Ubi jam, the best dessert at Ubi fest

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Ubi jam, the best dessert at Ubi fest

Topic |  
MORE USEFUL THAN RICE, Boholanos find time to honor ubi (yam), the province's most important crop, during the Ubi Festival 2016.  Leo Udtohan/Chronicle
MORE USEFUL THAN RICE, Boholanos find time to honor ubi (yam), the province’s most important crop, during the Ubi Festival 2016. Leo Udtohan/Chronicle


Seen: Dominic Villafuerte is the newly-appointed councilor of Candijay town who replaced former councilor Sergio Amora Jr who died last year.

Seen: Spotted in Bohol last week were Michael V, Tom Taus and Katherine de Castro. Also spotted in Panglao town were LP standard-bearer Mar Roxas and his wife Korina Sanchez and Isabelle Daza who attended a VIP wedding.

Scene: During the 36th Cebu Popular Music Festival, Ralph Maligro’s “Awit Ning Gugma,” arranged by Ralph Joey Cabusas and interpreted by Philip Mancol, emerged as the winning piece in the Love Song category. Maligro is from Tubigon town.


Scene: The “UNLIMITEXT” exhibit of  multi-awarded Boholano visual and performance artist Sam Penaso at Galleria Quattrocento,  2nd Floor Serendra, Bonifacio Global City in Taguig on Jan. 20 to Feb. 2.  For info, text/call (02)-8230935; 0917-8911322. Penaso is a multi-disciplinary artist that dabbles in painting, sculpture and performance art. He has held 23 solo exhibitions, five of which were held in Japan, Thailand, Austria, Germany, Singapore, New York and Abu Dhabi. He has also been a recipient of several Art grants including Asian Cultural Council (ACC) and the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York and the Thailand-Philippines Art Exchange Program in Bangkok, Thailand.

UBI GROWER Cipriano Curay proudly shows his ubi kinampay, the queen of all ubi varieties.  Leo Udtohan/Chronicle
UBI GROWER Cipriano Curay proudly shows his ubi kinampay, the queen of all ubi varieties. Leo Udtohan/Chronicle

Scene:  The United States Agency for International Development (USAid) General Counsel John Simpkins was here in the province on  January 26-27 to renew the U.S. government’s commitment to the province’s inclusive and sustainable development.  Simpkins joined other Bohol officials to launch the Stakeholders’ Forum, which was organized by the U.S. Embassy Manila’s USAid through its Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (Surge) Project. Simpkins visited Tagbilaran City Elementary School, where he handed out learning materials to Grade 2 students on behalf of the American people and led a reading activity for the children. In his interaction with school administrators and faculty, he reiterated the U.S. government’s commitment to help improve the reading skills of students through its basic education program, Basa Pilipinas.  Surge is the flagship activity of USAid’s Cities Development Initiative (CDI), which aims to transform secondary cities into engines of growth. Tagbilaran is one of the CDI partner cities.

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Couple Cipriano and Marcela Curay had to wake-up early last Wednesday.  They had to travel at least 100 kms from Alicia town to Tagbilaran, Bohol’s capital, to attend the 16th Ubi Festival.  The Curays brought 20 bukags (baskets), inside were ubi (yam) they would sell during the three-day festivity.

DOMINIC VILLAFUERTE (4th from left) taking the oath of office from Gov. Edgar Chatto. Contributed Photo/EDCOM
DOMINIC VILLAFUERTE (4th from left) taking the oath of office from Gov. Edgar Chatto. Contributed Photo/EDCOM

Ubi (Dioscorea alata) growers and supporters have gathered last week for the Ubi Festival to honor the crop as a major agricultural product.

Curay, 53, started planting ubi in 2010. He said he found ubi a great potential for livelihood.


He planted 50 kilos of ubi tubers in July and harvested 650 kilos of ubi in his 200 sq meters farmland last December.


For the Curays, the rootcrop has helped their family needs.

“It is a great help for our family. Like now we could not plant rice and ubi could help us,” he said.

For  Dely Niluag, 68, the Ubi festival was an opportunity for her to make special desserts– ubi jam/halaya and sorbetes (ice-cream).  Niluag took advantage to choose different varieties of ubi — kabus-ok, kinlot, balagon-on, binanag, tam-isan, apale, iniling, lima-lima, kot, bot and kinampay, the most aromatic ubi in the world — at low prices.


