although garlic (allium sativa)--bawang in tagalog--is a staple in filipino cuisine, and locally grown in the philippines (most notably in the ilocos region), production has decreased steadily in recent years. there are various reasons--from diseases, natural disasters, changing weather patterns, to shrinking acreage, shifting crops, and sadly, importation of cheaper product from other countries. garlic in the philippines is relatively expensive, but because it isn't subject to cold storage, it is far fresher and more pungent than its imported counterparts; as an ingredient, so much less of it is needed. there is a particular flavour to the local garlic that comes from the intense pungency; it is unmatched, even by adding more of an inferior product--definitely quality over quantity. hopefully, with the continually growing interest in the culinary and healing properties of truly fresh garlic, the downward trend can be stemmed, and production in the country will flourish.