MAMA SITA Foundation opens “Mga Kuwentong Pagkain” contest

Philippine culinary legend Teresita “Mama Sita” Reyes is known for being a natural listener and storyteller. She loved gathering recipes from family, friends, cooks, vendors, and farmers – anyone who shared her passion for cooking. Her recipes, hand-written in her distinctive long-hand style, weren’t just lists of ingredients and cooking processes, but were also compilations of tips, hints and anecdotes about marketing, preparing, cooking, and most importantly, the social and historical context of the community.

Kusina ni Mama Sita’s Mga Kuwentong Pagkain, Atbp started as a contest that aims to gather authentic, little-known Philippine food stories including heritage food, regional/ ethnic food and culinary traditions.

Mama Sita’s recipes were actually introspections about our rich history and culture through the lens of our cuisine. It is this spirit of food writing that the Mama Sita Foundation has pursued in its yearly “Mga Kuwentong Pagkain” contest that is open to anyone willing to tell an interesting story about food – detailed accounts of local or regional recipes, ingredient, food preparation, rituals or personal experiences – anything that can further promote awareness and appreciation for Philippine cuisine.

Stories may be submitted in the form of an essay, a video or a poem. Essays may be handwritten or typewritten, with a maximum word count of 2,000 words. Video submissions have a maximum running time of 10 minutes, while poems may be written in any form (e.g. sestina, sonnet, tanaga, haiku, free verse, prose poetry) with a maximum of 300 words. Poems may also be performed and recorded on video or audio and submitted via CD. Entries may be in English or Filipino, and while regional dialects are highly encouraged, entries must have comprehensible subtitles or appropriate translation.

KALABASANG BIKO is a local delicacy from Cagayan de Oro City. Unlike the usual biko, this one makes use of kalabasa to make the rice pudding tastier and more appetizing.

Participants may submit in three categories: Heritage Category, Regional/Local Category and Personal Experience Category. The Heritage Category entries are stories on historic dishes and food preparation, traditions and rituals focusing on food, or family heirloom recipes. The Regional/Local Category focuses on regional or local cuisine, which includes local dishes or delicacies, artisanal specialties, food customs/rituals, exotic native ingredients or food preparation methods. The Personal Experience Category highlights intimate non-fictional food stories that showcase interpersonal relationships, journeys and catharses.

Entries in all categories will be judged according to: Content and Significance to Philippine Cuisine (40 percent), Presentation (25 percent), Originality (25 percent) and Over-all Impact (10 percent). The Grand Prize winner per category will be awarded P10,000, while Special Citations will be awarded to entries with merit. Both Grand Prize and Special Citation winners will receive a medal and special gift items from Kusina ni Mama Sita.


All entries must be submitted on or before September 30, 2015. To join, download and accomplish the entry form from Submissions and accomplished entry forms may be emailed to [email protected] or snail-mailed with the title “Mga Kuwentong Pagkain at Iba Pa” and sent to Kusina ni Mama Sita, 131 F. Manalo St., San Juan, Metro Manila 1500.

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