“I am happy if there is ubi festival,” she said, “I can ask for a discount unlike in malls.”

She said there would be enough ubi desserts this month.


Ubi is an important rootcrop in Bohol province, the country’s ubi capital.

The crop is heavily planted in the towns of Alburqueque, Alicia, Antequera, Baclayon, Corella, Cortes, Dauis, Dimiao, Garcia-Hernandez, Lila, Loay, Loon, Mabini, Maribojoc, Panglao, Sikatuna, and Ubay.

It is traditionally planted in May or June and harvested from December to January.

According to Zenaida Darunday, a plant pathologist and keynote organizer of Ubi festival, ubi is a healthy energy source with important nutritional benefits.

“Ubi is an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), a very good source of vitamin C and manganese, and a good source of copper, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium and iron. When you take ubi, you won’t be constipated,” said Darunday.


AWARD-WINNING composer and lyricist Ralph Maligro. Contributed Photo
AWARD-WINNING composer and lyricist Ralph Maligro. Contributed Photo

The kinampay, the queen of all ubi varieties, is a good source of anthocyanin, a strong anti-oxidant, she added.

“Of course, it’s a good alternative for rice especially now that we are trying to cut on rice consumption, ubi is a substitute. You can eat ubi without eating rice. Compared to potato, it has more nutritional element.”

Ubi is also good for people who have hormonal imbalance and women who suffer menstrual cramps.

“It has dioscorin and it is good for women with dysmenorrhea,” said Darunday.

For almost half a millennium, the ubi tuber has been venerated by the Boholanos.

Boholanos considered ubi a “sacred” crop. In fact, ubi is the only staple food included in the Bohol hymn.

“Yes, ubi is sacred in Bohol,” confirmed Darunday.

“Boholanos kiss the ubi when it falls on the ground,” she added.  She said that ubi culture is authentic because it started from the earth.

“It’s our culture because according to a legend there was a famine in Bohol. Boholanos were able to stay alive because they found ubi when they were scratching the ground because ubi survives during drought and famine. And when they saw ubi, ‘praise the Lord’ because it saved them from starvation.  If ubi tuber falls, you have to kiss it,” said Darunday.

For the past years, the production of ubi has declined.

Darunday said that people who are planting ubi are aging.

Ireneo Gabato, municipal agricultural officer of Sikatuna town, said that only few farmers plant ubi. He said, only three out of 10 barangays joined this year’s festival.

To encourage farmers to plant ubi, his office provided materials (tuber) to farmers.

“It’s plant now, pay later. If they plant 20 kilos of ubi tuber, they would return 20 kilos of ubi to our office,” he said.

The Ubi festival was also a venue for educational forum to increase farm production.

“I hope this is an avenue to invite farmers and attract young people to plant more ubi in Bohol,” she said, “Young people should be familiar with the importance of ubi.”

She also noted that climate change also affected the ubi production.

“One of the reasons why the harvest of ubi in the province now is low is due to the impact of climate change,” she said.

With that we hope we can innovate technologies that ubi can still survive even with the change of the climate, added Darunday.

Anyway, the most popular way of cooking ubi is to make it into ubi jam (halaya).  It is a sweet sticky jam-like concoction that may be eaten by itself or as an ingredient in other deserts like halo-halo.

Ubi Jam (Halaya) Recipe


1 kilo ubi  (kinampay, baligonhon, etc) mashed or 2 packs purple yam

2 cans condensed milk

1 can evaporated milk

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup sugar (amount optional)

1/4 cup grated cheese

Cooking Instructions:

1) Cook ubi in boiling water until soft. Peel and mash ubi until smooth in texture. A blender can be used for a better result.

2) In a big wok, melt butter or margarine. Place in the mashed ubi; pour the condensed milk and sugar over it. Keep  stirring on low heat for at least 30 minutes or the until mixture is well blended.

3) Add evaporated milk and continue mixing until well blended and thick. Stir constantly to prevent sticking to the pan. Let cool and transfer into a large greased tray or pans Sprinkle with grated cheese for extra flavor. Chill and serve.

Yam! Yam! Yam!

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