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By: Chrislaine Bedic

Foods we love to eat these days may not be similar to what we love before. Some may remain as our favorite dish and some adds up to our list. We may change according to our demands or our needs. Good thing for us Filipinos even if we change our lists of favorite food one group on our list remains stable and unchangeable. Our love for Filipino delicacies will always be on our favorites. Sapin-sapin, Biko, Kalamay-hati, Kutsinta, Palitaw, Puto, Espasol, Puto-Bumbong, Bibingka are some of the examples of the mouth-watering delicacies we have.


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Dioscorea esculenta ot Tugui, a rootcrop, is considered one of the ingredients of making other delicacies. In Marinduque, it has been an alternative staple food for rice and corn sometimes. Through this people were able to create or produce tasty foods for it to be eaten every day. For Ilocanos, Tugui is the main ingredient of their Ginata-an. This has also been used in making cracker and pastillas.



Tugui belongs to the family of Yam. It has hairy kidney-liked leaves. It is rich in carbohydrates and vitamins. Tugui at the same time can be very beneficial when it comes to our health.

Tugui can:

  •       Help endocrine and renal systems function effectively. It helps decrease water retention and alleviates nausea during pregnancy.
  •       Treat premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Because of the Vitamin B6 present in Tugui, experience during the premenstrual stage can be minimized.
  •       A good source of antioxidant metabolism and carbohydrate metabolism. Tugui contains rich amount of Manganese that can act as a co-factor in many enzymes for energy production.
  •       Help maintain blood sugars levels because they have very low sugar and can be absorbed in the bloodstream gradually.
  •       Be a good source of dietary fiber. Tugui have high fiber content that is responsible for controlling body weight.
  •       Help in functioning of nervous, urinary, respiratory systems efficiently. It can help in proper optimal glandular functioning.
  •       Aid digestion process through enlarging vessels and stimulating flow of bile juice.
  •       Help in controlling blood pressure levels because of the because of the potassium present in the crop.

Tugui can be very beneficial to our body but too much intake of this can cause certain side effects, like vomiting, diarrhea, and headache. And person with conditions like liver diseases, ovarian cancer and prostate cancer is advised to be very careful in eating this rootcrop.

It is through this food where we can satisfy our taste buds and can be very beneficial to our health condition as well. Eating this food is more satisfying and enjoyable if we eat with care and safety.



By: Herna Lona Tribujenia

Taro is a root vegetable grown in semi-tropical and tropical climates and is eaten in many different cultures around the world. This starchy globular fleshy taproot has a rich history and has many possible recipes. The crunchy, underground root known as corm is one of the famous edible root vegetables in some areas of the world like Asia. Its leaves are also used as a vegetable and contain vitamins A and C and a high amount of protein. The Department of Agriculture considers Taro as one of the alternatives to rice in our country because of the health benefits it could give to a person.

Taro is in fact has better nutritional qualities than potatoes for it hataro2s almost three times dietary fiber that is important for proper digestion. Similar to corn, Taro has also low Glycemic Index than a potato. For our body to perform better it needs potassium which is an essential mineral for many bodily functions and this could be found in Taro, as well as vitamins C, E, B, some calcium, magnesium, manganese and copper.

A 100g corm can provide 112 calories mainly came from complex carbohydrates known as the amylose and amylopectin. In addition, the level of protein that it contains is equal to that of other tropical food sources like cassava, banana, potato, etc. The Taro leaves have substantial level of phenolic flavonoid pigment antioxidants like cryptoxanthin along with vitamin A. A 100g fresh leaves gives 4825 IU or 161% of RDA of vitamin A, altogether, these compounds are needed for maintaining healthy mucus membranes, skin and eyesight. Consuming natural foods rich in flavonoids helps protect our body from lung and oral cavity cancers.

