When Food, Literature and Culture meet

The Food for Life: Lessons from the Garden Conference was held at the University of San Carlos – Talamban Campus from November 16. 2023 – November 18, 2023. Sponsored by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and in cooperation with the Department of Communications, Linguistics, and Literature – USC SAS (DCLL), the Mamugnaong Anak sa Dagang – M.A.D and the Inotherwords Incorporated (IOW). Spearheaded by Dr. Hope Sabanpan-Yu, the conference was a huge success in spreading the knowledge and information about Philippine culture’s delicacies and others.

The conference focuses on our comprehension with food, literature and culture. From the simplicity of pamainit, to the political origin of the Siomai Festival of Cebu’s Barangay Tisa. An in-depth grasp on how food can change a person’s life ang has grown to a bigger perception of culture and literature. The conference also tackled the medical side of food from the home-made remedies of Lagundi as a substitute for pharmaceutical medicines for coughs. To the usage of flowers as for food and for medicine. 

The first day was welcomed by Dr. Patrick John Lim the Project Director followed by the keynote speaker of the day, Dr. Resil Mojares, the National Artist for Literature and a Professor Emeritus of the University of San Carlos. The conference itself was also participated by multiple graduates, instructors, masters and doctors from multiple areas of the Visayas.

The second day was opened by the keynote speaker Dr. Joycie Alegre, with her unforgettable presentation, “The Seriousness of the Mild Waray Taste”. A glimpse on how the Waray’s preferences on food and how the Eastern Visayas has created a name for the Philippines’ wide range of delicacies.

The Conference was also attended by the University’s very own Instructors as well, namely: Dr. Reah Fabrica, Dr. Cristie Ann Jaca, Dr. Rowanne Mangompit and Ivan Grant Orais, a fresh graduate of the University. They were also joined by Dr. Maricris Lauro – Henderson from Cebu Technological University – Danao Campus. Showcasing their research and Teaching modules for the students. Namely: “Co-opting Tuslob-buwa”, “Word Formation and the Culture of Painit”, “Food Experiences in Conversations”, and “Food as Provenance in Merlinda Bobis’ Banana Heart Summer” respectively.

Words by Ivan Orais