Ube varieties and products on display at the Ubi Festival, on from Jan. 28 to 31, at the APC in Tagbilaran City. — GOV. ART YAP FB PAGE

BOHOL — popular for its chocolate hills, tarsier, beaches, and peanut kisses — is celebrating the Ubi Festival this week in honor of the province’s inconspicuous high-value crop, the yam. The Office Provincial Agriculturist (OPA), lead organizer of the event, said the current local government under Governor Arthur C. Yap and Vice Governor Rene L. Relampagos have identified the ubi, also called “ube,” as a priority sector. OPA, in a statement, said the festival, now on its 20th year, is a way of “encouraging” farmers to sustain the industry. This year’s festivities highlights the importance of the next generation of farmers and the industry’s potential contribution to tourism-related income. The Bohol tourism office says the ube crop (Dioscorea alata L.), with its different varieties including the native kinampay, is considered as the “agro-historical-geographical-religious” symbol of Bohol. The Ubi Festival is ongoing at the Bohol Agricultural Promotion Center (APC) in Tagbilaran City until Jan. 31. Ube is part of the Department of Agriculture’s list of high-value crops, and the kinampay is considered as the “Queen of Philippine Yams.” The crop’s roots are processed and used in various food products, while the skin serves as a raw material for food coloring. — MSJ