CAFÉ Yagam may be on the brink of going global.
Yagam was recently included as finalists in the Google Business Group (GBG) Success Stories Search for 2017 and hopes to be included in the top three and be hailed as the best in the world.
Poleen Carla Rosito-Dulnuan, founder and owner of the café and an anthropologist, said the best way to know one’s culture is to learn the way people cook, choose their ingredients, and the process in the preparation of the food.
“An extension of culture with its unique ingredients, preparation, knowing the character of people preparing the food. People don’t know such thing as Cordillera cuisine,” Poleen said.
Poleen worked as an environmental non-governmental organization in Baguio for seven years dwelling on the indigenous communities in the Cordillera region where she celebrated the rich heritage and culture which eventually led her to opening her own café in 2014.
“Ket Cordi ak, isu ti amuk, I know the food, I know how to cook it, and then the interior definitely kayat ko nga jay feeling ket kasla ada ka idjay ili,” she said.
GBG manager Vincent Tabor said the online global competition is a search for inspiring stories by entrepreneurs around the world using Google technologies like google drive, G-mail, google and my business.
“We help business improve through trainings and helping them to use Google technologies,” said Tabor.
The Google project aims to help business located in the different areas in the world, mostly in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Central America through trainings and using Google technologies.
“We are not paid by Google, we are not employees of Google but we are driven by our passion to help business,” added Tabor.
Tabor said the clincher for Google to take notice of the story of Café Yagam was the effectiveness of the café in using the “Google my businesses” emphasizing Cordilleran culture through food and coffee where it grew 100 percent.
The local hangout is up against other unique stories of social entrepreneurs including Lotus Spa in Indonesia, Eco Cell Industries in Nepal, Khaalisisi in Nepal, Khalti.com in Nepal, Riliv.co in Indonesia, Safe Eat in Morocco, Social Giver in Thailand, and Virtualahan in Davao, Philippines.
Yagam features a menu of traditional Cordilleran cuisine which includes pinikpikan, a smokey chicken stew with “etag” or Cordilleran salted pork, binungor, the Kalinga spicy vegetable stew served with wood ear mushroom and “ket-an,” a fresh water shell.
Also in their menu are igwilas, the Kalinga term for white legumes infused with “kiniing” or the Cordilleran smoked pork and pinuneg, the highland sausage made of diced pork meat and pig’s blood filled with an exotic savory flavor with onions, red chili, matched with a dip of vinegar.
Poleen said the café targets to create new cultural dishes that will satisfy the taste of the Cordilleran’s and its visitors.
Winner for GBG will receive a trip to the Google I/O tech conference in San Francisco, California. It is the biggest international event of Google where they present its new products and winners will receive mentorship and technical assistance from employees of Google.
Vote for Café Yagam through events with google.com/gbg-stories-2017 until September 13.
Published in the SunStar Baguio newspaper on September 14, 2017.
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