Old Senate Session Hall , National Arts Gallery – Padre Burgos street, Manila- Philippines
Doña Engracia Cruz-Reyes together with Mrs. Teresita ” Mama Sita” -Reyes -photo is courtesy of Mama Sita foundation
Life : Teresita “Mama Sita” Reyes was born on May 11, 1917 . She is the third of Aling Asiang and Mr. Alex Reyes’ 13 children, and was the one who got her mother’s features. She is well known for her extraordinary gift with food- cooking, incorporating even selecting ingredients that really make our favorite food taste even better. She is the eldest daughter of Doña Engracia Cruz- Reyes . Food wasn’t her only interest. She was also very business-minded. She would wake up early in the morning and would go to markets such as Divisoria and Nepa Q-Mart now ( Mega Q-Mart) to check out the items they offered.
Doña Engracia Cruz-Reyes was featured in a definitive stamp series of the Philippine Postal Corporation in 1992 ( Decade of Filipino Nationalism IV) to mark the 100th anniversary of her birth . Litho is by Amstar Printing Company . Perforation of 13 3/4 x 13 1/2 , Watermark .3 .
Her mother, Doña Engracia Cruz-Reyes, is known as the “Mother of Filipino Cooking”. Through her parents, Mama Sita first learned that nothing could compare to the goodness of Filipino cooking. Her family ran the restaurant Aristocrat, which is why at an early age, her life already revolved around the world of food.
This is a se-tenant strips of 5, Sheets of 200 with total of 5,280,000 or 1,056,000 pieces per ( featured Filipino icon )
The set also includes President Manuel Roxas, Mrs. Natividad-Lopez, National Artist Fernando Amorsolo and Mr. Roman O. Ozaeta (He was a former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines (June 24, 1941 – May 16, 1950). Justice Ozaeta was born on February 28, 1891 in San Jose, Batangas to Julian and Florencia Ozaeta. ). The stamp was issued on June 1, 1992
Highlights of Mrs. Teresita Reyes achievements was posted near the main entrance of the old session hall of the Senate during the stamp unveiling ceremony
When it came to buying things, Mama Sita was number one. As soon as someone would offer her products at a discounted price, she couldn’t stop herself from buying them. From sacks of rice to a dozen cans of evaporated milk, or ten baskets of mangos, she really would not let the opportunity pass. As long as she was able to buy something, anything at all, she would go home satisfied, and with a smile on her face.
Mrs. Amelita Cunanan , Mr. Reynaldo Ong de Jesus and Ms. Macaria J. Leonardo ( Chief ) Postage Division -Philippine Postal Corporation
Her hard-working efforts were not only seen in her traveling to so many places just to gather delectable and reasonably priced food. It was also apparent in the kitchen, of course.
traditional Filipino kitchen utensils and handicrafts
Mother : Mama Sita when she married Mr. Fidel Reyes and bore 11 children. She was able to come up with countless recipes and innovative ways of preparing food, due to her productive ethics. She never got tired of experimenting with different ingredients. Writing her new found recipes and discoveries on her diaries and journals also became a hobby of hers, which lead to us finding out fascinating secrets and tips on cooking!
The daughters of Mrs. Teresita -Reyes were introduced to the crowd
Another thing that stood out about Mama Sita was her character. Those who were fortunate enough to have met her can still remember her laugh. They also recall how she would pick on lansones and butong pakuan ( dried watermelon seeds) even her habit of going to places that were far, just so she could taste the food they were well known for.
Postmaster General Maria Josefina Dela Cruz caught in a light moment was shaking hands with Dr. Bartolome B. Lapus ( looking in the middle ) is Atty. Constantino de Jesus
Stamp Unveiling Ceremony:
The preparations of the stamp unveiling ceremony was initiated by the Mama Sita Foundation and the Reyes family clan members after the approval of the stamp design by the stamp advisory committee sometime last year. The author got an invitation via email from the foundation more than a month prior to the stamp launching.
National Museum Assistant Director Ana Labrador in her welcome address
Preparation was meticulously handled by the foundation . Finally, on February 11, 2013, the stamps and First Cover were issued by the Philippine Postal Corporation , the stamp unveiling ceremonies is set at at the old session hall of the National Arts Gallery. The unveiling ceremony was set for March 14, 2013 . Coincidentally , March was declared ” National Women’s Month ” .
