The city is expected to draw visitors as it celebrates its 3rd Marunggay Festival with a series of fun-filled activities this month including a cooking contest.
Marunggay is the Ilokano name for malunggay or the moringa plant.
No longer considered a poor man’s vegetable, marunggay trees are grown everywhere in this city as it is considered a “superfood” for the locals, particularly among the sexagenarians.
On June 20-21, a Dulang Food Fair will be conducted at the Laoag City Multi-purpose Center where the best of the best marunggay recipe will be up for a cooking competition.
The competition is open to all the city’s 80 villages and the participants can use marunggay leaves as well as its edible flowers, and fruits as the main dish, snack, or dessert.
Other Ilokano food products will also be made available for free taste and for sale at the Dulang food fair.
“Trainers from the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) will likewise facilitate skills training on marunggay food processing to all interested participants,” said city tourism officer Angel Lao in a media interview on Wednesday.
To date, all the city’s 80 villages are currently expanding their marunggay plantations, utilizing idle lots, including village streets which are now planted with marunggay trees.
In the city alone, marunggay has been a “very profitable livelihood source” for the impoverished community.
Through the government’s various intervention programs to provide livelihood training, including those on food processing, marunggay leaves are now turned into noodles, cookies, pretzels, pan de sal (Filipino bread roll), and beauty products such as soaps, lotions, and many others.
As of this posting, the city tourism officer said that preparations are now in full swing for the month-long celebration which will also coincide with the city’s commemoration of its 58th Charter anniversary.
This year, the city tourism office is spearheading the festivity with various activities which include sing and dance competition sponsored by Vertext Handyphones, a motor show, and band competition, and a trade fair featuring a wide array of Asian delights at the Laoag Aurora Food Park.
There will also be an unveiling of the Laoag City Tourism Information Board and a blessing of the tourist information center. (PNA)