The ceremonial slicing of a 5.3-meter-long “kesong puti” (white cheese) was the highlight of the first ever Kesong Puti Festival held last May 9 in Talavera, Nueva Ecija (N.E), which coincided with the town’s “Farmer’s Week” celebration.
The cheese, weighing 245kg with a width of 1.11 meters and a thickness of 2.54 cm, is dubbed the biggest dairy product made by the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) so far. It used 700 liters of fresh carabao’s milk as the main ingredient, which was provided by the PCC’s processing plant and dairy farmers in Talavera.
Its dimension was relatively bigger than the kesong puti that the PCC had prepared for the annual Gatas ng Kalabaw Festival in the previous years, which usually measured 1.8m x 1.12m x 4cm (LxWxH).
After the ceremonial slicing, the kesong puti was eventually served with pandesal as breakfast fare for the participants.
The launching of the first Kesong Puti Festival was made possible through the initiative of Mayor Nerivi Martinez of the municipality of Talavera with the help of PCC. It was a prelude to setting a record in the “Guinness World Records” for the title “Biggest Kesong Puti in the Philippines”.
PCC Executive Director Dr. Arnel Del Barrio said in his message that he considered the launching and creation of biggest kesong puti as a symbol of partnership.
“For me, we all contributed, especially our dairy farmers, to the processing and creation of that white cheese. It is the biggest kesong puti not only in Talavera but also in the whole province of Nueva Ecija. And I assume, this is also the biggest we had made so far in the country,” Dr. Del Barrio said.
He encouraged everyone to help uplift the local dairy industry by nurturing and strengthening the partnership of agencies, farmers, and other dairy value chain players.
Dr. Del Barrio also cited the importance of rice-dairy integration model wherein rice farmers may integrate carabao dairying as a complementary enterprise. He said that carabao’s manure can be turned into vermicompost or organic fertilizer that can be used to enhance the fertility of the rice land.
On the other hand, he added, the rice straws after harvest can be collected and used as good carabao feedstuff.
Also part of the celebration were ecumenical service, trade fair, and cooking contest using kesong puti as the main ingredient.
Meanwhile, Shrimp Kare-Kare with Kesong Puti, Suso with blended Kesong Puti, and Fried Lumpiang Kalabasa with Kesong Puti and Mushroom Dip won first, second, and third places, respectively, in the cooking contest participated in by residents of Talavera.
Apart from Dr. Del Barrio, other guests during the event were Department of Trade and Industry Provincial Director Brigida Pili, Provincial Agriculturist Serafin Santos, DAR Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer I Jocelyn Ramones, and N.E. Agricultural Program Coordinating Officer Dr. Evelyn Fernando.
Select staff members of PCC and DTI, LGU officials, dairy farmers, and businessmen also attended the event.
The Kesong Puti Festival was also featured live in Unang Hirit, a morning newscast by GMA Network.