Local Flavors Showcased on Air for Filipino Food Month

ATI’s Filipino Food Month series on “Agri Asenso” includes Forest Wood Garden’s Pansit Kalabuko that is infused with rich flavor and the health benefits of fresh kabute, kalabasa, and buko. (photo by Forest Wood Garden)

DILIMAN, Quezon City – Who says tasty and healthy can’t go together?

In celebration of the Filipino Food Month last April, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) introduced unique local flavors and concepts for good health and preservation of Filipino food on ‘Agri Asenso’ on DZRH.

Forest Wood Garden’s Pansit Kalabuko and Plantsado Lamang Lupa headlined the month-long feature of the farm-to-table concept and plant-based nutrition in the agency’s weekly radio program.

Pansit Kalabuko is a mix of ingredients found in the farm, namely, kabute, kalabasa, and buko.

“Most children dislike eating vegetables, but because the noodles are made out of vegetables, and with its very colorful presentation, it became enticing to them,” Forest Wood Garden owner Joel Frago said as he spoke about Pansit Kalabuko on the radio program.

On the other hand, Plantsado Lamang Lupa is made from root crops like arrowroot, potato, taro, cassava, gabi, and tugui with buko mixed in sugar, wrapped in banana leaves, and flattened with hot, traditional iron.

Aside from vegetables and high value crops, Forest Wood Garden also has free-range, native, and hybrid chickens. The Fragos have also ventured into food art to attract more customers to their farm and food business.

The farm, located in San Pablo, Laguna, is a Learning Site for Agriculture of the ATI and an accredited Farm Tourism Site.

In the following episode, Balay sa Hardin’s specialties were front and center. These include ginataang hipon with pako, garden salad, adobong free-range chicken, and Spanish sardines wrapped in spinach leaves.

Balay sa Hardin is a 3,000-square-meter integrated Learning Site in Iligan City which offers dine-in experience using all the available ingredients in the farm. Their trademark dish of ginataang hipon with pako is a result of an experiment with pako which is abundant in the area.

“We wanted to be able to grow our own food and have our own source of tasty, healthy, and fresh food,” Dr. Eldani “Budji” Fernando, farm veterinarian and owner of Balay sa Hardin, said during his live interview on “Agri Asenso”.

The consumption of indigenous vegetables, as showcased in the featured dishes, is key to improving health and nutrition, according to lifestyle medicine specialist and chief executive officer of Remnant Institute Inc. Dr. Mechelle Acero-Palma.

As she discussed the basics of plant-based diet to cap off the month-long food-themed episodes of "Agri Asenso", Acero-Palma encouraged the listeners and viewers to know and adopt healthy alternative source of nutrients needed by the body.

“We need to educate people so that they would have new knowledge or just re-learn things so that they can integrate plant-based food in their diet,” she said.

The Filipino Food Month, celebrated by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 469, s. 2018, aims to promote the preservation and identity of local Filipino flavors. It also pays tribute to local farmers and fishers who work hard despite climate and health crises to provide food on the table of every Filipino family.

The ATI’s “Agri Asenso” airs every Saturday, 5PM-6PM, on DZRH AM, TV, Facebook, and YouTube.

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