Marunggay, the Ilokano name for malunggay (Moringa Oleifera) gets a boost in Ilocos Norte as residents introduced their unique and healthy dishes with the vegetable as the main ingredient.
The cooking competition participated in by the different villages is one of the highlights of the first Marunggay Festival recently to promote marunggay as a “superfood” due to its promising nutritive contents.
With the launch of the first Marunggay Festival inspired by her mom and now Senator Ïmee Marcos, Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc said he looks forward to seeing marunggay as a commercial crop and not just as a backyard plant of the Ilokanos.
Known to be rich in nutrients and minerals, marunggay consumption is enjoyed by many because of its versatility when prepared as a vegetable dish.
“The winning dishes will be introduced to tourists as additional “must try” products of Laoag.”
During the cooking competition, Laoag City Councilor Handy Lao, who sponsored the passage of the festival, said the winning dishes will be introduced to tourists as additional “must try” products of Laoag.
Among these include marunggay ice cream, miki and polvoron, among others.
“In the Philippines, we are the first to have this kind of festival.”
“In the Philippines, we are the first to have this kind of festival and we hope that we will be able to inspire more people to take advantage (on the) benefits (of) this superfood,” Lao said.
Study shows that marunggay is considered as a “miracle plant”, containing compounds such as simple sugar and rhamnose, glucosinolates, and isothiocyanates, which were reported to have hypotensive, anticancer, and antimicrobial activities.
Last May 5, Lao’s proposed ordinance gained the unanimous approval of his colleagues, making the Marunggay Festival a yearly event every 19th of June which coincides with the city’s Charter Day celebration.
As part of the month-long celebration, city government officials led by Mayor Michael Keon also spearheaded a simultaneous marunggay planting activity in the 80 barangays of Laoag.
Overall, a total of 4,150 marunggay seedlings were planted on the same day.