In a town in Nueva Ecija, there is a special time of year when men willingly don their aprons and flex their culinary muscles during a celebration called the "duck festival."
The fiesta, held in Talavera municipality, featured a "duck cooking contest" where men of all ages and sizes showed off their cooking prowess by preparing a variety of duck dishes. Their wives, who got a day off from cooking, stood by to support their husbands and even took a bite or two.
The participants cooked up a variety of specialties including "tiim na bibe" or stewed whole duck, duck with broccoli and oyster sauce, grilled duck barbecue, duck "caldereta" or stewed chunks of duck meat sauteed with vegetables and a thick tomato sauce, "kampukan" or a type of minced appetizer, and "kinalangkang" or steamed duck with a dash of "kalamansi" juice.
One contestant named Guillermo Guevara proudly sported his nylon hair net and checkered red apron, saying he was ready to assert his "right to cook."
"Papatunayan namin na masarap din kaming maglutong mga lalaki. Gusto naming patunayan sa mga kababaihan na hindi lang sila ang may karapatang magluto," he joshed.
The cook fest aimed to promote duck products as a local source of livelihood for the people of Talavera. At the end of the festivities, locals even named one lucky duck as the "biggest duck" of them all. As an award, the duck not only escaped the chopping block, but was given a tag around its neck and was placed on a cushy bed of hay. Report from Rina Miguel, ABS-CBN North Central Luzon.