Mama Sita Foundation Reinvents Ilocano Cuisine

Highlighting the use of kamote as a healthier food substitute, this year’s batch under the Cultural Heritage Program of the Ateneo de Manila University, in cooperation with Mama Sita Foundation (MSF), launched “Kamote Recipes for a Warmer Planet: Ilocano Inspirations,” a dinner event which is aimed to reinvent root crops as a staple food, as well as preserve the rich culture and cuisine of the Ilocos region last Oct. 25, 2017 at the Victorino’s restaurant located at Scout Rallos, Quezon City.

Inspired by the recipes of Jean Savellano, the event introduced kamote dishes fit for Filipino taste. Lumpiang kamote at hipon, roast beef with kamotato were among he delectable meals served.

MSF’s annual food writing contest,  Mga Kuwentong Pagkain, was also launched during the event. The tilt encourages Filipinos nationwide to share food tales coming from their own regions.

“This kind of dialogue is precisely what the foundation strives to inspire through our projects like Mga Kuwentong Pagkain,” said Clara Reyes-Lapus, president of Mama Sita Fondation, as she expressed her delight in advocating Philippine culinary heritage.

“Mama Sita loved to promote local food and how they are prepared. In her life, she travelled to different places to search for the most authentic flavors, and in turn she spread it out to share it with the world. This is what we hope to achieve tonight, talking about food and appreciating our culture and our flavours,” Lapus added.

Students from the Ateneo de Manila University presented their researches concerning the preservation of the local heritage of the Ilocanos.   

Source: Sundy Mae Locus, The People's Journal, October 28, 2017




‘Harana,’ Food and Memories

These past weeks and months I’ve been watching stage productions, documentaries and films, attending events and gatherings that dealt mostly with our human rights and the tyrants, despots and plunderers that oppressed us in times past, on how to be vigilant so that we will not be in shackles ever again.

So it was quite a change to receive an invitation to a “harana songfest” honoring and serenading one of the country’s celebrated cooks, Teresita Reyes, better known as Mama Sita, who is celebrating her 100th birth anniversary in culinary heaven. The invite came via Virginia R. Moreno, poet, playwright and many things else, whom one does not refuse especially if the event is at the Cine Adarna of the University of the Philippines Film Center which she midwifed into being — and no one is to dispute that.

“Harana Para Kay Mama Sita” is “Pasasalamat at Paggunita  sa Isang Ina, Kababayan at Kusinera” presented by the Mama Sita Foundation and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. It was an evening of thanksgiving and remembrance for this mother (of more than a dozen children), Filipino and cook. No euphemisms for this denizen of the national kitchen. (“Kusinera” means cook.)

It was also a celebration of a life spent promoting the Philippines’ culinary heritage. Mama Sita created and perfected Filipino dishes not only for her large family but also for homesick Filipinos in the diaspora who craved the flavors of the native land.

Long before the title “chef” became de rigueur and much coveted, Mama Sita was already kitchen bound, interested only in feeding people through her joyous cooking. She “lived, loved and cooked,” and she loved God, her family and her country. And so the musical tribute had to be just as flavorful, a banquet of folk songs, love songs and patriotic songs that brought back the yesteryears.

The music makers were The Andres Bonifacio Concert Choir with composer Maestro Jerry Dadap conducting (even while at the piano), and the RTU Tunog Rizalia Rondalla conducted by Prof. Lino Mangandi. In all, there were almost 100 of them on stage. (I spotted Inquirer contributor Amadis Ma. Guerrero in the choir, clad like a katipunero.) The soloists held their own with their solo numbers.

Before the show, while savoring the merienda (santol sherbet with a sprinkling of salt, anyone?) and while going over the exhibit/sale of Mama Sita food products and recipe books (I bought a copy of “Mama Sita Homestyle Recipes”), I bumped into Dadap who told me he would spring a surprise toward the end of the show.

The show (all in Filipino), directed by Victor Sevilla, was brisk and crisp, with inserted biographical vignettes lyrically recited with images projected on screen. The Filipino folk songs were followed by “harana” love songs then capped by rousing patriotic songs. National Artist Lucio San Pedro’s “Kayumangging Malaya” (lyrics by Rodolfo de Leon) shook my soul, as it always did in the past when it was sung in Masses celebrated by the late Fr. Ruben Villote. But with a 40-member choir and a 40-member rondalla bringing the music to a crescendo, my patriotic juices leapt and rushed to the sea.

 

To fete Mama Sita, Dadap composed a serenade: “Sita, Iniibig Kita,” and nationalistic songs “Awit ng Pagkakaisa” and “Alay sa Inang Bayan,” plus religious songs sung before and toward the end. Then a  postre of a march, “Awit ng Pagkain, Mama Sita March.”

Oh, the surprise: While the choir was singing “Bayan Ko” (Constancio de Guzman), in came a soloist, three-year-old Eumie Maurin, in Filipino costume and all, who sang with gusto and hit the notes right like it was nobody’s business. I did take a photo of her singing but I kick myself for not turning on my camera’s recorder. (Anyway, famous cinematographer Romy Vitug and his team were recording).

