#FoodPH - Batanes Food, Ecology and Community!

The popular images of Batanes are those of breathtaking verdant landscapes and blue waters, alternately agitated and calm. These northernmost Philippine islands have long been part of a traveler’s must-go-and-experience list.  But Batanes is more than just a weekend getaway.

“A Delicate Balance: Batanes Food, Ecology and Community” reveals why. A project of The Museo ng Kaalamang Katutubo (MusKKat), this handsome book explores how food, ecology, nature, and tradition, have shaped the Ivatan way of life in the last 4,000 years.

Written by Corazon S. Alvina and Marian Pastor Roces and complemented with insightful photographs by Neal Oshima, the book shows the intricate but robust relationships within the Ivatan communities and how traditional Ivatan food is interconnected with its microsystem.

“A Delicate Balance: Batanes Food, Ecology and Community” was launched this November at the Bayanihan Center. The launch was attended by members of the academe, arts, cultural, and culinary worlds. 

In her welcome, MusKKat Executive Director Alvina acknowledged and thanked those who collaborated and contributed to the making of the book.  The book is a result of the collaboration, and the consolidation of the substantive research work of, archaeologists, anthropologists, boat makers, botanists, Ivatan cooks and nutritionists, a professional urban chef, geologists, sea current specialists, zoologists, among others. 

In walking the guests through the book, Pastor Roces said that while “A Delicate Balance: Batanes Food, Ecology and Community” is a food book, it’s not necessarily a food book. Food is only an access point into the Batanes man-in-biosphere ecosystem.

Dr. Fe Hidalgo, former secretary of education and one of the key resource persons for the book, expressed her gratitude for the conceptualization and development of the book.  An Ivatan, she shared her own experience living and growing up in the Batanes, and how the Ivatan have managed to remain true to their culture and traditions.

Unilab EVP and COO Benjamin O. Yap shared his own experience of Batanes and how the islands and the Ivatan captured his heart, when he set foot on the islands for the first time in 2015:  it is as if time stood still and the poetry of the islands stole his heart. 

Each chapter of “A Delicate Balance: Batanes Food, Ecology and Community” is keyed with an Ivatan word that sets the tone of the storytelling, then explores and elaborates domains beyond food, such as biodiversity and sustainability.

“A Delicate Balance: Batanes Food, Ecology and Community” is now available for purchase and priced at P3,850 via www.phfoodecosystems.com.


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