LAST week, the governor of Misamis Oriental, Bambi Emano, with the entire province of Misamis Oriental, went coconuts over “Kuyamis”.
Kuyamis is a sweet coconut variety. It is golden yellow and it is found in Misamis Oriental and its twin, Misamis Occidental. The water and the flesh of the butong are sweet. The shell is soft and tastes bitter. Some people scrape and eat the soft shell. They said it is medicinal, good for the kidneys.
How and why kuyamis became the name of the week-long festivities in Misamis Oriental is a story worth telling. It is deeply rooted in our history. Mas karaan pa ning Mampor.
Sometimes it is interesting to look at our past, our history.
For example, did you know that, once upon a time, the entire coastline from Surigao, Agusan, Misamis, Lanao to Dapitan in Zamboanga was known as Caraga? Therefore, in ancient times, Misamis Oriental was part of a coastline called Caraga. But now Caraga is another region that compose only of the Surigao and Agusan provinces.
Before we dig deeper into our history to show the significance of kuyamis, allow me to tell you about this year’s Kuyamis Festival. It was a week-long festivity that started the celebration of the 88th anniversary of the founding of Misamis Oriental. It was grand and participated in by towns in Misamis Oriental, regardless of the color of their political leaders.
The concept was to promote coconut-related products. The participating town booth was built with coconut-inspired design and materials giving it a festive look. Displayed products, whether handicraft or food, were related to coconut and its by-products. Even in the Miss Kuyamis Peagant, the contestants wore beautifully crafted coconut-themed costumes. The rule was that everything has to be coconut-inspired.
Laguindingan’s biko dukot and Manticao’s bibingka easily passed the criteria being made with coconut milk or gata. But what about Libertad’s famous ginamos? Surprisingly, Libertad’s famous ginamos had no problem with the given criteria. For the first time in my life, I saw a coconut-inspired ginamos. The ginamos tin can container was cleverly wrapped with weaved young coconut leaves. So what you see is not ginamos inside some biscuit or oil tin can. What one will see is a container beautifully wrapped in young coconut leaves weaved in an exotic pattern.
Kuyamis Festival was started by Gov. Emano in 2013 and it became larger every year. This year’s celebration was the grandest. I can tell just by listening to the sound system. I live at the Ilogon Compound which is just a hearing distance from the capitol compound and so, I should know. The sound system was active from morning up to midnight, every day for the whole week. Cheerful shouts from the crowd were louder and clapping of hands got frequent and longer.
For a full week, the capitol grounds was a beehive of activities. Misamis Oriental towns not only showcased their One Town, One Product (Otop) in their beautifully crafted coconut-inspired booths but their towns’ beauty as well. The towns’ tourism potentials got a boost because Kuyamis Peagant contestants were required to promote their town and their beautiful tourist spots.
Kuyamis peagant is something else. The production was professionally organized and the contestants were of national caliber. In fact, a former Miss Kuyamis competed and won in national beauty pageants.
The Kuyamis week-long celebration was a huge success in promoting the tourism potentials of the province. It also gained financial success for each participating town. Laguindingan town had to replenish daily its biko dukot. It was sold out as soon as it was available on display. All my kuyamis seedlings were sold out, too.
Now, how did this sweet golden yellow coconut called kuyamis become the name of the week-long festivity in celebration of the province of Misamis Oriental foundation?
The answer lies in our history. (to be continued)