(June 07, 2013 to September 07, 2013)
White Gold of the Ilocos
Bawang is almost synonymous to Ilocos, a crop which grows well in the warm Ilocos climate, which is why the region is the main producer of bawang in the country. Also, almost all Ilocano cuisine are known and liked because of this aromatic and flavorful culinary herb.
Scientifically known as allium sativum, bawang is one of the species of the onion genus. It is an onion-shaped bulb made up of a cluster of separable parts called cloves. The most popular variety cultivated in the Ilocos Region is the Ilocos white.
The ideal time to plant garlic is right after the rice harvest, taking advantage of the moist soil on October to December. Harvest time would fall on the months of February and March. Planting bawang requires arduous work and constant care, hence, the steep market value of the crop, although prices are also greatly affected by supply and demand.
Bawang being one of the main produce of the region, tobacco being the top, is considered to be one of the cash crops. With the current campaign against cigarette smoking the government is now focusing on bawang to be a major alternative crop for farmers in the Ilocos region.
Moreover, bawang is known to be one of the oldest medicinal plants. It has been attributed to prevent and treat a multitude of diseases, one of which is high blood pressure. It is also believed to have mystical powers of warding off evil spirits.