Following the cooking battle “Sangka sa Kaha” last August 5, Cebu Parklane International Hotel formally included in its menu Sibonga town’s specialty menu “adubaw nga nokus”.
Five cooking masters of the town were pitted against each other at the Sibonga Heritage Park for the bragging right to have one’s recipe and method of cooking adopted by the hotel.
When the smoke cleared and the carajays cooled, Babag, Sibonga Barangay Captain Rolando dela Vega emerged as the best among them.
“Walay kabutangan sa akong kalipay sa akong tibuok kinabuhi. Wala ko mag-expect makadaug ko kay simple ra man kaayo ang akong luto (I am at my happiest. I did not expect to win, my cooking was just simple),” he said.
The five-person panel of judges, though, had a different opinion, and declared his team winner after the competition. Adubaw nga nokus is squid cooked in its own ink and is considered the specialty of the town.
For the feat, dela Vega’s team got a cash prize, gift certificates, and the bragging right that his recipe gets to be included in the menu of Parklane’s Kan-anan restaurant, which specializes in authentic Cebuano dishes.
Last September 27, Parklane officially launched the adubaw nga nokus as part of Kan-anan’s menu; of course using dela Vega’s recipe.
Parklane General Manager Cenelyn Manguilimotan said they decided to come up with the Sangka sa Kaha to encourage towns to come out and present their specialty dishes and for the people to taste them without necessarily going to each place.
“We give them (customers) a taste of the countryside and encourage them to also visit the countryside,” she said.
Parklane’s Chef de Cuisine June Fernandez said the contest is also the hotel’s way of reaching out to the towns. “We’re providing local governments the venue to showcase their food,” he said.
Cebu Provincial Tourism Officer Joselito “Boboi” R. Costas agreed, saying his office is strongly supporting the competition because its objective aligns with his tourism vision for Cebu.
“It helps us promote the towns, which is one of our thrusts in the provincial government. It also cements our partnership with Parklane,” he said.
Now on its sixth year, the winning dishes of each Sangka sa Kaha has been made part of the menu of Parklane’s Kan-anan Restaurant, a “specialty restaurant specializing in authentic Cebuano dishes” located at the fourth floor of the hotel.
A “cookout event wherein traditional dishes of towns and municipalities of Cebu are featured,” Sangka sa Kaha has resulted to Kan-anan adopting Ronda’s humba, Oslob’s podrida (sweet-filled cookie), Dumanjug’s bisnok manok, Borbon’s takyong, Argao’s torta, and the adubaw in its menu.
Parklane’s Chef Orlando Santos said what made adubaw a distinct dish is that while nowadays the squid is prepared without its ink, Sibonga actually embraced it by including it in the cooking.
“Ilaha gyud nang (That’s their) authentic cuisine, nga naay ata…mao gyud nay ilang (where the pigment is included…that’s their) signature food,” he said.
Sibonga Mayor Caroline Bacaltos, who was present during the contest and the formal launching, thanked Parklane for being “one of the hotels that stands up for Cebu.”
“As the mayor of our humble town, I greatly give my salute and sincere gratitude to Parklane International Hotel. May this event be a start of our partnership gearing towards the development of Cebu’s tourism industry,” she said.