Although Taro has a lot of good benefits to consumers, just like many other foods, it has also some bad effects to human. Eating too much Taro can lead to gout and kidney stones as well as other health complications if not prepared properly. It should be boiled for a recommended time or can be steeped in water for a night before preparing it for food or cook it by adding a pinch of baking soda to reduce the amount of oxalates (associated with gout and kidney stones). To completely lessen the risk, have milk or other calcium rich foods when eating Taro. But we should not worry too much because after it is cooked, it is already safe to eat and many people around the world consider it as a staple food. Before eating something, it is nice that we are guided properly and are aware of the benefits and harms that we could get from a certain food.


How Worthy the Risks Are

By: Chrislaine D. Bedic

Risks are everywhere and not all of us get the courage to take. There are risks that are worthy to be taken and some are not. When it comes to the food we are eating we choose to have consumed the ordinary ones and not something that is extraordinary. But, for us Filipinos we let our minds travel and let our creativity spill through the foods we served to our family.

One of the foods that really need our creativity is Dioscorea hispida Dennst or better known in our country as Nami. This root crop is now becoming or considered to be one of the Philippines’ alternative staple foods for rice.

Many of us still don’t know what this root crop is. Nami is a climbing herb with a fibrous root system. Its color is white, yellow or lemon. It often grows in rainforest areas.

Nami can also have benefits even if not taken as a food. In some country, like Thailand, Nami is considered as a medicinal plant. It is capable of relieving abdominal contractions and stomach pain. In addition, Nami can help women in optimal breast enlargement because it is an excellent source of beta-carotene and diosgenin, a powerful phytochemical that is capable of doing it. Diseases like diabetes, leprosy, heartburn, biliary pain, menstrual pain, inflammation of the gallbladder, rheumatism or joint pain and callus.


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Nami on the other hand can be beneficial when we do our laundry. It is a great help for bleaching. For our livestock, it can cure myiasis of the scrotum in carabaos. It is also is a good source of phosphorus, calcium and iron. Uncooked or cooked, it could be used as anodyne and maturative for tumors and buboes.

Despite all this facts and benefits that we can acquire from this root crop, Nami consists of toxic substances such as dioscorine that can possibly cause palpitations, nausea, vomiting, throat irrita­tion, sweating, blurred vision and unconscious­ness. Also, too much consumption can cause poisoning.

One safe to way to eat Nami is to it cut thin  then soaked in salt water that had been spiked continue the flowing water, until water is not white. Nami is safe to eat after the poison of dioscorin is removed.

There may be danger in this root crop but it’s up to us people if how ready we are to take risks and learned from it.


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Some of us just can’t but maybe, just maybe you can take a stand to explore how worthy it is to sometimes venture in some extraordinary things especially in producing something new for the people around us and most especially when it talks about the foods or the meal that we are going to prepare.


By: Herna Lona Tribujenia


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Cardava or “Saba” as we all know is a kind of banana that has the highest level of nutrients. It is because it has the deepest roots among other banana plants, which means it absorbs more nutrients from the soil. A banana a day really keeps the doctor away for it has a lot of nutrients and vitamins than an apple. Having only two bananas can already give you adequate energy to work out or to exercise. It is also good to eat banana when you feel sluggish or tired and instead of drinking caffeine or having sweet snack, for it provides a level of energy that lasts longer.

Banana can:

  •       Help Circulatory System. Banana help the body’s circulatory system to deliver oxygen to the brain, maintain a regular heartbeat and proper balance of water in the body. This made possible because of its high potassium content which is also helpful in reducing stokes and regulating blood pressure because of the way it promotes circulatory health.
  •       Prevent and Treat Ulcers. Banana reduces the acidity which some foods leave in the stomach and lessens the irritation of the digestive system by leaving a protective coating around the inner walls. It also acts as an antacid that helps get rid of heartburn.
  •       Help Stop Constipation. Banana has a certain kind of fiber that helps restore and maintain regular bowel functions.
  •       Help people who try to quit Smoking and Minimize Menstrual Pain. The B vitamins and other minerals of banana decrease the physical and psychological effects of nicotine withdrawal. And the B6, because of its calming properties, can minimize the menstrual pains and regulate the overall moods of women, as well as combating the pregnant women’s morning sickness.
  •       Reduce the Effects of Hangover. Banana has the natural ingredients and ability to replenish the body’s vitamins.

