UPV-CHED TSIBOG discovers traditional muscovado making process

The project “Assessment and Process Development of Muscovado Production Towards Local Tourism Food Product Improvement and Global Market Compliance” under the Commission on Higher Education (CHED)-funded program “Tourism Studies on Island-Based Opportunities for Growth (TSIBOG) in Western Visayas” conducted a four-day community immersion at Sitio Agtuway, Brgy. Aglonok, Calinog, Iloilo last August 9-12, 2022.

The project team headed by Dr. Ramer P. Bautista explored the traditional method of producing muscovado sugar and other alternative sweeteners discovered and used by the residents.

Due to lack of resources for sweeteners and remoteness of the area, the residents of Aglonok looked for a way to sweeten their morning coffees.

This motivated the team comprising Mr. Jan Roland G. Molina, Engr. Paul Arean S. Sanapo, and Engr. Joyjane L. Borres together with Mr. Ramon Ramirez, the project’s anthropological consultant, to investigate and learn their traditional way of producing sweeteners.

They documented and conducted hands-on production using the traditional method of extracting juice from the sugarcane through a system called “urutsan”.

This system is made by placing two v-shaped wood against one another leaving a small space between the acute angles where sugarcane is pressed by a wooden rod. It is tied up on two parallel poles using abaca strings.

The sugarcane juice is extracted by placing it between the v-shaped woods with the wooden rod, pressed with the aid of human weight done by sitting on the other end of the rod, swaying multiple times, left and right.

This method can extract 2 cups of sugarcane juice for every 3-kg sugarcane stalks. The juice is then evaporated conventionally without the use of lime, producing less than a cup of muscovado sugar.

Aglonok is a barangay located in the Municipality of Calinog comprising less than 1% of the municipality’s total population as of 2020.

From the town market, the residents have to ride a motorcycle called “habal-habal” for an hour and a half to reach Brgy. Caratagan.

From there, residents have to trek a series of mountains for an hour to reach Aglonok. For beginners, the trek can last up to 2-3 hours.

During the immersion, the team also discovered three new sources of sweet juice that are used by the residents as an alternative source of sugar.

This discovery will possibly be a breakthrough in the field of sugar production using these wild fruits and grasses as alternative raw materials.

Verifications of this discovery will be done through scientific research.