March 11 to 13, 2016 sure was a lovely weekend! Big Bite 2016: The Northern Mindanao Food Festival at Centrio Ayala Mall truly showcased not only the flavors of summer but the undeniably skillful cooking talents of Kagay-anons.
I had the chance to witness this Mindanao food festival as one of the judges for the Lifestyle Writers’ Choice award for this year’s Best Dish, much thanks to the Centrio Mall management and Professional Organizers. I tried about 10 dishes for the mall merchants category and about 15 (IKR :D) for outside food exhibitors. Needless to say, I was a very happy camper that weekend 😉
Let me share with you some of the photos I took during Big Bite 2016 – The Northern Mindanao Food Festival.
These colorful umbrellas were installed at the garden area. As expected, numerous people have taken photos and have shared the same via their social networking accounts.
This was during the opening ceremonies. Regional Tourism Director Catalino Chan was the keynote speaker and, together with Oro Chamber of Commerce President Jeffrey Ang, SLERS CEO Fely Pelaez, Mercedes Bakery owner Mercedes Mejia and Pamela Mendez and Hammer Roa of Centrio Mall, he christened this as the biggest ham sandwich in Northern Mindanao.
There were cooking competitions for schools. This bagged the top prize for the Best Ham Sandwich contest. Congratulations to my friend Boogie Rivera and the rest of his team mates from Pilgrim Christian College!
The Culinary Institute of Cagayan de Oro, on the other hand, received the awards for the Summer Smoothie Competition and the Cashew Nut Challenge.
Various booths that featured local products, delicacies, desserts, vegetables fresh from the farm, organic products and cooked food were found all over the garden area of the mall.
Now let’s start with my fave finds! The Sikwate Hazelnut by Sikwate Brew was a delight. I liked that the drink wasn’t too sweet. A steal for Php 45. Sikwate Brew has a branch at Pabayo corner Chavez Sts.
I love leche flan! VJandep served this super creamy, absolutely delicious leche flan. Must-try!
Boneless crispy pata, anyone? Head on to MESA Restaurant for this treat. The meat was succulent and flavorful and the skin was crispy. Perfect for sharing.
I chose Panagatan’s crispy tadyang with shrimp rice and pepper sauce as my top pick for the best dish (mall merchants category). Apparently my co-judges agreed with me because this was adjudged as the Lifestyle Writers’ Choice for Best Dish! 🙂
One of my favorite booths was Heavenly Indulgence CDO. They sold macaroons like this one, red velvet cupcakes and premium chocolate brownies. I actually went back and bought macaroons and chocolate chip cookies. They were so good that when I offered them to my family, they were wiped out in a New York minute 😀 Heavenly Indulgence bagged the second top prize under the outside food exhibitors category, by the way! Congratulations!
My other favorites – Brownie Bites by Bite Me Up! Corporation (you can buy them from Thai Me Up – Capistrano branch, VJandep Pasalubong Center at Bulua and at Laguindingan Airport), the pistachio loaf by Candy’s Cafe, Pop’s Kitchen (their bagnet is a winner) and Pepper Lunch’s beef pepper rice.
The other winners under the mall merchant category were: crispy pata by Mesa, Matcha and Red Bean Muron by Nanay Choleng’s Muron (another fave of mine! My mother and I are big fans of this!), rice toppings by Thai Me Up and Grilled Blue Marlin by Barkadahan Grill (this was my second top pick).
Winners for the exhibitors category: 1st place – Sisig by Samuel by VJandep, 2nd – Red Velvet Cupcakes by Heavenly Indulgence, 3rd – Hayashi Bread Curry Flavor, 4th – Chocolate Cake by Chocolate House and 5th – Hazelnut Brew by Sikate and Carrot Cake by Sea Cakes (tie)
Congratulations, everyone! And big cheers to Centrio Mall for this successful food festival. Here’s hoping that there will be more events that will truly showcase Northern Mindanao’s colorful and delectable food! Thank you also to the Professional Organizers for the invitation and to all the business owners who accommodated us. Salamat!