The Ilocano rice cake “dudol” took residents and visitors down memory lane on Monday as the local government of Paoay kept its taste of tradition over the years.
As part of an age-old tradition in celebration of the town’s annual Guling-Guling Festival, the dudol-making fair continues to attract tourists as they get to experience a unique food fair and merry-making that promotes this particular rice cake.
Dudol is an Ilocano native delicacy made of rice flour, coconut milk and fresh sugarcane juice. It is said to have come through the Malay and Indian settlements in the coastal towns of the Ilocos region before the arrival of the Spaniards.
The secret to making a good dudol is to patiently and continuously stir the ingredients over slow fire until it thickens and becomes smooth.
In the town of Paoay, dudol is served as a local treat during the Guling-Guling Festival, which is held before Ash Wednesday, the last day for merrymaking before the start of the Lenten season.
During the festival, the town celebrates its heritage and Asian roots and dudol makes for the perfect symbol of the town’s rich cultural heritage.
This year, the fair was held at the Sawang Bridge in Barangay Laoa where residents took part in the preparation on Monday.
Visitors mostly composed of tourism students from the different towns and cities of Ilocos Norte, including balikbayans and local officials, feasted on the local delicacies, while locals shared their techniques for making this age-old delicacy.
“We are so excited to witness the dudol-making food fair. It does not only fill the stomach but you get to witness and experience firsthand the rich tradition of the municipality,” said Redge Acapuyan, a visitor from Tuguegarao City, Cagayan.
The town’s merchants like Gemma Alegado said the festival is good for business as visitors spend more time and money when they visit Paoay.
“We make good sales of our Inabel (the locally-weaved cloth famous in Ilocos) and cornick (corn) products during the festival. Tourists buy them as souvenirs or pasalubong,” she said. (PNA)