Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Leafy Green Moringa Oleifera (Malunggay)

Moringa is a small tree that grows in the tropical regions of the word. It is called “malunggay” or “kalamunggay” in the Philippines. The plant can grow as high as 10 to 20 feet.  Its bark is whitish gray which is surrounded with thick cork. The leaves are round and small, and the pods are long and slender.

Despite the softness of the plant’s wood and tender parts, moringa is in fact a hardy plant. In tropical climate it grows fast in almost any type of soil and is resistant to drought. Even a discarded trunk or branch on the ground will sprout young leaves and a new plant grows. The plant can be propagated through its seeds or cuttings. Moringa is easy to cultivate. A grown plant can sustain itself without much care and cultivation. In most cases fertilizer and pesticide are not necessary.

Moringa is primarily planted for its leaves and green pods as vegetable. The leaves are added in fish soup and chicken based dish that is called “tinola” and in vegetable dishes that are creamed with coconut milk. The plant is dubbed as a “poor man’s vegetable” because of its cheapness and abundance. In our family, we used to have plenty of this plant in our compound which also served as border fence in the sloping portion of our land. The plants had lush leaves and plentiful fruits. But we seldom harvest them, and if we did we only used the leaves and left the pods alone. Other people could help themselves with the leaves and the pods if they asked for them.

The leaves are the most nutritious parts of the plants. Like almost green leafy vegetables , the moringa leaves contain Vitamins B, C and K, beta carotene, potassium,  manganese, protein and other special nutrients. Because of its nutritional value moringa is recommended by the government for consumption of lactating mothers and children. Some bread such as “pan de sal” and noodles are fortified with moringa leaves to enhance its nutritional contents.

The hype that some herbs, fruits and vegetables have medicinal properties that are at par or better than conventional drugs has created an impression to some people that herbal products offer hope for the treatment of diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and even cancer. However, health authorities have warned people over the use of those products as alternative medicines because official confirmation has yet to be issued regarding their effectiveness.  
Moringa is used to be regarded only as a backyard plant because of its low commercial importance, but now some farmers cultivate it in large scale because of the increasing demand of natural herbal products for food supplement and alternative medicines. Moringa leaves are dried and made into organic powder, capsule, oil, tea, food supplement and other products. Aside from consuming the leaves as vegetable, locals use it also in traditional medicine. As an example, a cup of boiled moringa leaves is used to treat constipation.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Higalaay Festival 2015: Cagayan de Oro Fiesta

Cagayan de Oro City celebrates one of its most joyous occasions of the year, the feast day of Saint Augustine, the patron saint of the city. Locals call it the fiesta. Relative to the celebration, the city government launched the Higalaay Festival 2015. The Higalaay or friendship in the local dialect is a series of almost a month-long core events that were conducted by the city and other groups or organizations that culminated on August 28, 2015, the day of the fiesta. The events included kumbira, garden show, coronation of Miss CDO, marathon, carnival show, cowboy show, Kahimunan festival, religious and fluvial processions, parade of floats and icons and fireworks displays.    
Celebrating fiesta has become a custom of most Kagayanons. It is a time of reunion of members of families, a time when families treat relatives, friends and guests with sumptuous foods and drinks. The fiesta has been a traditionally religious event of the Roman Catholics who composed the city’s majority population. But through the years it has taken in some elements of secular cultural practices so that it has become an all inclusive occasion. Its activities can be enjoyed and participated in by anyone regardless of his religious affiliation. For the city government and its people, the fiesta is also an instrument to showcase the city as one of the premiere tourist and investment destinations not only in Mindanao but also in the Philippines. Happy Fiesta!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Coronation Night of Miss Cagayan de Oro 2015

The search for Miss Cagayan de Oro 2015 was held on the evening of August 22, 2015, at Atrium, Lim Ket Kai, Cagayan de Oro City. Twelve beautiful young ladies participated in the contest which is one of the core events of Higalaay Festival 2015 or the celebration of the feast day Of Saint Augustine. Charinna Barro of Barangay Macasanding was crowned Miss CDO for 2015. The first runner up was Dylana Bax and Kiezela quiz was the second runner up. As usual the atrium was jampacked with spectators who were mostly youths who came to see and to root for their respective bets in the annual beauty pageant. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Higala-ay Kagayan Festival 2015: Garden Show and Agri Fair

The Garden Show and Agri Fair, a core event of the feast day of Saint Augustine, is underway at a ground in Centrio Ayala Mall and at Duaw Kagayan Park in Cagayan de Oro. Resident and visitors of the city can buy plants that are on display in said places. The different species of ornamental house plants and herbs for culinary and medicinal purposes come from growers in the city and other provinces such as Davao.  Participants for the event also include those from different barangays or villages of the city. Those participants have their respective stalls along a road at the city hall. They display fruits and vegetables and other foods that are grown in their barangays.

A place of significance to the event is the Duaw Kagayan Park. However, the park by the river is still in stage of construction. Once completed, it is set to become one of local rendezvous for local residents and visitors.