Tales Behind the Taste

Somehow, food is more delicious with stories. Either personal stories were shared over meal with friends, or the dish itself has a history behind it…on how it was prepared & cooked or from whence it was inspired from.

Mga Kwentong Pagkain Contest

Mga Kwentong Pagkain Writing Contest

Mga Kwentong Pagkain

And with that concept, Mams Sita’s came about their potful of food stories since three years ago through the “Ikatlong Pagkilala sa Natatanging Mga Kwentong Pagkain” (3rd recognition of special food stories) last February 24, 2016 .

We were at the foodie gathering at The Illustrado Restaurant in Intramuros, Manila where Mama Sita’s Foundation awarded the winning storytellers of last year’s Mga Kwentong Pagkain., an annual food storytelling tilt.

Serenaded by a rondalla playing folk songs, the awarding ceremony was at the same time a celebration of Filipino cuisine, culture, and heritage.

Ilustrado, Intramuros

Ilustrado in Intramuros

Siling Labuyo

Siling Labuyo, anyone?

Harana ng Kwento

Harana ng Kwento

Guests were served, not only a hearty lunch of ensalada, kare-kare, pancit, paella, and mung bean soup, but also a helping of good cheer as Mrs. Clara Reyes Lapus, daughter of Teresita “Mama Sita” Reyes and President of the Mama Sita Foundation, welcomed them with a message of thanksgiving.

Tales of the Tummy

Contestants of 2015’s food storytelling tilt came from all over the country and were written by people of all ages. One winning entry even came all the way from Virginia, USA–written by an expat who craved for the taste of home.

Mama Sita's Recipes

Recipes from Mama Sita

“Most of our entries are in the essay form,” says information officer Ces Nepomuceno, “but we also encourage the submission of stories in other forms of storytelling such as poetry and video.”

The winners of the 2015 Mga Kwentong Pagkain:

  • Papa’s Japanese Rice by Teresa Carandang Tiongson, Virginia, USA (Personal Category)
  • Batil Patong, Tuguegarao’s Pancit Masterpiece by Aileen Ibañez -Tuguegarao City, Cagayan (Regional Category)
  • Lolo Isko’s Special Kilawin by Armando Suñe – Jaro, Iloilo (Heritage Category)
 Aileen Ibañez

“Batil Patong” (Regional Category) was written by Aileen Ibañez who traveled from Tuguegarao City to join the celebration.

Sol Vanzi

Veteran food columnist Sol Vanzi together with Armando Suñe from Jaro, Iloilo, who won the heritage category for his story, Lolo Isko’s Kilawin

Katrina Martin

Katrina Martin (2nd from left), a UP Creative Writing Student, received a special citation for her story, “The Dendelot of Isabela”

Special Citation:

  • Mga Mumunting Alaala sa Harap ng La Mesa by Jayson Rey Sto. Niño – Pinagbuhatan, Pasig City
  • Luyang Dilaw: Sa Hapag ng mga Rebelde ng North Cotabato by Jose Paolo Calcetas, Sta. Cruz, Laguna
  • Adobong Biya sa Ilalim ng Punong Mangga by Maridel Pacleb, Parang Marikina
  • Ang Sandok ni Lolo Ben by Cez Nicole Bazar, Oroquieta City, Misamis Occidental
  • Sayote and Anything by Ruby Cariño, Camp 7, Baguio City
  • Si Mila Amazona at ang Talinhaga sa Kusina by Jose Paolo Calcetas, Sta. Cruz Laguna
  • Lent’s Silver Lining: The Dendelot of Isabela By Katrina Martin, Brgy Doña Josefa, Quezon City


This year’s judges are renowned food historian and book author Felice Prudente Sta. Maria, Dr. Anthropology professor and Head of Ateneo’s Cultural Heritage Studies Program Dr. Fernando Zialcita, the Adobo Book author and Pinoy Foodie host Nancy Reyes-Lumen, Doctor of Philosophy in Philippine Studies and Founder of Kaloob Music and Dance Ministry Dr. Eduardo Lapiz.

Felice Prudente Sta. Maria

Food and cultural historian and author Felice Prudente Sta. Maria challenges young people to write more about our food culture.

Mga Kwentong Pagkain 2015 Winners

The winners of this year’s Mga Kuwentong Pagkain together with the judges (from left) Jayson Rey Sto. Niño, Felice Sta. Maria, Aileen Ibañez, Antonio Carandang, Armando Suñe, Maridel Pacleb, Katrina Martin, Dr. Eduardo Lapiz

“We need more young people writing about our food culture. Don’t let it happen that it’s just us with the white ID cards who write about heritage,” says Sta. Maria, referring to people who hold senior citizen cards. “We need you to write, you will replace us!”

Marjorie Uy

Marjorie Uy of NomNom Club with some past year’s winners of MKP

Mga Kwentong Pagkain is an annual food storytelling contest organized by Mama Sita Foundation. The contest was started in 2013 in an effort to promote Teresita “Mama Sita” Reyes’s advocacy of elevating the Filipino culinary heritage by getting ordinary people, food enthusiasts, and anyone with a story to tell, to share and talk about food that is culturally one’s own.

Madrid Fusion

To add more excitement to the already joyous affair, a raffle was drawn for the guests. Mama Sita Foundation gave away five tickets to this year’s Madrid Fusion Manila, to be held on April 7-9, 2016 at the SMX Convention Center. This year, Mama Sita’s will participate with a booth showcasing the taste sensations of Filipino cuisine.

Mama SIta's

Mama SIta’s

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Know more about “Mga Kwentong Pagkain” and the Mama Sita Foundation, through their website. Congratulations to all the winners and the organizer – Mama Sita’s!

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