About the book:
Ten years ago, Heny Sison while vacationing with family in Vigan, met then Governor Deogracias Victor “DV” Savellano. Both share a passion for food and Heny found herself drawn into the enchanting world of Ilocano Cuisine as DV talked about the culinary delights that 32 municipalities and 2 cities of Ilocos Sur could offer, beyond the Bagnet and Pinakbet that most people know as Ilocano food. He also made known his desire to share his province’s bounty – its produce, recipes, culinary traditions and values, with his fellow Filipinos nationwide and across the globe.
It was most unexpected that this chance meeting would turn into an exciting journey of discovery and advocacy for both Heny Sison and Gov. DV, that has led to the conceptualization and opening of a successful Ilocano Restaurant four years ago called Victorino’s (named after DV Savellano’s father).
The book Naimas! Is indeed a labor of love for Heny and DV and their dedicated and professional team: Neal Oshima, one of the country’s most respected photographers, copy editor Maya Besa Roxas and the project coordinator Bu Castro, and chief researchers Winnie Lim and Grace Velasquez. It took them a total of three and a half years to put together this first ever-comprehensive record of Ilocos Sur cuisine. They made about a dozen trips where they visited each of the 32 municipalities and two (2) cities of Ilocos Sur from north to south to journalize marvelous food finds and feature 53 authentic Ilocano recipes specially chosen by the authors. Each trip took between three to five days of intense and backbreaking work, oftentimes starting before the break of dawn and end by dusk, for Neal Oshima to get the natural lighting he wanted for his over 400 remarkable and breathtaking photos. Gov. DV could be very spontaneous and during their trips they literally climbed mountains and crossed rivers at times to get to the source of the food and to interview people behind these culinary specialities
Publisher: Sanicua Publication
Publication Date: 2015
Size: 273 x 235mm
About the authors:
Deogracias Victor “DV” Savellano
Man with a mission, guiding force, big kabsat (brother, in Ilocano), DV Savellano is known by many titles. And perhaps one more: unabashed foodie! This is how many best known Ilocos Sur’s visionary and charismatic leader, a man with a love for his native land as big and heart as his appetite for the cuisine of his hometown.
With almost three decades of fruitful public service under his belt, DV has managed to steer Ilocos Sur to the forefront as one of the prime tourist destinations in the country. Steeped in centuries-old tradition, Ilocos Sur is a land blessed with breathetaking terrain, and with myriad sights and sounds – and tastes. DV realizes as well the tasteful possibilities of food as a reflection of the soul of his native land. As much as the northern region is famous for the charming cobblestone streets, ancestral houses and ancient churches of Vigan, the virgin white sand bays of Sabangan Cove and Cabugao, and the lush green mountains of Cervantes and Del Pilar, one cannot talk about Ilocos Sur without craving delicacies such as empanada and miki, pinakbet and Vigan longganisa, and the sweet pleasure of kalamay from Candon and tinubong from Magsingal. Growing up on dishes like baradibud and dinuydoy, DV knows full well the potential of Ilocandia cuisine and has given it much importance. His wish is to elevate Ilocano cuisine to international prominence.
Tourism and agriculture are the strengths of his province, and these are DV’s main thrusts. Proof perhaps that DV walks the talk, Barang-ay farm, once sixteen hectars of idle land in agricultural San Juan, was magically spun by DV into an organic farm of a variety of vegetables, high value crops, livestock production (goat, cattle and swine). On a tour of the farm you will be handed a native basket as you walk down what DV calls Pinakbet Avenue among rows of talong (eggplant), ampalaya (bitter gourd), tomatoes, among others-all the ingredients for what may be deemed a national dish of sorts.
It is easy to be inspired by this man, visionary that he is, who chooses to see the good in everything. Ilocos Sur can be an unforgiving landscape of long dry summers and bitter cold spells, but DV has harnessed the simple charms of his homeland- the arts, culture, and the culinary heritage that give the region its unique identity- and polished this rough gem into a radiant jewel.
Chef Heny Sison
A commitment to excellence in her craft, a thirst for knowledge and a hunger for adventure in the name of food, these are what determine Heny Sison’s reputation as one of the country’s premier cake designers and culinarians.
A graduate of the University of the Philippines with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences major in Economics and minor in Political Science, Heny chose to shift gears, however, and pursue her love for baking. From selling sylvannas and fruitcakes from her home, and teaching baking and cake decoration in a small garage, she established the Heny Sison School of Cake Decorating and Baking in 1985, pioneering the meticulous craft of cake decoration. It was later renamed Heny Sison Culinary School after cooking classes were added to the baking repertoire to provide a more comprehensive culinary education. Today, the school offers recreational short courses as well as more extensive programs for culinary professionals.
Heny has hosted three cooking programs for television, namely: Heny Sison on TV, A Taste of Life with Heny Sison and Heny’s Kitchen (of which she devoted for episodes to the many unique and interesting food finds in Ilocos Sur). Her passion for teaching, dedication to her craft, and contributions in the culinary industry have merited her inclusion in the book 100 Women of the Philippines: Celebrating Filipino Womanhood in the New Millennium (1999).
Heny has earned ProChef Certification (Level I: Certified Culinarian) from The Culinary Institute of America, and constantly updates herself with continuing education courses abroad. She is a member of the Council of Chefs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Manila. She currently maintains a column in The Philippine Star. She has been tapped to endorse leading food brands, and works as a consultant for various food companies and restaurants. She also dabbles in food styling for print and television ads. Heny is co-founder and director of the Moringa Green Gold Foundation, an advocate for the benefits of the malunggay (Moringa oleifera).
Naimas!: The Food Heritage of Ilocos Sur is Heny’s first book collaboration, a deeply personal homage to the beauty and dignity of the province’s culinary heritage.