“We cook heritage in our kitchens.”


These words of our Production Director, Mayee Fabregas, captures perfectly the authority of food to have a place in the table of  heritage. I think of my Lola taking command of her wood-burning “dapug”, armed with a bamboo blow to keep the fire burning. Or, my aunt tossing her amazing “lumpia ubod” stuffing with one hand, while the other hand rested on her waist, as if that made all the difference.

As an advocate of Negrense heritage, the Negros Season of Culture will shift editorial spotlight to food in the months of July and August this year. Traditionally part of our wet season, the cooler climate provides a cozy backdrop to take on our favorite soup dishes. Warmth in a Bowl started out as a social experiment after a backyard survey revealed that 80% of our favorite food selections required some slurping.

The ubiquitous laswa, the Negrense superfood.

The series ladles up the most popular soups generated by our social experiment, from refreshing consommés to hearty chowders, and versions thereof, as happens between families, between kitchens. Many are swayed by ingredients that abound locally. Others are dictated by prized family recipes executed by well-trained “kusineras”. One of them is this wholesome and invigorating “laswa”, a rich vegetable soup kept as close as possible to nature, unadulterated by unhealthy seasonings.

Heritage, however, is not carved in stone. It is a developing story of a human community. What we know as culinary heritage today was formed through the years. It absorbed influences foreign to it, from the Malays, Chinese, Spanish, Americans. We can probably expect that half a century from now our food heritage will be more complex, but hopefully without losing its trademark identities.

That hope rests on our young and maverick chefs. Our second food project, Beyond Borders, features three who have quickly established names for themselves at home, running their own popular restaurants.  BJ Uy of East Bite Asian Kitchen, Don Colmenares of Berbeza Bistro, and Nico Millanes of Portiko Café and Lounge lead the local restaurant scene with stylized takes on dishes we have grown to love, as well as regional fares we have grown to enjoy.

We follow their work as they pursue the Negrense’s passion for culinary adventure beyond traditional borders. They are modern-day food whisperers, purveyors of fusion cuisine made possible by a world where boundaries have been blurred by technology and geopolitics, where differences of nationalities have yielded to similarities of age segment.

To them we ask, quo vadis Negrense cuisine?

By Alan S. Gensoli

Design and Architecture

Cultural Experience

Art and Craft