Cooking with buffalo’s milk highlights the 5th Semana Kang Mangunguma

The Philippine Carabao Center at WVSU (PCC at WVSU) held its first ever Cara Cooking Show and Cara-ugnayan with Farmers at Calinog Plaza in Calinog, Iloilo last March 3. The event is related to the center’s participation in the 5th Semana Kang Mangunguma, an annual tribute to LGU Calinog’s farmers.

The theme of this year’s Semana Kang Mangunguma, “Mangunguma naghugpong sa pagbangon, panguma pasanyugon, palibot tatapon kag ekonomiya pasanyugon,” emphasizes the farmers’ unity in the face of economic recovery and growth. The PCC at WVSU complements the theme with its slogan “Ang may karbaw, labaw!” demonstrating the concept that carapreneurship is an emerging livelihood with the potential to improve farmers’ lives.

The occasion was graced by Hon. Renato Magpantay, Sangguniang Bayan member of the Calinog municipality, Gelmina P. Cartel, Chief of the Calinog Municipal Agriculture Office, and Dir. Arn D. Granada, Center Director of the PCC at WVSU. Maria Corazon Buala, Public Relations Officer II of DA-Western Visayas, Abdiel Dela Cruz, Operation Manager, The Glend Hotel, and Michael Jan Debuque, Tourism Operations Assistant of Calinog Tourism Office were present as Cara Cooking Show Judges. Around 300 people attended the event, the majority of whom were farmers from various farmers’ associations in Calinog.

Janice H. Cuaresma, DA-PCC at WVSU CBED Coordinator, led the Cara-ugnayan with Farmers. The segment discussed the success of the Calinog Farmers Agriculture Cooperative (CAF Agri Coop) in cara-dairy farming. Ryan Carmen, Chairman of CAF Agri Coop, Lilibeth Dumdumaya, Manager of CAF Agri Coop, and Wilma Capillo, member of CAF Agri Coop’s Board of Directors, discussed the cooperative’s struggles and successes over the years, as well as the importance and impact of women in the dairy industry.

During the event, the Karabun (buffalo’s milk-flavored bun) was also introduced to the audience, with benefits and potential as a food product cited. It was emphasized that in the Panay and Guimaras islands, only the CAF Agri Coop manufactures Karabun.

The main event was the Cara Cooking Show, which challenged contestants to cook using one liter of buffalo’s milk and PHP500 worth of ingredients. The dishes were then scored based on the cost per serving of the dish/dish combo that the judge is willing to pay.

Ellen Escorial of the Sitio Cristobal Farmers Association was crowned champion, taking home PHP5,000 for her winning dish combination of kalabasa soup, bikol express, and ube halaya, all made with buffalo’s milk. Kate Reylen Escorial and Jonna Kim Catalua, both from the 4H Club, took first and second place with their dish combinations of beef rolls and palitaw with buffalo’s milk, and ginataang balut de leche, fried balut, and coffee jelly, respectively.

The contest’s goal is to promote buffalo’s milk as a versatile ingredient that can be used in both appetizers and desserts.