Mr. Victor Reyes ( lone surviving brother of Mama Sita ) and Postmaster General Maria Josefina Dela Cruz
Mr. Victor Reyes together with Postmaster General Josie Dela Cruz after the ceremonial unveiling of stamps and commemorative First Day Cover
Invited guests , media and vips came dressed in their best Filipinana outfit. Then a short program was initiated by the intimidate family members of the Reyes clan. There is a table set up of traditional utensils and native crafts , rondalla playing traditional Filipino music .
ceremonial signing of Mama Sita’s First Day Cover
after the ceremonial signing of the First Day Cover , Mr. Victor Reyes and Mrs. Josefina Dela Cruz shakes their hands and showed the media and writers the signed copies
The organizing committee of the stamp launching event was led by Mama Sita group of companies and part of the Reyes family running famous restaurants such as Aristocrat, Chateau 1771, El Pueblo, Reyes Barbecue and Serye Cafe. Mama Sita Foundation led by Mrs. Clara Reyes-Lapus organized the event in cooperation with the National Museum and the Philippine Postal Corporation.
The Reyes family clan capping the night with traditional Filipino songs and medley
Mama Sita is known for her passion of spreading the art of Filipino cooking not only in the Philippines but also the rest of the world. Mama Sita’s “Mga Kuwentong Pagkain” is a nationwide contest launched to encourage everyone to share authentic, one-of-a-kind and little known stories on Filipino cuisine and cooking. These stories correspond to Teresita “Mama Sita” Reyes’s own commitment to celebrate the cuisine and culinary heritage of the Philippines. Another cooking festival, Kulinarya at Saya Local Food Cooking Contest was also sponsored by the foundation and was held in Puerto Gallera , Mindoro.
Mama Sita’s famous mixes, sauces , condiments and samalamig
Mama Sita’s policy to use only natural ingredients has also led to helping small agricultural -industrial business in the countryside. MCC through its Mama Sita Foundation assists farmers in planting crops that can be dried and processed. Thus, the abundant produce of the season like chilis, tomatoes, onions are not wasted and instead can be sold to companies like MCC.
sumptuous late afternoon meal provided by Mama Sita’s Foundation, Aristocrat and Reyes family to all the invited participants , vips, guests and media
Mama Sita Foundation is also helping small farmers thru their several projects like producing Siling Labuyo ( chili peppers) for Marigold Commodities, The maker of the famous Mama Sita sauces and condiments. Siling Labuyo is one of the the smallest among hot peppers grown in the country. It has the hotness and the flavor desired by Mama Sita.
Ms. Chuchay V. Andrada together with Mr. Renz Emmanuel Raquion ( writer contributor of Manila Bulletin and a stamp collector )
Mama Sita’s First Day Covers ( FDC) and stamps issued by Philippine Postal Corporation last February 11, 2013
Technical Description of the Stamps
Kind of Issue : Commemorative
Printer: Amstar Company , Incorporated
Printing Process: Litho- Offset ( 4 colors ).
Perforation : 14
Paper : Imported Unwatermarked
Singles, Souvenir Sheets of One 10p Teresita Reyes – Portrait (105,000)
Sheet composition : 40 (10x 40)
Size of stamp : 30mm x 40mm
Size of souvenir sheet: 120mm x 85mm
Souvenir sheet Php 10 with Php 40.00 premium (8,000 pieces )
Mama Sita face illustrator :Ms. Chuchay V.Andrada
Design coordinator: Susan Ada Veneracion
Designers: Ms. Criselda Santos , Mr. Ian Aycocho and Mr. Christian Molina
Note: My heartfelt ” Thanks” to all the people behind Mama Sita Foundation for the warm accommodation extended to me during and after the stamp launching . All the photos are taken by the author during the event, for those who wanted to use the photos for any purpose , please try to link this page . The stamps are from the personal collection of the author.
References and Bibliography:
Artistocrat Restaurant : http://www.aristocrat.com.ph/
Engracia Cruz- Reyes, Filipinos in History Vol. III. Manila, Philippines: National Historical Institute. 1996. pp. 228–230.
Mama Sita Foundation : http://www.msita.com/
Philippine Postal Corporation : http://philpost.gov.ph/web/category/stamp-releases/
1997 Ngo’s Catalogue of Philippine Republic Stamps & Postal Stationaries . page 137.
2012 Scott’s Stamp Catalog of Philippine stamps
Souvenir Program / Presentation pack : Mrs. Teresita ” Mama Sita ” Reyes