Kadayawan Festival – thanksgiving for gifts of nature

Published September 25, 2022
Guests take part in a live demonstration on making a Puto Maya plate at the Philippines embassy on Saturday.
Guests take part in a live demonstration on making a Puto Maya plate at the Philippines embassy on Saturday.

ISLAMABAD: The diplomatic community immersed themselves in hands-on dessert making asthe Embassy of the Philippines celebrated Kadayawan Festival on Saturday.

The festival was held at the Domingo Lucenario Hall, Chancery of the Embassy of the Philippines in Islamabad, with a watch-party and on-the-spot making of a Puto Maya (Rice cake) and Sikwate (native Philippine chocolate) for members of the diplomatic corps and other guests.

The Kadayawan festival – the main festival of Davao city located in southern Philippines – is held every August, spouse of the embassy’s Officer-in-Charge Sumaira Domasig Khan Bagaporo told her guests.

Ms Khan-Bagaporo, who hosted the programme, said it was a thanksgiving for the gifts of nature, the wealth of culture, the bounties of harvest and serenity of living.

In her welcome remarks, Khan-Bagaporo likened the Kadayawan festival to a celebration of a mother providing food for her children, in the same way that nature provided food for all people.

“As we give thanks for the blessing of food, family and joy, we keep to heart the practice of not wasting such blessings and give importance to the conservation and appropriate use of what we are given,” she said.

The event started with a watch-party that featured a short video of the actual Kadayawan Festival celebration in Davao city, followed by an instructional video on how to make Puto Maya and Sikwate.

All the participants were then called to the front to do a live demonstration and plate their own version of Puto Maya using pre-cooked rice and banana leaves. A contest was held to see which participant or pair of participants was able to make the best designed Puto Maya plate, with the participants voting for who they thought was the best designed plate among themselves.

The acting high commissioner of Brunei, Abdul Osman Mubdi, won the first place with his Japanese-inspired design that resembled a plate of sushi. Peter Piwi Ophoff and his spouse Saraswathi Pasupathy came second with their design, which paid homage to the volcanoes in the Philippines while Gaurav Thakur from the Indian High Commission who tag teamed with his daughter Irshita, Emilia Deddy from the Malaysian High Commission and Henny Lydia from Indonesian embassy and Nurhaziqah Hakip, all tied for third place.

The event was attended by diplomats from the high commissions of Malaysia, Australia, Brunei, Mauritius and India, and from the Indonesian embassy, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Philippine embassy’s media partners.

Known for incredible balance of sweet, salty and spicy, native Filipino food such as tokneneng, which is coated chicken egg, fishballs, tofu sisig, chicken barbeque, biko which is rice cake, pandesal Filipino bread with cheese pimiento spread, sago’t gulaman, were also served, along with Puto Maya and Sikwate.

The Kadayawan Festival was part of the Fiestas Filipinas programme held all year round by the Philippine Foreign Service. The programme facilitated the celebration of one Philippine festival each month abroad, and was currently in its second season.

Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2022

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