Budbod Kabog Festival celebrates the culture and food in the northern town of Catmon, Cebu, Philippines every February 10. It is the town’s fest that puts a spotlight to its proud product, the namesake cake made of millet called budbod kabog. At the same time, it is also a religious fiesta as it is held during the feast of the San Guillermo, the patron of the town.
Budbod Kabog Festival is an entry for the cultural festival and dance competition in Pasigarbo sa Sugbo.
At the heart of Budbod Kabog Festival is the popular delicacy of the town. Its name comes from budbod (called suman in Tagalog), a recipe made from glutinous rice flour and coconut milk and then rolled in banana leaf to be steamed, and kabog which refers to native millet.
Budbod kabog is a millet-based cake cooked using the culinary technique in making budbod.
One interesting story is that kabog also refers to bats. It is thought that millet acquired this name a long time ago. In the past, this cereal was considered a kind of grass that grew wildly in Catmon, particularly in the village of Agsuwao. A farmer chanced upon their stalks in a cave, their panicles harvested clean of the grains. The bats had been consuming them and throwing aside the stalks that then carpeted the floor of the cave. So the farmer concluded that it was edible and safe for human consumption.
The kabog millet from Catmon is gluten-free and rich in nutrients such as protein and dietary fiber. It is suggested that it can be an alternative to staple food such as rice.
Budbod kabog recipe consists of millet that is soaked overnight. Coconut milk and brown sugar are cooked in low to medium heat which would serve as a syrupy base. Millet is added and the mixture is cooked in slow, even heat.
Next, a spoonful of the cooked millet is scooped and transferred to a sheet of banana leaf. (The leaf is made soft and pliant by grilling them lightly and briefly on an open flame.) It is rolled into cylindrical shape. Afterwards both of its ends are folded so it would look like an elongated pillow.
It is then steamed or soaked in a potful of water that is brought to a boil; it can go into this second cooking either singly or in pairs by stacking them and tying them with a slip of banana leaf. Other versions of the recipe may also add a pinch of salt (for seasoning), garlic, and vanilla extract to enhance its flavors.
Budbod kabog is naturally yellow in color and sticky. It can be described as sweet and creamy, with the banana leaf providing depth and a rich aroma.
History of Budbod Kabog Festival
Budbod Kabog Festival was launched in 2006 within the term of Mayor Estrella Aribal. Together with Vice Mayor Avis Monleon and the municipal board, the local government unit formed a committee in organizing the first ever town fest. Its festival theme was composed by Elvis Somosot.
Meanwhile, the official dance took shape with a choreography inspired by the cultivation and harvest of kabog millet and the cooking process of budbod kabog. These gestures include planting (kabig), safeguarding the stalks from birds (bugaw), harvest (kayog or hakot), threshing of the grains (gi-ok), breaking of the shells (asod), separating the seeds from the shells (alig-ig), cooking of budbod (pasiko), and rolling of cooked millet into banana leaves (kilikiti).
Devotion to San Guillermo
Budbod Kabog Festival is held in conjunction with the feast day of the patron saint of the town, San Guillermo or St. William.
The devotion to the saint can be traced back to the colonial period. Friars belonging to the Augustinian Recollects founded its church as a visita of the nearby town of Danao and placed St. William as its patron in 1835.
The present-day site of the 19th-century church is not the location of the original pueblo. Instead, the first town was erected in a place now called Catmandaan (Old Catmon) by Fr. Miguel Martinez del Fuente. He also built the fortification that stands in ruins. In its heyday, it was a shield against pillagers coming from the sea who were driven to the northern part of the island after the southern coastlines of Cebu were defended by stout stonewalls and watch towers.
It is not known why the pueblo was transferred. Nevertheless, a church made of light materials may have existed. When Fr. Juan Juseu arrived in 1854, he began building the stone church and it was completed along with the bell tower by Fr. Miramon in 1873.
Budbod Kabog Festival Activities
The religious fiesta is observed through nine-day novena and masses at San Guillermo Church. The tenth-day is the feast day, which is marked by a pontifical mass.
On the other hand, the secular activities may be held all in one day during the feast day (such as in 2015). It is marked with the street dance called sadsaran, a ritual dance showdown, the search for the festival queen, and other revelries.
How to reach Catmon, Cebu
Catmon is a town of mostly gently rolling hills. It can be reached through the buses in the North Bus Terminal located in the North Reclamation Area. The travel time is about two hours covering a distance of over fifty kilometers.
- Michaed Dax Barlaan. Catmon’s Budbod Kabog Festival. The Philippine Star. February 17, 2007. Retrieved February 9, 2023
- Joan Oñate Narciso. An ancient grain from Visayan folklore: the nutritional value of kabog millet of Cebu and the race to save it from extinction. Manila Bulletin. July 16, 2022. Retrieved February 9, 2023
- Dr. Hope Sabanpan-Yu. Cebuano Food Festivals: A matter of Taste. Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society Vol. 35, No. 4 (December 2007), pp. 384-392. University of San Carlos Publications. Retrieved February 9, 2023
- Happy fiesta Catmon, Cebu! Pasigarbo sa Sugbo Festival. February 10, 2015. Retrieved February 9, 2023
- Heritage sites in Catmon. Heritage Cebu. June 22, 2020. Retrieved February 11, 2023