DOT supports the candidacy of the government of Iloilo for the UNESCO “Creative City of Gastronomy” label
MANILA, Philippines – The Ministry of Tourism on Saturday supported the candidacy of the city government of Iloilo to be named Creative City of Gastronomy by the Creative Cities Network 2021 of the United Nations Educational, Scientific Organization. and culture (UNESCO).
Created in 2004, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network seeks to “promote and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development”. There are seven creative fields, namely crafts and folk art, design, cinema, gastronomy, literature, media arts and music.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said it was high time that Iloilo was recognized by UNESCO, as she describes the city as a “gastronomic hot spot”.
“Iloilo, as a gastronomic hotspot, offers two of the country’s most popular dishes: La Paz Batchoy and Pancit Molo. We give our full support to Iloilo for this initiative. We believe that it is high time for the city to join the prestigious cities recognized by UNESCO, especially now that we are exploring strategies to accelerate the revival of the sector, ”said Puyat.
Currently, there are only 36 Cities of Gastronomy in the world.
If selected, Iloilo will be the first city in the Philippines to make the list.
The country has only two UNESCO Creative Cities. These are the cities of Baguio and Cebu, which were hailed as UNESCO Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art in 2017 and UNESCO Creative City of Design in 2019, respectively.
To support Iloilo’s candidacy, the DOT Western Visayas provided assistance to Megaworld Museums and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) for a three-part program focusing on traditional Ilonggo dishes called “Timplada : The Art of Ilonggo Cooking “.
There would be a series of virtual educational programs titled “Merienda Talks” from August to December 2021 to provide more in-depth knowledge of Ilonggo’s ingredients and cuisine.
Here’s a look at the upcoming gastronomic events:
- Opening of the Timplada exhibition – August 21
- Ark of Taste Talk by Reena Gamboa which focuses on food and tourism for rural development in the Western Visayas – August 28;
- Pangyam-is Talk by Gilbert Marin (part of the Western Visayas Sugar Trail) – October 9.
Meanwhile, the art exhibit will tell culinary stories of Ilonggo through the eyes of ten Iloilo-based artists and in collaboration with ten local food establishments.
The works of art will be presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Iloilo (ILOMOCA) on August 21.
The DOT said that an Ilonggo food map will also be drawn and printed for local and international audiences to highlight the gastronomic journey.
Puyat said the Western Visayas office initiative for Iloilo would help boost cuisine as a tourism product.
“We hope that through the activities planned for this candidacy, we will obtain the green light from the United Nations,” said the head of tourism.
The regional DOT office lobbied for Iloilo City to be seen as a world-class gastronomic hub.
He has organized gastronomic activities such as the Kaon Na ‘Ta Food and Travel Festival; Food Festival of Iloilo Dinagyang hawkers; Iloilo Batchoy Festival; Flavors of the Western Visayas; Tabu-an Ilonggo Heritage Cooking Competition; and the annual Sabores de Visayas.
In 2019, DOT also spearheaded the launch of the Philippine Cookbook Photoshoot with Korean-American chef Chistina Sunae and World Food Expo, the Philippines’ largest food fair.
Iloilo was also selected as one of the destinations for DOT’s “Chefs’ Food Trip Project”, a culinary immersion of Filipino-American chefs based in the United States to promote Ilonggo’s culinary culture.
In its drive to make the country an international culinary destination, the DOT has organized various gastronomic events in various regions of the country.
In the midst of the pandemic, it launched as the reinvention of Filipino cuisine to adapt to food industry trends and challenges in the New Normal, Tabu-an Cooking Contest, Slow Food Travel and Exploration the potential of agricultural tourist destinations.
DOT has also partnered with the Ministry of Agriculture to present heritage dishes in celebration of Philippine Food Month.
Last month, the travel agency also partnered with one of the leading short-lived mobile video destinations, TikTok, for a campaign called #SarapMagingPinoy, which encourages locals to explore food recipes and celebrate the Filipino culture.