My City, My SM, My Cuisine Baliwag celebrates Food and Heroes

Bulacan takes pride in its rich historical and cultural heritage. It is the birthplace of the First Constitutional Democracy in Asia, the cradle of noble heroes, and home to many national artists.

And when My City, My SM, My Cuisine recently made a stop at SM City Baliwag, it showcased Bulacan’s cuisine side by side with its heroes, Marcelo H. del Pilar and Mariano Ponce, both major players in the propaganda movement against Spain. It gave mallgoers a rare glimpse into the everyday lives of these great men by highlighting their homes, their families, and the food they loved to eat.

A joint project of SM and the Philippine Star with support from Homeworld, My City, My SM, My Cuisine Season 2 celebrates the flavors of Philippine regional cuisine through a culinary contest featuring two signature recipes from ten cities where SM malls are located.

Held just in time for Bulacan’s Singkaban Festival, the event was also highlighted by a cook fest that showcased two of the city’s signature dishes – Serkele, a spicy and savory stew of thinly cut beef entrails simmered in vinegar and beef blood; and Puto desserts made from rich flour or glutinous rice.

Alex de la Cruz and Aileen Indon were adjudged winners for their versions of Serkele and Puto Dessert recipes, respectively. Their delightful flavors and food presentation got the nod of the distinguished board of judges, which included Ilustrado Restaurant General Manager Bea Pimentel, Mariano Ponce descendant Nanelle Ponce Gonzalez, Mod Magazine Editor Mel Cardel, Philippine Star Advertising Manager Mike Maneze, and Metropolitan Museum Trustee Cora Alvina.

They each received P5,000 worth of SM Gift Certificates and Homeworld Gift Packs from the Philippine Star’s Mike Maneze, SM City Baliwag Mall Manager Architect Andrew Cristobal, Assistant Mall Manager Ardee Tolentino , and SM Vice President for Marketing Millie Dizon. The rest of the finalists received P1,000 worth of SM Gift Certificates and Gift Packs from Homeworld.

The event took guests back in time with elegant showcases of the dining rooms of the del Pilar and Ponce ancestral homes. Antique pieces very generously lent by the Ponce family as well as the Pamana Antique Shop’s Patrick Mallari added to its nostalgic appeal.

Members of the Ponce family – former Councilor JJ Ponce, Nanelle Ponce Gonzalez, and Lito Ponce Gonzales – shared the recipes for two of their great grandfather’s favorite dishes – Tempura (which his Japanese wife Okiyo liked to prepare) and Sinampalukang Manok na may Usbong ng Sampaloc.

Ms. Corina Unson, on the other hand, represented the del Pilar family, sharing her great grandfather’s favorite Puchero recipe with the audience. It is said that just as Marcelo H. del Pilar aimed for excellence in his writings, he was also very meticulous about how Puchero with Ensaladang Talong would be cooked and served.

Bulacan’s culinary tradition was shown in a specially prepared video wherein Bong Enriquez, son of food historian the late Milagros Enriquez talked about his mother’s book Kasaysayan ng Kaluto sa Bayan, which features the favorite recipes of heroes.

Among these were General Emilio Aguinaldo’s Nilagang Manok Puti with Asparagus, Andres Bonifacio’s Nilitsong Manok sa Saha (Chicken Wrapped in a Banana Trunk Sap), General Eusebio Roque’s Tapang Kalabaw, General Gregorio del Pilar’s Arroz ala Cubana, and Puto Caramba, which were all laid out in a delicious spread.

Recipes of the Convent Chefs or Kusinero de Çampanilla – Asado de Carajay and Hamon Bulakenya- also delighted the guests, as did favorite foods of the Women of Malolos – Gurgurya, Kurbata de Cebo, Pastillas, Inipit, and Ensaymadang Malolos.

Nanay Luz Ocampo’s exquisite pastilles wrappers and carved fruits preserved in jars were also showcased side by side with tower cupcakes in honor of Marcelo H. del Pilar and Mariano Ponce.

One of the highlights of the event was a balagtasan featuring a verbal joust on Pagkain Noon at Ngayon by students from the Balatong Elementary School – Kaye Baez, Cristine Balaiz, and Odessa Colegua. Lara Lavinia Bayani’s soulful kundiman renditions and music by the Flumaviron rondalla highlighted the nostalgic theme in the program hosted by Uddie Bernardo.

My City, My SM, My Cuisine in Baliwag is the fifth in Season 2 of this exciting culinary road show, which was launched in April at SM City Rosales with the best Bangus and Tupig recipes. It later celebrated the specialties of the province of Rizal and the city of Marikina, and featuring a cookfest for the best Binabaysan na Alimango or Alimasag and Suman sa Ibos at SM City Masinag. Just in time for the Rizal@150 celebrations, foodies vied for the best Lutong Instik entrée and Buko Pie dessert; while our National hero’s descendants featured their heirloom recipes at SM City Calamba.

Last year, it made stops in thirteen stops all over the country, beginning in Santa Rosa where participants competed for the best Puchero with Lauya and Puto Maya with Kilawing Puso ng Saging. Its last stop was in SM City Clark, where Kapampangan foodies showcased the best Tidtad and Tocino del Cielo recipes.

My City, My SM, My Cuisine is a joint project of SM and the Philippine Star with support from SM Homeworld and SM Supermarket.

SM shoppers and Philippine Star readers can submit their recipe of their city’s selected entrée and dessert along with their name, address, and occupation to They can also mail these to the Publicity Department, Building C, SM Corporate Office, JW Diokno Boulevard, Pasay City, or the Lifestyle Section of the Philippine Star at R. Oca Jr. and Railroad Streets, Port Area, Manila.

Ten finalists will be selected – five for entrees and five for dessert. Two winners – one for entrée and one for dessert – will be selected from each city during the culinary contest that will be held in time for the city’s festival. The two winners will each receive P5,000 worth of SM Gift Certificates, while finalists will receive packs from SM Homeworld.

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