THE RELAUNCHING OF THE BOHOL UBI

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THE RELAUNCHING OF THE BOHOL UBI

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cartoon editorialWE HAVE NOT REJOICED enough that Bohol is one the main producers of the high value crop Ubi or the violet/purple Yam as we know in Botany. As early as 25 years ago, it was already difficult to find Ubi- wholesaled as it was by Magnolia just for its ice cream.

Science has nudged ubi production to new heights today that in larger plantations in Davao and General Santos , one ubi plant can produce as much as two kilos.  The Cortes couple – Eladio and Policarpia Bautista by sheer hard work was able to sell 500 kilos during the recent three-day  16th Ubi Festival here.

That same 500 kilos of ubi in a Metro Manila wet market would have fetched P25,000 and P 50,000 in the supermarkets.

There is logic and science in promoting ubi  as part of Bohol’s history and culture.  In the pre-Hispanic times, there was reportedly a  famine in Bohol. In the desperate search for a “savior”, the ubiquitous Ubi was discovered to be edible – and gave immediate sustenance to the populace.

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Such was its impact that religious rites had thereafter adorned their propagation and harvests. The ubi planting season starts in April and harvests are in November and December. The first harvest falls on All Souls Day -where offerings are made to God and others shared with neighbors. That rite is called “padogmak” .

The other rite is called “hawok” where the old and new ubi produce are literally kissed by the farmers at the family altar- enabling the rich vegetable-fruit a semblance of sanctity.

It has been such a unique cultural scenario that a few  years back , a team from the United Nations (GIAHS) or Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System came to  Bohol to observe the rituals. Without our knowledge, ubi propagation has assumed a cultural importance as the iconic Banaue Rice Terraces.

There are actually 12 ubi varieties , including,  kinampay, baligonhon and the white varieities binanaog and tam-isan. The crop has grown into immense popularity and is a mainstay for ubi ice cream, halaya de ubi, nilunaw (with coconut milk and brown sugar), maruya, in halo halo, puto, vegetable dish, candies, hopia and wait- ubi cake and  even siopao.

It can expand into other varieties of food -limited only by one’s lack of imagination. Little do we realize that the Ubi Festival has been on for 15 years. The last one was spiced by a Cooking Competition among  chefs of classy names like Bellevue, South Palms Resort, Amarela and Cuisina ni Maria offering ubi as main ingredient for soup, main dish,appetizer and dessert.

That’ s not all, boys, Research indicates ubi is a great source of anti-oxidant (anti cancer), anti-diabetic,  vitamin A, C and manganese, potassium, iron , vitamin B6 and dietary fiber characteristics. Its color- particularly the violet and purple are so attractive – good enough to be Bohol’s official color perhaps?”

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Rep Rene Relampagos ,chair of the Tourism House Committee is pushing for a” Farm Tourism Bill”  which would make ubi -production part a tourist package for Bohol ,among others. The mountain folks in  North Philippines have made a monster industry out of their lowly strawberries. No reason why we cannot do the same for such a high value crop as ubi.

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Simultaneously, that  ushers livelihood, health benefits, food security and cultural character to the province.  No, the lowly ubi is only ubiquitous in its presence.

Her many facets have always remained  a source of wonder- and new ways to use them are still discovered up to  this age and time.

The Ubi Festival can indeed be using Bohol’s “cuisine” as part of its tourism arsenal of attractions. Why not?

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For comments: email to dejarescobingo@yahoo.com or bohol-rd@mozcom.com

THREE INNOVATIVE  BOHOL PROMO EVENTS

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Although Bohol can be trumpeted generic-wise as “Behold Bohol” as is “Amazing Thailand” and “Malaysia , Truly Asia”, recent research argues promotion should be “market-specific.’  There are three such innovations (for 2016) cranked by the joint brains of the public and private sectors whose unity has been a foundation of a successful Bohol run for tourism honors the past years.

In the “Sandugo”   in July – instead  of  just street dancing, a new tilt is imagined by having the 1st Galleon Parade to imbibe the historical impact of the Blood Compact.  This Galleon Parade is expected to be promoted nationwide to enthuse people to come to Bohol this July.  Another are the thrilling aqua sports which Bohol can offer due to its vast water assets.

The likes of triathlon and dragon boat  competition and even diving events can very well capture the  domestic and international market. Triathlon is an event patronized by those sectors who can afford to travel bringing their bikes to where the action is.  Bohol can aim for a monicker as the “triathlon capital” of the country, a big turbo-fueled  marketing coup.

Of course , we started about he dynamic potential of the Ubi Festival to start the year.

The  three events,namely Ubi Cookfest, Sandugo Galleon Parade and the Triathlon events are three non -traditional major annual activities that should be burnished by world class marketing. A good product without market noise will die on the shelf.

We are glad to hear that three major private groups are putting their heads together on how to better promote Bohol. They are the Bohol Association of Hotels, resorts & Restaurants (BAHRR), Bohol Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the overseeing Provincial Tourism Council (PTC). There is always strength in unity.

For comments: email to dejarescobingo@yahoo.com or bohol-rd@mozcom.com

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