional cuisines and preserving our culinary heritage to strengthen our history and culture.
The Power of Pen continues to ravel on its 7th installment and will conquer broader horizons through provincial tours in Cagayan De Oro (CDO), Davao, Pampanga, and Baguio City to hold more symposiums, forums, and conferences about Food Writing. Furthermore, The Power of Pen will also launch multifaceted areas of interest and discussions such as PR Writing, Writing for Tourism and Promotions, Cultural and Historical Journalism, and Writing Regional Literatures.
Our Facebook page, THE POWER OF PEN – Food Writing Philippines (www.facebook.com/thepowerofphenphilippines), is dedicated to a community of food writers and culinary practitioners to be a platform where we can exchange thoughts and course through announcements on upcoming symposiums, conferences, and other events. Join the group to be updated with our projects. Consequently, you may also check our website at www.strameventsinc.com for more information.
May we all be on in appreciating the Philippine archipelago of flavors from North to South, and East to West!