Bananas are seem to be just an ordinary fruit in our table but surprisingly have an extraordinary nutrients and vitamins that makes it the another alternative food to rice. We Filipinos are really fond of eating bananas not because we’re monkeys nor we’re partying all night and have hangovers, but because we Filipinos are aware of this great fruit that could send the doctor away!


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alternative, substitute, FilipiniBy: Chrislaine Bedic

Foods are primary sources of energy for the people. Vegetables and fruits for some instance are highly recommended to provide it yet sometimes not all of us can have enough money to buy something that can answer our bodily needs. For us Filipino, we did not limit our search when we don’t have enough resources. We find something that could substitute to our necessity. Through this initiative we tend to prepare something that is not only source of energy but also a food that counters to our daily body need.

Potato at some reason became an alternative for this need. Potato is a good source of potassium and fiber. It is one of the most widely grown perennial crops and one of the cheap staple food items of the poor population all over the world. This vegetable has health benefits that can sustain a person’s daily energy requirements.


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When it comes to benefits, potatoes can:
1) Increase brain function. Potatoes contain elements including balanced glucose levels, oxygen, Vitamin B complex, amino acids, Omega-3 and other fatty acids that our brain needs in order to function well.

2) Reduce inflammation. Potatoes are loaded with carbohydrates, protein, calcium, niacin and Vitamin C. Because of the fiber in potatoes, they are soft and easily digested. The Vitamin C in potatoes make them great antioxidants which repair cells in the body. Potatoes can relieve inflammation in the intestines and digestive track.

3) Help prevent cardiovascular disease. Carbohydrates, protein, calcium, niacin and Vitamins C and B-complex found in potatoes can help fight heart disease and keep blood pressure at normal levels. Potatoes also contain carotenoids, key to heart health and overall health and wellness.

4) Offset incidence of kidney stones. Potatoes are rich sources of magnesium which can offset the accumulation of calcium in the kidney.

5) Helps in advance skin care. Potatoes contain Vitamins C and B-complex, potassium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus, all excellent vitamins and minerals for your skin.

Potatoes is said to be a staple food in developing countries. In the Philippines, potatoes in some ways are practiced to be. Now, given this facts about potatoes, Filipinos can consider this vegetable as one of their main dish in their daily meal. Potato can serve as an alternative to increasing food demand in our country and can also provide our daily nutritional needs.


By: Herna Lona Tribujenia

We usually see it as just another food in the street and eat it only whenever we feel like eating it. It’s true that some or most of us don’t know the benefits we can get from this certain food. In this article, let us discover the reasons why our body needs this crop, the Corn.


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Corn plays a very important role in human history, generally as a source of food for humans and animals. In Philippines,Corn or “Mais” in local term, is considered the staple food for around 20% of Filipinos particularly in Visayas and in Mindanao. With our country’s present issue on rice supply, the most possible way of coping with the great demand for food is by producing more organically grown corn for human consumption.

White corn, as compared to rice, is more favorable for its health benefits. The Glycemic Index (GI) of white corn is low than rice which makes it slower to digest, thereby releasing glucose gradually into the blood stream, hence reducing the risk of diabetes. Glycemic Index means the ranking of food from 0-100 that tells us whether the food will raise blood sugar levels dramatically, moderately or just little. It has also more protein, lysine and tryptophan, dietary fiber, minerals and antioxidants compared to rice. It is good for overweight people as well, for it promotes weight loss.


*Nutrition facts of White Corn compared to Rice (DOST-Food & Nutrition Research Institute)
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The health wonders of this crop gives more reasons to us Filipinos that if rice is not available, corn is there to provide us with enough nutrients to our body. And making it a part of Filipino diet is definitely a best choice.


By: Chrislaine Bedic

Filipinos are fond of experimenting dishes that they are going to serve on their table every meal yet only one element remains unchanged in the meal.


