The Life and Legacy of ‘Mama Sita’ (Part II)

1982 -1998 – Sita did a series of cooking demonstrations in the US and Canada. Further, in Washington D.C., her audience were Filipino chefs working in the White House. And, while in San Francisco, she met celebrity chef, Martin Yan, who later came to the Philippines to make the TVFN (TV Food Network)  documentary called “Martin Yan in Flavorful Philippines.”
Television viewers worldwide who watched the show were amazed at how one can easily cook Filipino food such as: “adobo,” “palabok, and “sinigang, sa sampalok,” using Mama Sita’s mixes, sauces and all-natural floral sap vinegar.
Her children and grandchildren all pitched in “patikims” in North America, Europe and Asia.
1999 – The Mama Sita Foundation was established. It led a number of food missions worldwide, to promote Philippine cuisine. Along with National Scientist, Benito S. Vergara as project leader, the Foundation started a project on selecting crops that have potentials for industrial production, to help farming communities and make Philippine gastronomy sustainable.
2012 – “Mga Kuwentong Pagkain” (MKP), was launched to continue Mama Sita’s advocacy of culinary heritage preservation. Over 200 entries were sent from different parts of the country and the world. MKP continues on until today and it accepts Philippine food stories all year round.
2013 – In recognition of her contribution to Philippine cuisine, the Philippine Postal Corporation launched a five-year series of commemorative stamps for Mama Sita. During the launch, former National Commission of the Philippines, chairperson Dr. Ma. Serena Diokno shared, “Philippine food history is not complete without taking into account the role of Teresita Reyes in popularizing Philippine cuisine.”
2017 – The Mama SIta Foundation continues to support Philippine culinary heritage through various initiatives, such as: cookbook donations to various libraries and museums, rejuvenating exhausted sugar lands and the promotion of Philippine Heirloom Rice.
Learning about Mama Sita’s inspiring history, of perseverance, entrepreneurship, and her relentless pursuit in sharing her culinary experience, truly makes us all proud of our Philippine food culture, traditions, and heritage. Though we’re all far away from our home country, most of us still yearn for the simple,  home-cooked traditional Filipino food that caters to our particular palate and undoubtedly, those of us who cook, use “Mama Sita’s” mixes and sauces to enhance the meals we prepare.
Our thanks to Clara Kalayaan Reyes Lapus, President of Mama Sita Foundation, Adarna House Publishing and to our sis, Felice Prudente Sta. Maria for Allowing us to publish the “Mama Sita” story. which is a section of the book called “What Kids Should Know About Filipino Food.”
As a brief background, current Mama Sita Foundation President, Clara Kalayaan Reyes- Lapus was born to Fidel and Teresita “Mama Sita” Reyes in 1942.
During the 1970’s, her mother, “Mama SIta,” decided to start a line of businesses that catered t the needs of overseas Filipinos who were clamoring for a taste of home.
So, by 1980, Marigold Manufacturing Corporation (MMC) was established to innovate, create ad produce the line of products that made “Mama SIta,” a household name.
Initially promoting the products and Filipino culinary, Clara was responsible for recording and sharing her family’s heirloom recipes, as well as her contribution to agriculture, through her work as President of the Mama Sita Foundation.
By 2014, the Mama Sita Foundation has grown its small nursery in Laguna into five plantations that harvest the fruits of the land to supply food manufacturers. The Foundation also gives recognition to putstanding Filipinos who have made a mark in  the food industry and awards grants to agriculture to agriculture stu
dents to further their studies..
2017 – The Mama Sita Foundation’s continues to support Philippine culinary heritage through various initiatives, such as cookbook donations to various libraries and international museums , rejuvenating exhausted sugar lands and the promotion of Philippine Heirloom Rice.
Today, Clara continues to inspire,  promote Filipino food culture by uniting her untiring efforts that inspire many of those who work for, and with her at MMC and the Foundation. Though she may now be in her 70’s, her love for the advocacy which her mother began, never waned, but instead, it continues to grow stirring the hearts of the global public, a love of flavor, that is distinctly Filipino.
Learning about Mama Sita’s inspiring life and legacy, truly makes us all proud of our Filipino food culture. Though most of us are far away from our home country, some of us still yearn for the simple, home-cooked, traditional Filipino food, that caters to our particular palate and undoubtedly, we use “Mama Sita’s” flavorful food mixes and sauces to enhance the meals we prepare.
Our sincere thanks to Clara Kalayaan Reyes-Lapus, President of Mama Sita Foundation, Adarna House Publishing and Felice Prudente-Sta. Maria for coordinating with us in reprinting this section of the book “What Kids Should Know About Filipino Food.”  Mabuhay!
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