15 Mar Big Bite Flavors of Summer – Northern Mindanao Food Festival 2016: Showcasing Mindanao’s Finest Food and Cooking Skills
If there was a single signal indicator of the growing progressiveness of Cagayan de Oro City and Northern Mindanao, it would be the food service and agricultural food industry. This can be seen in the various food festivals held annually in the different malls in the city sponsored by a variety of government and NGO organizations.
Last March 11 – 13 was no exception as the Big Bite! Flavors of Summer – Northern Mindanao Food Festival 2016 was held at the Activity Center of the Ayala Centrio Mall.
Big Bite! Flavors of Summer – Northern Mindanao Food Festival 2016, a project of Centrio Ayala Mall was organized and conducted by the Professional Organizers Unlimited, Cagayan de Oro’s premier and top notch professional organizers since 1998. Major sponsors are NORMIN Veggies, SLERS, and Mercedes Bakery.
While all activities were conducted at the Activity Center in the middle of the mall, the different food and food service booths were spread along the walkways leading to the Activity Center, the bridgeway on the first floor, the bridgeway on the third floor, and at the Capt. Vicente Roa Street entrance to the mall.
The different booths showcased their top food products and some booths allowed for tables and chairs so customers can eat prepared food and meals.
Noteworthy at some booths were the vegetables and fruits for sale that came all the way from Bukidnon.
The garden center with the big tree became the display area for a pony and several rabbits that came all the way from Bukidnon.
The other garden center was converted into a dining area where other booths could sell their menu lineups while DJ Kyle Banaag, DJ Julius Banaag and DJ Cocoy Banaag belted out some cool dance mixes for those having dinner.
What usually attracted the people were the hundreds of colored umbrellas hung in the middle of the open garden center along with the large “Big Bite” letters and a big heart that worked great for photo ops and selfies.
The first day was naturally capped off by an official ribbon cutting ceremony near the entrance walkway to the Activity Center.
Officials and VIP’s from the Ayala Centrio Mall, food service, Department of Trade and Industry, and the Department of Tourism were on hand for the said ceremony.
At the Activity Center, the program started with the unveiling of the Biggest Ham Sandwich Ceremony. The usual VIP’s and representatives from the different government, NGO, and food services were there to take a slice and bite of the large ham sandwich, which in reality was a collection hundreds of small ham sandwich bun slices assembled together to form one gigantic ham sandwich. This was followed by all of the guests, participants, and media personalities invited to partake of the food tasting preparations and finger foods.
The first day culinary competitions were the Search for the Best Ham Sandwich, Summer Smoothie Competition, and the Cashew Nut Competition.
The three culinary competitors on hand were the student-chefs from Southern Philippines College, Pilgrim Christian College, and the Culinary Institute of Cagayan de Oro (CIC). For each competition, the food judges had to open a special box onstage to reveal the ingredients that were to be used. Before each competition began, the contest participants were given 2 minutes to get the ingredients they needed. After that, each competition was given a limited time to finish.
The finished preparations were then presented in front for the food judges to taste and to score.
Pilgrim Christian College won the Search for the Best Ham Sandwich, while the CIC took home the Summer Smoothie Competition, and the Cashew Nut Competition awards.
Towards the evening, a panel of 20 judges went around to do food tasting from the merchant and non-merchant booths that registered for the Lifestyle Writer’s Choice for Best Dish Award.
The group was brought around and escorted by members of the Professional Organizers Unlimited.
For Team aboutcagayandeoro.com, KC and Yani were invited as food judges.
The second day featured more culinary competitions such as the Veggie Dish Challenge and Giant Salad Competition.
The latter contest is supposed to highlight having Northern Mindanao’s biggest salad bowl. Guests and participants then had their taste and fill of the salad bowls. Overall, the CIC once again ran away with the top prizes for both contests.
In the evening, the booths at the garden area featured their top grill menu lineups for customers wanting to partake their dinner at the garden area with DJ Red belting out dance tunes in the background.
The third day featured the Sticky Rice Innovation and Ceviche Challenge wherein both culinary contests were once again won by CIC.
Naturally, during the awarding ceremonies, the overall champion was awarded to the Culinary Institute of Cagayan de Oro.
The third day was also topped off by being hosted by Kapuso Taste Buddies Solenn Heussaff and Iya Villania with local Cagayan de Oro host Ray Cid.
In the evening the dinner area was filled to capacity once again as the food booths offered their different “all-you-can” buffets while the acoustic band, Vital Signs, played in the background to the delight of the dinner goers. A fire-dance even took place at the Capt. Vicente Roa Street entrance area as part of the last day highlights.
For the Lifestyle Writer’s Choice Awards for the Mall Merchant’s Category, the following winners were decided on by the panel of judges:
5th Place – Blue Marlin by Barkadahan Grill
4th Place – Rice Toppings by Thai Me Up
3rd Place – Matcha and Red Bean Muron by Nanay Choleng’s Muron
2nd Place – Crispy Pata by Mesa
1st Place – Crispy Tadyang with Shrimp Rice by Panagatan
For the Exhibitor’s Category, the following winners were decided on by the same panel of judges:
5th Place – Hazelnut Brew by Sikwate and Carrot Cake by Sea Cakes (two-way tie)
4th Place – Chocolate Cake by Chocolate House
3rd Place – Hayashi Bread Curry Flavor by Arc’s and Z’net
2nd Place – Red Velvet Cupcake by Heavenly Indulgence
1st Place – Sisig by Samuel Vjandep
With the Big Bites! Flavors of Summer, everyone now accepts the fact that summer and the heat it brings is once again upon our city, and with it, the summer food and taste that goes along with it.