NATIONAL CAPITAL REGIONS' (NCR) BEST IN ONE DESTINATION

Manila, July 13, 2003 By Rachel C. Barawid (BULLETIN) How often do you get to see all the 13 cities and four municipalities in the metropolis under one roof? How would you like to have a light breakfast of Valenzuela’s Putong Pulo, authentic pancit Malabon for lunch, Pateros’ pride — balut and “Inutak sa Sorbetes” for merienda, hot juicy meat or tuna hotdogs and more for dinner?

Visitors from the provinces, foreign tourists and even Metro Manilans who don’t have the time to go to these places can find the best of the National Capital Region’s (NCR) offerings at the clamshell tent in Pueblo Pilipino (site of the old Ateneo University), Intramuros, Manila.

Food buffs, art aficionados, students, shopaholics, housewives, entrepreneurs – there’s so much in store for everyone at the Department of Tourism (DOT)hosted exhibit. They just have to hurry though, as the grand showcase of multi-faceted Manila is about to wrap up on July 19 after more than a month-long stint at Intramuros.

Renato Chua, director of NCRDOT, said that visitors will get to see and experience at close range both the diversity and the blending of different cultures of metropolitan Manila. NCR, for centuries, has been a melting pot of different peoples and cultures. The country’s major gateway, NCR is also the seat of government, the center of trade and economics, education, culture and arts where migrants continually resettle for the promise of a better life.

Aside from the products and food, people can also catch a glimpse of the popular festivals of each city such as the Sambalilo of Parañaque, Ati-Atihan of Manila, Senakulo of Pasay, Putong Pulo of Valenzuela, and the Fish Festival of Navotas. Meanwhile, daily shows inside the clamshell feature renowned artists and performers of each city.

Participants are some 169 exhibitors from various cities and municipalities including Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela, Manila, Quezon City, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Marikina, Pasay, Parañaque, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Taguig, Pateros, and Makati.

One of the reasons why people come in droves to the NCR exhibit is its limitless array of authentic foods native to each city. Nothing can compare to the taste of the authentic Pancit Malabon (fat noodles in rich palabok sauce topped with seafood and chicharon). The Malabon booth also has ukoy, puto, kikiam and its equally famous sapin-sapin. Native bags and paintings are also sold here.

The crowd-drawer, however, is the Inutak sa Sorbetes of the Pateros booth. Exhibitor Larry Alcantara claimed that his 84-yearold grandmother Juliana Flores introduced the Inutak (kakanin or ricecake) in Pateros decades ago.

The Inutak sa Sorbetes, a refreshing snack or a perfect dessert to cap any meal is a combination of sticky rice (malagkit na bigas), sugar, and coconut milk. It is eaten together with homemade ice cream, specifically mango and cheese flavor. Alcantara said this dessert can be found only in Pateros’ talipapa (market). A must-try, the Inutak costs only R10, R15 and R20 for small, medium and large cups. Of course, the booth will not be complete without the staple Pateros products — Balut, salted eggs, Bibingkang Abnoy (made of Bugok na balut), and the comfy alfombre slippers.

At the next booth, there’s the delicious Putong Pulo of Valenzuela. For only R20, one can feast on 15 tiny pieces of putong puti, putong pula or cochinta. The Caloocan booth sells brownies and tasty empanadas. One can buy authentic bagoong and Patis Puro at the Navotas booth.

Another booth sells different tea such as sambong, tsaang gubat, lagundi etc. Adjacent to this is the booth manned by Virgie Luces. She sells Duhat juice available in pure concentrate and ready to drink for only R10 per glass and R20 per bottle.

Meanwhile, tourists must also try the Chummy footlong hotdogs that have been attracting food lovers since it was featured on the news few weeks ago. A Kapampangan mixture, the Mekeni meat hotdogs have been one of the favorites of visitors and even vendors and exhibitors at the clamshell.

Dey Cruz, senior tourism operations officer of the DOT-NCR and her daughter Kaye take turns at manning this hotdog booth. The Mekeni hotdogs and other meat products are a family business of her fellow Kapampangan friend Nards Garcia. A tummy filler, the hotdog sandwich (with two buns) costs only R30 while 1 kilo is priced at R110.

For fitness buffs, there are tuna hotdogs and tuna meat products of General Santos at the nearby booth of Abel Layug. His booth had been in the clamshell since June during the exhibit of the Central Mindanao region. Due to public demand for his tunadogs, he was retained by the DOT. Layug said his tuna products are all-natural and uses only onion, garlic and vegetables as preservatives.

Though not from NCR, perennial favorites such as Bonuan Boneless Bangus, Longganisang Lucban, Suman Antipolo and other delicacies of various provinces can still be found inside the clamshell.

When it comes to products, the NCR exhibit’s bestsellers are Marikina’s world-class shoes, bags and native hats; San Juan’s sculptures depicting everyday life and local customs; oil paintings by Asian Art Center; and glittering necklaces, bracelets and other ornaments made of crystals, pearls and beads. These accessories are being sold by the Lanao Traders Association who had set up booths inside the clamshell resembling a mini-Greenhills.

Visitors will likewise be informed of the projects of the various cities. Parañaque has a recycling project introduced by Bona Maningat. He has turned soda and mineral water bottles into colorful home decorations and Christmas displays.

Mandaluyong, touted as the shopping capital of Manila, has a gallery of its attractions in its booth, including a miniature version of another shopping mall on Pioneer St., the soon-to-rise Robinsons Mall and a condominium.

The Pasig booth has on display a replica of its city museum and its Pasig River Rehabilitation Plan which seeks to transform the Pasig River into a showcase of multi-sectoral synergy and model for environmentally sensitive developments by year 2015.

Other exhibitors include the Club Intramuros, Corregidor Foundation, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, Avon, WG&A Superferry, Duty Free, and the Manila International Airport Authority.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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