Sisig Festival in Angeles City Pampanga

Sisig Fiesta of Angeles City will showcase the best pork dish of the Philippines. The “arguably greatest pork dish on earth”, dubbed by New York Times, SISIG, showcased last year April and April 28, 2018 for this year at the Train Station ‘Crossing’ in Angeles City . Taking advantage of the nostalgia, the ambiance of the place will be recreated reminiscent of the height of its popularity of SIZZLING SISIG in in the 1980’s.

The Sisig Fiesta of Angeles is a gastronomic event where the many varieties of Sisig intend to showcase the creativity and distinct taste in food of Kapampangans. A sundry of events ranging from cooking demonstration and competitions will pepper the whole night alongside with music and dance performances.

Celebrity chefs will be hands-on to show-off their culinary skills. The activity will highlight the evolution of Sisig from its roots along with the changes it had undergone. The competitions will highlight the skills of local culinary school students using the basic original formula of Sisig and transforming it into something more amazing. To add up spice, tandems of Lola/Lolo and Apo (grandmother/father and granddaughter/son) will also take on the challenge for innovation by twisting the mother recipe of Sisig to a new level. This activity is meant to emphasize the “passing the tradition and heritage of the Sisig of Angeles to the next generation”. BBQ Stalls will also add up to the nostalgic ambience of “Crossing” with sight and smell of smoked food. A Night markets will also add color to the event as it attracts shopaholics to get bargain priced items.

This event is spearheaded by the Angeles City Tourism Office with the help of other local government agencies and the Culinaria Pampanga which is the newly formed associations of chefs and culinary arts advocates based in Angeles City. This event focuses on the younger generation to establish and create awareness about the history of Sisig, its basic recipe and that food preparation is a heritage and a legacy worth passing on.

History of the Famous Pampanga’s Sisig

Sisig has always been part of Kapampangan culinary history. In 1732, Spanish friar Diego Bergamo recorded the existence of SISIG in his Vocabulario de la Lengua Pampanga. It is a kind of salad with spicy vinegar dressing or any sour snack that included unripe mangoes or guavas. It was a delicacy once reserved for expectant mother. Although SISIG was still very much a dish for expectant mothers in many Kapampangan homes until the early 1980’s, something happened in Angeles City in the late 1960s that changed the history of SISIG forever. It was Angeles City that SISIG was served as pulutan, an appetizer that compliments alcoholic drinks especially beer. After a huge fire broke out at the railroad crossing when a train collided with a North bound passenger bus in the late 1960s or early 1970s, stalls were built and rented out. These became drinking places that sold barbecue as pulútan. The area was simply called Crossing, after the railroad crossing at its corner. Photo Courtesy: Aling Lucing Sisig, 70’s picture Aling Lucing with her staff & daughther Miss Zeny. Bápang Kadók (Ricardo Dinio) was said to be the first to serve SÍSIG at Crossing. It became a hit. Unfortunately, Bápang Kadók met an untimely death in the mid-1970s. It was Aling Lucing (Lucia Lagman Cunanan) in the next stall that absorbed Bápang Kadók’s existing clientele with her own version of SÍSIG. With Aling Lucing, SÍSIG would again undergo a transformation in Angeles City in the mid-1970s. Instead of the usual BALUGBUG BÁBÎ ‘pig’s ears,’ Aling Lucing decided to use the meatier BALÍNGIT BÁBÎ ‘pig’s cheeks’ and therefore create more servings and quickly meet the rising demand for the dish. At that time, SÍSIG was simply served in saucers. By the late 1970s, Aling Lucing’s version of SÍSIG would become the only version known to most Angeleños.

SÍSIG would once again be reinvented and undergo its final cultural transformation in Angeles City in the late 1970s. It was Benedicto Pámintuan, the brother of Mayor Edgardo Pámintuan, decided to serve this for the first time on a sizzling plate. He named it “Sisig Benedict”. Not to be outdone, Aling Lucing also began serving her SÍSIG on a sizzling plate at her place in Crossing and simply called it SIZZLING SÍSIG. Being strategically placed at the crossroads of many travellers coming to and from Angeles City, Aling Lucing’s SIZZLING SÍSIG became popularly known even outside the city. From its humble roots in Crossing, the fame of Sizzling Sisig has spread to Manila, the rest of the country and has reached international level.

Undoubtedly, Sisig has variants but what made it unarguably famous is its taste and how innovative Kapampangans can be when it comes to their culinary talents as they adapt to the vast changes that is happening. In line with this, an ordinance declaring SIZZLING SISIG as an intangible cultural heritage of Angeles City was signed February 20, 2017 that provides systems and policies in safeguarding the original recipe of Sizzling Sisig. This said ordinance also implement that there should be an Annual Sisig Festival/Sisig Fiesta in the City of Angeles every last week of April, to showcase the unique intangible cultural heritage which shall involve school-based and community-based makers of ‘Sizzling Sisig’.

The aforementioned event will kick off on April 28, 2018, proposed activities are as follows; Sisig Sampler Banquet; Sisig and BBQ Stalls; Night Market; Culinary Competitions; Cooking Demonstration; Live Bands; Amateur Singing Competition and Hip Hop Dance Competition. The proceeds of the event will go to the School of Living Traditions for Sisig located at the second floor of Museo Ning Angeles. For updates like Angeles City Tourism page!

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