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October 31, 2005

Duman Festival: Celebrating Tradition by Karen Shih


Life goes on in a small town in rural Philippines. All manner of modern conveniences are embraced to make life easier. Once a year however, specifically when the winter winds from Siberia blow down on the tropical islands, the townsfolk pay homage to the traditional way of producing a light golden green rice cereal from half-ripe red-husked glutinous rice called lacatan malutu.

What has turned into a grassroots festival is steeped in the Filipino culture of bayanihan (cooperative effort between neighbouring farms) during harvest season where singing and guitar-playing accompany the rhythmic pounding of the mortar and pestle. The task that is by nature arduous is lightened by camaraderie and merry-making.

For our first post on Ya Rayi, in typical Filipino fashion, we extend our hospitality to our readers - with our hearts wide open. We invite you to know us better by joining in on the preparation for the festivities. ('We' and 'our' because there are two Filipinas on the Ya Rayi roll now.)

I wrote about last year’s Duman Festival on my blog. This year, I’m making good on my promise to document the process of bringing it from the field to the table. In fact, I was out taking pictures of the lacatan malutu yesterday, with my two companions comparing (regular) rice leaves and stalks with those of the lacatan. Most of the documentation will be on the festival website but I may update this entry from time to time.



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Hi Stef,

From my end, I used to think that the lacatan bananas were named after glutinous rice because of the smooth and sticky texture.

I was corresponding with an Indonesian blogger and she mentioned that 'ketan' means sticky rice in Javanese. That made me wonder if originally we also used 'ketan' or 'katan' as part of the Indo-Malayan ethnolinguistic group then added the prefix 'la-' during the Spanish colonial period. Hmmm... I'm guessing here and would love to hear what others think.

Karen, from one Filipino to another, would you happen to know the origin of the world "lacatan"? I am only familiar with the lacatan banana -- my favorite as a child. Is lacatan perhaps an adjective that signifies a certain texture?

Thank you Chef Zadi! If we could only express half of what Filipino hospitality is, then Stef and I'll already be successful.

Hi Karen

"in typical Filipino fashion, we extend our hospitality to our readers - with our hearts wide open. We invite you to know us better by joining in on the preparation for the festivities"

What an invitation! Food is so personal and when someone understands and loves what "we" eat it is as if they truly know us. I look forward to what you and Stephanie have to share.

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