My Ubi Festival 2017 Experience
Bohol is one of the places in the Philippines that I will never get tired of visiting. I’m satisfied with all my previous trips to the province. Bohol is the ultimate foodie traveler paradise: good food, beautiful beaches, heritage sites galore, thrilling adventure spots, and very inspiring and hospitable people. As a traveler, the only thing I can ask for is to visit Bohol again. And because I have stashed away all the luck given to me by all the maneki neko in my recent trip to Tokoname, I fortunately received another invitation to visit Bohol again for the Ubi Festival 2017 celebration.
Ubi Festival 2017 is an annual celebration organized by the Provincial Government of Bohol in partnership with AirAsia, Amorita Resort, and Bohol Provincial Tourism Council. It began in the year 2000, and has, since then, been celebrated every second week of January.
Ubi, usually spelled ube in most parts of the country, is not just Bohol’s finest produce. It is also the symbol of the province. It is widely believed that the crop became the staple food of the locals during World War II, when rice and corn fields were too devastated to sustain other crops. The festival is held to honor the one and only ubi. Some of the highlights of the annual festival are exhibits, ube-related contests, agri-business seminars, and a cultural show.
It was just about lunchtime when we arrived at Bohol. We had our very warm welcome lunch in Saffron Restaurant in Amorita Resort. Saffron Restaurant is one of the two restaurants inside the resort, and is known for offering the best Boholano heritage dishes. Our meal served as my silent, crash-course, re-introduction to the Boholano way of life.
We proceeded to Bohol Cultural Center afterwards to attend the opening program of Ubi Festival 2017. After this was the ribbon cutting ceremony on the Plaza Rizal in Tagbilaran City, which officially launched the Ubi Festival 2017 Trade Fair. The Fair showcased several varieties of ubi, and it was amazing how much there were. Some of the varieties displayed in the fair included kinampay, baligonhon, tam-isan, binugas, and kuridas. Each one has distinct characteristics and each one is more suited for a certain use than another. It was amazing how the locals specialized in ubi to such a great extent.
During the opening program, Governor Edgar Chatto also sliced an ubi to officially launch the year 2017 as the United Nations World Tourism Organization International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. Forget ribbon cutting, ubi cutting is how the Boholanos do it here!
We returned to Amorita Resort, our official accommodation, after the programs. It seems like a short day when I write it, but it was a long and festive one. Therefore, it was only fitting that we ended our day the same way we started it in the province—with a special, full-course Boholano dinner.
The chef in Saffron Restaurant prepared some very unique ubi dishes for us.
We had some delicious ube soft rolls baked to perfection. Fried ube prawn puffs were also on our plates, smothered in some rich, hoisin barbeque sauce for extra flavor. The pickled cabbage salad that came with it complimented the saltiness. We were also surprised at how magnificently the pork soup with purple yam and shitake mushroom dish tasted.
Followed by those were servings of the restaurant’s special Surf and Turf: Aged Australian Ribeye Yakiniku with Soy Glazed Shrimp Mushroom plated on top of mashed purple yam. Another Boholano ubi creation was the prawn tempura on sesame bok choy and purple yam Mousseline sauce, along with some ginger sweet soy.
To cap the evening off we had Ubi Lava Cake for dessert.
We also went to the nearby Amarela Beach Resort to visit their mini museum. It showcases various paintings and woodworks created by local artists. And as if we forgot about how satiated we were with our dinner earlier, we sampled their special Ube Turon with Mango Sticky Rice.
I got the most out of my experience in Bohol once again. There were a lot of festivities, happy people, and most especially, plenty of ubi. I would be happy to spend all of my luck to be invited to go to Bohol once again soon, amidst my very busy traveler schedule!
Philippines AirAsia offers daily flights from NAIA Terminal 4 to Tagbilaran, Bohol. Keep updated with AirAsia’s latest promotion and activities via Twitter (@AirAsiaPH), Philippines AirAsia Facebook Page, Instagram (@AirAsiaPh), and on Viber public chat (@AirAsiaPh).