Traditional Storage and Utilization Practices on Root and Tuber Crops of Selected Indigenous People in the Northern Philippines

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Betty T. Gayao Dalen T. Meldoz Grace S. Backian


The indigenous people who reside on hills and mountains of the Philippines like the Ivatans, Isnegs, Kalingas, Tingguians, Applais, Bagos, Kankana-eys, Iyattukas, Ibalois, Kalanguyas, Bugkalots, Aetas and Mangyans are known as root and tuber crops growers and consumers. Unfortunately, there is lack of documentation and with the changing lifestyles of the younger generation, traditional root and tuber crops storage and utilization practices are at the risk of being forgotten, hence, this study. Secondary data gathering, interview-workshops with key informants and follow-up field visits were done to document and update information.

Indigenous peoples have no practices that prolong storage life of taro (Colocasia esculenta) and cassava (Manihot esculenta) though cleaned and washed. Taro corms and cassava storage roots can last for seven days if not mechanically damaged. For sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas), some varieties are stored in wooden boxes for six to eight months. Harvested roots and tubers of greater yam (Dioscocrea alata), lesser yam (Dioscorea esculenta), tannia (Xanthosoma sagittifolium), arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea), canna (Cannaceae) and yacon (Smallanthus sanchifolius) are stored for four to six months provided the roots and tubers are washed, cleaned and dried then kept in shaded area of the household. This can be in the rice granary, in a wooden bin or in a pit under the house or under the shade then covered or mulched with dried grasses, banana leaves and/or sacks. All kinds of edible storage roots and tubers are consumed simply as boiled or steamed, roasted and fried. On the other hand, chopped, sliced or mashed, dried, ground and fermented roots and tubers are used as ingredients in traditional dishes like guinataan, tupig, nilubyan, kisa, tapey, binobodan, nawnaw, saloposop, sukit and others which are used for various purposes such as substitute to rice as staple food, emergency food, viand, snack food, fermented drink, flavoring and to some extent for therapeutic purposes.

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