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The Stories Behind the 3rd Lomi Festival and the History of Lomi in Lipa City

For years now, lomi has been among the most popular trademarks of Batangas. Being such a comfort food, lomi has filled countless tummies with its warmth and its not-so-overpowering taste compared to other noddle dishes we know.

As Lipa City celebrates its 65th Founding Anniversary, the city again highlighted the famous noodle dish in the 3rd Lomi Festival held last Friday, June 15th.

The festival was divided into three competitions: the search for the new Lomi King, the search for the new Lomi Queen, and the Lomi Cook-Off.

First off, ang mga kalahi ni Eba na nag-unahan sa pag-ubos ng lomi. May humingi ng tissue, may nagrequest ng tubig, pero walang pinagbigyan. Haha. Syempre, paunahan nga ng pag-ubos so bawal ang poise dito.

And the 2012 Lomi Festival’s Lomi Queen is Ivonah Caringal from Brgy. 5. Ivonah shared she is really fond of eating lomi and tries different lomi houses every now and then.

Next up was the search for Lomi King 2012. Medyo hindi na natagalan ang contest na ‘to. Pambihira kasi ang bilis ng nanalo na si Michael Gaspar, who happens to be the reigning Lomi King! Michael of Brgy. Balintawak shared he eats lomi at three times a week and his favorite lomi house is Lipa City Panciteria.

The Lomi King and Lomi Queen both received P3000 while the rest of the participants went home with P500 consolation.

Lomi Festival Cook-Off challengeThe main event, which was the Lomi Cook-Off brought excitement to everyone. Eh pano kasi, libre ang lomi para sa lahat!

The participating lomi houses for this year’s festival were Renfel, Bee Gees, Liam’s, Rose, Hanzel, Ala Fiesta, and LDC lomi house.

They were given ample time to cook their lomi and were instructed to present a bowl for the final judgment. Of course, the winning lomi house was chosen based on the taste and presentation of their lomi. And after about an hour of waiting, as the crowd started growing little by little after having a cup/bowl of lomi for themselves, the winning lomi houses were announced.

The winners for Lomi Festival 2012 Cook-Off Challenge are: Liam’s Lomi House (Champion), Ala Fiesta (1st Runner-Up), and Hanzel Lomi House (2nd Runner-Up).

History of Lomi in Lipa City

In 1968, To Kim Eng, a Chinese who came to live in Lipa City, became so fond of cooking lomi for his mahjong friends. His lomi tasted so good that he became known for it.

With his wife Natalia, they put up Lipa City Panciteria in A. Mabini Street which the first ever lomi house in the city. The tender noodles and the kikiam and meatball toppings made Kim Eng’s lomi so enticing that Lipeños fell in love with his cooking.

Kim Eng was not selfish with his cooking techniques. In fact, he shared his way of cooking lomi to other people who eventually established their own lomi houses around the city.

15 years later, Kim Eng’s family had another Lipa City Panciteria in Kap. Simeon Luz Street that housed their Super Lomi, Super Chami, and Toasted Canton among their other noodle dishes. Their children — Shirley, Gary, Jonathan, Grace, and Minnie — helped out in running their business. Gary is the one who put up Lomi King in Brgy. Marawoy.

Lomi King challengeTwo years ago, the Hotel and Restaurant Management Department of De La Salle Lipa initiated the first Lomi Festival which was held in September 2010. It was in 2011 when it was proposed that the Lomi Festival should be moved to June to be part of the foundation anniversary celebration of the city.

It may not be too grand of a celebration for a festival, but Lomi Festival, in all its essence, is more than just the contests held every year. It is an event to commend and celebrate the efforts of the people behind the numerous lomi houses in Lipa City.

These words from Councilor Avior Rocafort, the vice chairman of the 65th Foundation Anniversary of Lipa City, summarized what the Lomi Festival is all about:

“Pagpaaala-ala rin sa ating mga Lipeno, lalo’t higit sa inyo na dapat mas tangkilikin natin, mas bilhin, at mas tulungan ang mga negosyong pagmamay-ari ng mga taga-Lipa. Bago natin tangkilikin ang mga negosyong hindi taga rito sa atin. Tulad po ng lomi, bago natin dalhin sa mga mamahaling first class mall, restaurant, ang ating mga panauhin, ipatikim muna natin sa kanila ang gating lomi – ang sariling atin.”

View more photos of the Lomi Festival 2012 here.

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