By CHRIS V. PANGANIBAN, Contributing EditorPROSPERIDAD, Agusan del Sur — Even without Gina Lopez, the lumad women’s group in Loreto town which popularized the “Libas” jam will continue making it with an enhanced globally competitive product.
The Libas Jam, a product of Indigenous People –Local Researchers in Agusan Marsh and Sectoral Association (IP-LORAMSECA) , is on display at the Naliyagan Festival 2017 at the trade booths located along the Datu Lipus Makapandong Cultural Center.
Marilyn Trasmil, chairperson of IP-LORAMSECA, said the old folks has been using Libas fruits (indigenous mangosteen)as an alternative to vinegar to cook sour stewed fish (paksiw) or locally called inon-onan but found a way to develop it as income generating “Libas Jam”.
“It took us time to research how to produce another product for Libas with a better commercial value,” Trasmil said.
Aside from the Libas fruit, the jam is made of other indigenous ingredients like brown sugar and turmeric ginger.
Salome Acopiado, a staff of PENRO-LGU, said GIZ, said a German funding institution which has project on the development of indigenous rural system in Loreto, came to help them with an initial P60,000 fund to purchase cooking materials and kitchen wares like stove, kettles, head dress and aprons for the production of Libas Jams.
Trasmil said the advent of Libas Jams would help discourage lumad residents from cutting the libas trees for the use as charcoal in making the haluan dried fish since they find the charcoal produces blue flame while some others used it as a lumber post on their building houses.
Seeing the dwindling stocks of Libas trees naturally growing along Agusan Marsh, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources through their National Greening Program has tapped –IP-LORAMSECA for the replanting of Libas around an identified 100-hectare area with P2 million project cost.
The Libas Jam caught the attention of former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez during her visit in Butuan City early this year as she vowed to help the lumad women’s group enhance their product by sending her personal chef who has wide international experience in five star hotels.
Indeed, even as Lopez did not made it at the Commission on Appointments, the chef came to help them produce several other food products with global competitiveness.
Trasmil said they went into three-day training in Loreto, a follow up at DENR Caraga in Butuan and to their big surprise displayed their products in an actual cooking exhibition at Robinson’s Place.
Grinded Libas were mixed with another indigenous yam locally called as ‘Unaw” were mixed as flour to produce different pastries and other food prducts.
The mall goers were allowed to taste the Libas pastries and baked products like pizza, cookies, muffins and even brownies cakes to their delight.
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