Congratulations to you, Eumie, and to your parents Junnel and Edelyn (both members of the choir). Yes, Eumie is three years old! Backstage, her father was carrying her like a baby. I asked her parents’ permission to post her photos (with this article) on Facebook and they said yes.

So you see, patriotic fervor burns well with the kitchen fire. Food and freedom!

Source: Ma. Ceres P. Doyo, The Philippine Daily Inquirer, October 5, 2017




Two Cool Events in Cebu

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Teresita “Mama Sita” Reyes a stalwart in Filipino cuisine learned invaluable lessons in cooking from her mother Doña Engracia Asiang Reyes, who is today regarded as the “Grand Dame of Philippine Cuisine.”

Through her dealings  with vendors, cooks and kitchen helpers, she learned and mastered the art of cooking and food preparation. Mama Sita would detain herself in the kitchen to conduct her cooking experiments and practice her extraordinary skill in baking steaming breads and delicacies such as banana cake and her own version of hopia.

Through the years, Mama Sita traveled to different countries and observed how Filipinos longed for food prepared and cooked the Filipino way. This inspired here to collaborate with her son-in-law Bart Lapus, a biologist to create a line of sauces and mixes that would bring the taste of the Philippines to Filipinos abroad.

To keep her memories alive and promote her vision of bringing taste of Philippine cuisine to the world, a Foundation bearing her name was created.

Honoring the 100th anniversary of the nation’s culinary icon figure, Teresita “Mama Sita” Reyes, the foundation recently donated commemorative stamps and cookbooks to the Cebu City library.

Ruth Chua, chief librarian of Cebu City Public Library, received the stamps and cookbooks in a turn over ceremony which was led by Mama Sita Foundation delegate Chinggay Utzurrum.

Source: Honey Jarque Loop, The Philippine Star, September 2, 2017

 

 




What Kids Should Know about Filipino Food: Mama Sita’s Centennial Edition

In celebration of Teresita “Mama Sita” Reyes’ 100th birth anniversary, the Mama Sita Foundation has collaborated with Adarna House publishing the Special Mama Sita’s Centennial Edition of What Kids Should Know About Filipino Food.

Felice Sta. Maria, a celebrated author of various food books including the award-winning The Governor-General’s Kitchen: Philippine Culinary Vignettes and Period Recipes and the Foods of Rizal, has been collecting historical materials regarding Philippine cuisine since the 1970’s.

The Mama Sita’s Centennial Edition features highlights of the life of Teresita Reyes, and her contribution to Philippine food history.

Teresita was born on May 11, 1917 in Manila to a family known for good cooking. Her mother established the first and perhaps one of the most famous Filipino restaurants that still stands today. Having grown up in a family that loves to cook and eat, Sita learned the rudiments of marketing and cooking as a young girl. She raised her 11 children through various food ventures-reviving her mother’s old canteen, peddling turon and kakanin in schools, selling fruits in her mini-store-on wheels- experiences that enriched her culinary journey.

In her travels, she realized how difficult it was to prepare Filipino food away from home, without the ingredients one has become used to like sampaloc and bayabas for sinigang. Since then she had made it her mission to make Filipino food more accessible anywhere int he world.That was how Mama Sita’s products came into being and her vision became reality.

In 2013, a commemorative stamp was launched by the Philippine Postal corporation in honor of Teresita “Mama Sita” Reyes. Dr. Maria Serena Diokno, former chairperson of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines remarked, “Philippine food history is not complete without taking into account the role of Teresita Reyes in popularizing Philippine cuisine…”

Source: Cook Magazine, July 2017




What Kids Should Know About Filipino Food

What Kids Should Know About Filipino Food

One of the projects by the Mama Sita Foundation is in Dingalan, Aurora. Dingalan can be considered the gateway to Central Luzon from the Pacific Ocean across the Sierra Madre Mountains. It is located at the eastern end of the government’s Urban Beltway Project running from Subic Freeport through Clark Freeport to Dingalan Port...




Mama Sita Donates Stamps, Cookbooks to Cebu Library

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The Mama Sita Foundation recently donated commemorative stamps and cookbooks to Cebu City Public Library, honoring the 100th birth anniversary of the nation's culinary icon figure Teresita "Mama Sita" Reyes. Ruth Chua (left in the photo shown above), chief librarian of Cebu City Public Library, received the commemorative stamps and cookbooks in a turnover ceremony led by Mama Sita Foundation delegate Chinggay V. Utzurrum. Teresita Reyes' vision of bringing the taste of Philippine cuisine to the world motivated her to build "Mama Sita," which is now available in more than 40 countries. Despite the increase in popularity of processed food, Mama Sita continues its legacy of bringing original Filipino flavors throughout the world. (PR)
 

Source: Sun Star Cebu, June 28, 2017




Sita's Legacy

Philippine culinary history would not be complete without long chapters on the roles and contributions of generations of women from the Reyes family, beginning with Aling Asiang, founder of the iconic Aristocrat Restaurant. She set the standard for what Filipino dishes should taste like and elevated home cooking to restaurant standards.

