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Center photo: Holding the winners’ prizes and certificates. From left, Moppet-Maria Villasin Nucum, Frizzie Mendiola and Rose Santos Clave.  (AdoboMoppet)


If there is anything more synonymous with Filipino food, it’s obviously adobo.

Many Filipinos would say it is the national dish.

Many of us grew up with this savory dish at the comfort of our homes through inherited recipes cooked by our mother, fathers or even grandmothers.

While made with different methods, each style maintains a similar flavor of salty, sour and tangy.

In an effort to introduce our new Philippine American NJ Jaycees, we held an Adobo Challenge, an intellectual property of AJ Images, at Liberty State Park on Sept. 10, 2016.

A total of 11 contestants entered in the challenge of which five were from the individual category, and six from different restaurants in New Jersey and New York.

Each Adobo Challenge entry was judged based on taste and look of the adobo, where 50% from the crowd’s favorite and 50% from the judge’s favorites totaling a score of 100%.

We thank our sponsors who judged at the event.

Mylz Tolentino of Western Union, Grace H. Labaguis of GMA Pinoy TV- EAST COAST, Erwin del Rosario of Philippine Airlines, Marisse Panlilio of POPSIE’s, and Chris Anthony Bautista of SIRCH.

In addition, we also gracefully thanked Rolando Lavarro, Jr., Jersey City’s Councilman President, Ria Serrano JCI State President, Jane Amend- NJ State Presidential Advisor, Yves Nibungco of Office of Welcoming Communities of Jersey City, Margarita Ehrig owner of Oky’s Cookies.

We asked some of our judges what their experience was like and thought of each contestant’s entries.

Grace Labaguis of GMA media sponsor amazingly stated, “Each contestant really did a great job. Each one has its distinctive taste that separates them from each other. Overall, I am glad to taste the classic servings and fusions too.”

Mylz Tolentino of Western Union happily stated, “Congratulations to the JCI Philippine American NJ for your first Adobo Cook-Off, this one great event! Excited to have it next year again!”

Erwin del Rosario of PAL excitedly stated, “Ang sarap lahat, their presentations were amazing, presented with minimum flare but the taste was amazing. Each one got their own style and it all going to be a photo finish.”

City Council President of Jersey City Rolando Lavarro Jr. thankfully shares, “I am really glad for the Phil-Am Jaycees NJ for doing this event. They have been doing many great things for the Jersey City communities, and JC appreciates that! Congratulations to Phil-Am Jaycees NJ!”

Ria Serrano, JCI NJ State President, gladly commented, “Amazing and definitely talent among Filipino community in bringing their own concoctions for the adobo taste.”

Chris Bautista of Sirch said, “It was hard to judge, everything was delicious.”

Mother of POPSIE’s: “I was so impressed.”  

Among of the 11 entries, top 3 were chosen in each category.

Winners won the bragging rights and became known as the Adobo Champion in town or restaurant.

The winners were:

1st place winners are La Parilla de Manila of Colonia, N.J. in the Business category and Mhonerra Mauleon of Jersey City in the Individual category.

2nd place and 3rd place winners are: In the Business category, Grace Restaurant and Carol Salvador Catering of Jersey City, and Five Chris Catering of Nutley, N.J., consecutively, and Maricel Badulis & Rico Soriano in the individual category, consecutively.

In a post contest joint statement, Maricar Taino, JCI PhilAm President and this writer, Chair of the event, said, “Congratulations to all and the participants. We thank you for your vivid involvement and contributions! Everyone is looking forward to next year’s Abobo cook-off challenge. We will see you then!”


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The winning adobo.  (Adobo Win)

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