Credits To: Google

Rice as we all know is the primary staple food of Filipinos yet not all of us gets the chance to have it in our tables every day. Due to poverty and some social problems that our country is facing, we can tell that our rice productivity also slows down and causes us to divert our primary food to some foods that may be a substitute for rice.

Sweet potato is one of the highly recommended alternatives for rice in our country. Sweet as this crop is the fact that sweet potato can be a very affordable rice alternative for us Filipinos. Sweet potatoes, also, can grow everywhere at any kinds of soils. At the same time, it can have many benefits in our everyday living; 1) it is high in Vitamin B6 that can help reduce the chemical homocysteine in our bodies. 2) It is a good source of Vitamin C that helps produce collagen which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity. 3) It contains Vitamin D that plays an important role in our energy levels, moods, and helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth, and it supports the thyroid gland. 4) It contains iron that helps in white blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper im­mune functioning, and the metabolizing of protein. 5) It is a good source of magnesium that is also known as the relaxation and anti-stress mineral. 6) It is also a good source of potassium that helps regulate heartbeat and nerve signals. 7)Their natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, helping to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy, without the blood sugar spikes linked to fatigue and weight gain. 8) They are high in carotenoids like beta carotene and other carotenoids, which is the precursor to vitamin A in your body. 9) It is versatile because they can be prepared either roasted, puréed, steamed, baked, or grilled.

Trying a bit new element in our usual Filipino meal table may seem diverse at first but as it continues it can be a great help to increase our rice production and management in the country.


Credits To: Google


By: Herna Lona Tribujenia

Rice is the main crop and the staple food in the Philippines yet not all can have it. Though it’s the main source of food in the Philippines but our country is not rice self-sufficient. We can’t deny the fact that rice is very expensive since the cost of rice production in the Philippines is greater compared to other countries such as Thailand, China, Indonesia and Vietnam.   In spite of these painful truths, we should be thankful as well, for in the absence of rice in our dining table, there are still some nutritious root crops that can be substituted to it. One of the well-known root crops in the country is the cassava.


Credits to: Google

Locally known as kamoteng kahoy or balinghoy, Cassava (scientific name: Manihot Esculenta) ranks second to sweet potato in hectarage among root crops produced in the country. It is mainly grown for its tubers which are a rich source of carbohydrates. Unknowingly, it is also a good source of calcium and ascorbic acid.

Why should we plant cassava?

Let us start with its food uses, which include confectionaries, native pastries like Suman  and Bibingka, sago, vegetables, food seasoning, noodles and flour. Though not the staple food of Filipinos, cassava feeds about 800 million people around the world, according to the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).

Tapioca Flour or Cassava Starch is another important product came from cassava and is known in the world trade. Extracted from the tuber, it is used by a wide variety of industries – food, pharmaceutical, paper, adhesive, textile, mining and other manufacturing industries.

Cassava meal can also be used as a substitute for feed grains in compounded animal rations. Its leaf meal contains 18-20% protein, which means a good livestock feed not only for poultry but also for other livestock.


Credits To: Google

Cassava can also be a good solution to the problems of climate change and fuel shortage. In China, Thailand, and Brazil, cassava is becoming an important biofuel crop. A feasibility study has found that cassava has a very high starch-to-sugar conversion ratio. This high starch content means that a high percentage of sugar can be converted from it, and which, in turn, is needed to produce biofuel.

This root crop is an easy-to-grow. Cassava is the only choice of our farmers if corn and beans can’t grow in depleted soils. In the Philippines, cassava is best grown in deep soil with friable structure such as light sandy loams of medium fertility. Top soil should be 30 centimeters in depth. Successful use of almost all soil types is possible, provided that they are not waterlogged, shallow or stony.

There’s no way you can’t feed your tummy now! Start planting cassava now, even just on your backyard.  So when rice is out of sight, you know where to go. 


A.M. Mariscal, J.L. Bacusmo: Cassava in the Philippines