Her daughter Teresita laid the groundwork for a vast food industry that now enables Pinoys anywhere in the world to cook sinigang, kare-kare, and other Filipino dishes. Her Mama Sita mixes encouraged millions here and abroad to overcome intimidation, venture into the kitchen, and cook for their loved ones.

Teresita’s daughter Clara established the Mama Sita Foundation which aims to preserve Filipino culinary traditions and heritage for present and future generations to appreciate and enjoy.

 Clara Reyes Lapus thanks Adarna and QCPL

Clara Reyes Lapus thanks Adarna and QCPL

 Food facts for everyone

In celebration of Teresita “Mama Sita” Reyes’ 100th birth anniversary, the Mama Sita Foundation has collaborated with Adarna House in publishing the Special Mama Sita’s Centennial Edition of What Kids Should Know About Filipino Food.

This new book by culinary historian Felice Prudente Sta. Maria is an informative food guide not just for kids, but for adults, too, and anyone who wants to know the littlest details with greatest importance on Philippine food and culture.

Felice Sta. Maria, a celebrated author of various food books, including the award-winning The Governor-General’s Kitchen: Philippine Culinary Vignettes and Period Recipes and the Foods of Rizal, has been collecting historical materials regarding Philippine cuisine since the 1970s.

 Book of What Kids Should Know About Filipino Food

Book of What Kids Should Know About Filipino Food

Culture and History

The Mama Sita’s Centennial Edition highlights the life of Teresita Reyes and her contributions to Philippine food history.

In the book introduction, Clara Reyes, daughter of Mama Sita wrote, “This edition celebrates Mama Sita’s love for children, her family, and Philippine food culture as her story, recipes, and food tips are featured for kids and their parents to enjoy.”

Teresita was born on May 11, 1917 in Manila to a family known for good cooking. Eighty years ago, her mother established the Aristocrat Restaurant, the  first and perhaps one of the most famous Filipino restaurants, which remains the Philippines’ most popular and still stands today as one of Manila’s best known landmarks.

Having grown up in a family that loves to cook and eat, Sita learned the rudiments of marketing and cooking as a young girl. She raised her 11 children through various food ventures: reviving her mother’s old canteen, peddling turon and kakanin in schools, selling fruits in her mini-store- on wheels. Such entrepreneurship enriched her culinary journey.

 Culinary Mission

But her lasting legacy in Philippine culinary history has its beginnings overseas. In her travels, she realized how difficult it was to prepare Filipino food away from home, without the traditional indigenous ingredients such as sampaloc (tamarind) and bayabas (guava) for sinigang.

She made it her mission to make Filipino food more accessible anywhere in the world. That was how Mama Sita’s products came into being and her vision became reality.

In 2013, a commemorative stamp was launched by the Philippine Postal Corporation in honor of Teresita “Mama Sita” Reyes. Dr. Maria Serena Diokno, then chairperson of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, remarked, “Philippine food history is not complete without taking into account the role of Teresita Reyes in popularizing Philippine cuisine….”

Mama Sita’s Centennial Edition of What Kids Should Know About Filipino Food is available at Mama Sita’s kiosk at Greenhills Bazaar.

Source: Sol Vanzi, Manila Bulletin, June 8, 2017

 




Donation to San Carlos U Library marks 100th birth anniversary of Teresita ‘ Mama Sita’

 In photo are Fe Remedio-Planas, San Carlos University acquisitions/librarian; Rosario ‘Chinggay’ Utzurrum, journalist, Sun Star Cebu and Mama Sita Foundation representative Fr. Dionisio Miranda, SVD, president, San Carlos University, and Maxi Doreen Cabarron, SCU director of libraries.

In photo are Fe Remedio-Planas, San Carlos University acquisitions/librarian; Rosario ‘Chinggay’ Utzurrum, journalist, Sun Star Cebu and Mama Sita Foundation representative Fr. Dionisio Miranda, SVD, president, San Carlos University, and Maxi Doreen Cabarron, SCU director of libraries.

In celebration of Teresita ‘Mama Sita’ Reyes’ 100th birth anniversary last May 11, the Mama Sita Foundation turned over Mama Sita commemorative stamps and cookbooks to the San Carlos University Library Resource Center, at the San Carlos University new building at Talamban, Cebu.

The legacy of Mama Sita lives on through the foundation, as it sparks greater interest in Philippine cuisine among the millennials in this age of fast food. From bringing the rich flavors of the Philippine islands to the world, Mama Sita is a true icon in Philippine culinary arts history now, more than ever as she introduces these flavors to the younger generations.

Source: The Daily Tribune, May 28, 2017