Preserving Benguet culture thru ‘kiniing’ making

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, cultivating traditional skills and techniques continues through the Enhanced School of Living Tradition (ESLT).
Its latest undertaking is the “kinuday” or “kiniing” making participated in by 20 trainees.
“Kinuday” is produced through a traditional means of preserving meat by smoking in the “pugon” or furnace that each household used to have one.
Tourism Operations Officer II Heather Dizon said the kiniing or kinuday or ginulay making is part of Year Three of the ESLT master plan for native cuisines funded under the National Commission Culture and the Arts through the Benguet Provincial Tourism, Culture and the Arts Council for the provincial government.
Gieson Madiano from Bokod, who is into kinuday making for 15 years now and serves as one of the culture bearers or teachers of the trainees shared.
While others put a twist adding some ingredients to enhance the taste, salt is the basic ingredient in the preservation of the meat.
The meat pinned into stick skewers is smoked regularly for around two weeks in a furnace. Used during the training is a fabricated furnace which Madiano calls “shakilan” in the local dialect.
Fruit-bearing leaves and branches are preferred wood to smoke the meat, said Madiano.
Connie, a trainee from La Trinidad, wants to help preserve the popular native cuisine of the Benguet people.
“We want to know how they preserved meat before, since now only a few people know how to do it. We learn from the experts. In turn, we can also teach our children so that this culture of Benguet will not die. From this we can also make our own improvements on how to do it.
Another trainee, Arsenia Sarlipan of Tuding, Itogon, who is joined by her 17-year old daughter said, “I became interested because I have seen the practice of putting salt to preserve food. This is good for the health even if this is meat. They use the natural way of preservation without the chemicals.”
Dizon said because of some restrictions and limitations due to this health crisis, the training period was shortened. They will gather again the participants next month for the presentation of their products for critiquing prior to their graduation,
Governor Melchor Diclas hopes that there will be more NCCA-funded projects for SLTs which is a good program and a big help in preserving culture of the Benguet people.
Kiniing is sold in some local markets and through online.
In the recent food fair of the Department of Tourism – Cordillera, the kiniing burger captured the taste of the judges garnering first place. **JDP/SCA-PIA-CAR, Benguet

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