12th Duman Festival set December 7

STA. RITA -- Food enthusiasts and tourists will be able to sample again this town's famed duman delicacy in the upcoming 12th Duman Festival this December 7.

Instead of the Santa Rita Parish church, which served as the traditional venue of the event, the festival will be held at the mega dike area of Barangay San Isidro, which is being promoted as a tourism attraction.

Andy Alviz and his group Arti.StaRita started the festival in 2002, which originated from the long standing tradition of pounding and winnowing unripe glutinous rice (lacatan) and turning it into a light pale gold or green delicacy called "duman."

The festival features alfresco dining were rows and rows of delicacy stalls would sell various pastries and native dishes of the town, with duman being the major highlight.

The food sold during the festival would include native pastry attractions of the town like sansrival, masa podridu, mamon and mamon tostado.

Sta. Rita town is known as a pastry town with a strong culinary tradition.

The festival has attracted a steady following of local and international tourists.

The Duman Festival is, arguably, the only festival of its kind that is held in the evening and features festive dining until the wee hours of the evening.

“The festival always aims to offer native delicacies and dishes of the town to the people of Pampanga and to inspire awareness on Kapampangan culinary traditions among the younger generation and among those who have lived outside of the province for so long,” Alviz said.

Alviz said the event will feature a cultural performance from the musical group ArtiSta.Rita.

The program for the event is expected to start at 5 p.m.

The event is open to food enthusiasts and tourists who would like to sample native Kapampangan cooking and delicacies.

Different grades of duman, the star of the festival celebration, will also be sold in the event. Traditionally regarded as a Christmas delicacy, duman is eaten with hot chocolate or milk as additive or accompanying drink.

Food critic Claude Tayag explains why duman is relatively expensive: unlike the regular rice variety, which can be planted and harvested three times a year, duman can only be harvested in the cool air of November and December, otherwise it will not be a bountiful one.

For every hectare, a farmer can produce only a maximum of 4.5 cavans of duman, while a maximum of 300 cavans can be harvested from the regular rice variety, according to Tayag.

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