MANILA, Philippines – In an effort to ramp up culinary tourism, the Department of Tourism (DOT), together with its partner agencies Department of Agriculture (DA), National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and the Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement (PCHM) signified its support of the Filipino Food Month or Buwan ng Kalutong Filipino.
Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat emphasized that food tourism has been identified as an important protector of cultural heritage as it helps create opportunities and livelihood, especially in rural destinations in the Philippines.
“This echoes the theme of this event, “Pagkaing Pilipino, susi sa pag-unlad at pagbabago”. Among the biggest desires of tourists today is the need to make a deeper, more meaningful connection with the places they visit, and one of the best ways to broaden tourists’ appreciation for a place is through food,” Puyat said during the opening ceremony at the newly renovated Metropolitan Theater in Manila.
Puyat, through the DOT’s regional and overseas offices, committed to collaborate and align the Department’s efforts with the DA, NCCA, and the PCHM to keep Filipino culinary traditions appreciated, preserved, and promoted. This, she said, will ensure transmission to future generations, and to uphold various industries, food tourism stakeholders, farmers, and agri-communities.
“In the DOT, we have been championing food as one of our key tourism products, ascribing to the principles of sustainability as guided by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). The UNWTO recognizes that gastronomy is about much more than food. The organization also acknowledges the role of gastronomy as a way of promoting understanding among different cultures, and bringing people and traditions closer together,” Puyat added.
The tourism chief also mentioned that a number of regional tourism circuits have been designed to include immersive food and farm experiences as the highlight of travel itineraries. Likewise, food fairs such as Kain Na! and Philippine Harvest are continuously running to support our food and farm tourism stakeholders.
Meanwhile, the DOT and its group of tour operators named the Philippine Food Tourism Consortium exhibited Biyahe Na, Kain Na! food tourism packages such as the:
- Pampanga Day Tours available at Php 4,150/person;
- Bulacan Day Tours at Php 4,250/person;
- CALABARZON Day Tours at Php 4,900/person;
- Overnight tours featuring Baguio and Benguet, Laguna and Rizal Art and Crafts Loop, and Subic-Clark Bubble at Php 9,999/person;
- 3 days 2 nights tours like the Benguet to La Union, Ilocos Trail, and Cordillera Trail at Php 16,300/person, and Day trip Sit-In-Coach Tours featuring San Fernando-Angeles-Clark Loop every Tuesday and Sunday at Php 4,150, and
Tayo Na Sa Rizal every Wednesday and Sundays at Php 4,900.
These, and more, were formulated in time for the resumption of a more relaxed pandemic-related restrictions in the country.
Food and gastronomy projects
Among the online and on-site activities to be conducted and participated by the DOT regional offices during the month-long celebration include the Fun Philippine Finds Pop-Up Store at the 21st World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit from April 20-22 and Mangan Taku (Let’s Eat) 2022 with DOT Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) in cooperation with the City Government of Baguio, CAR provinces, and Department of Agriculture CAR from April 21-24.
DOT Region IV-A will host a series of online activities such as Sustainable Diner Series with WWF Philippines on April 6, 11, 13, 18, 20, a Slow Food Webinar for FEU Cavite on April 22, and Punsyunan: Showcase of CALABARZON Cuisine on April 29, while DOT Region 6 will mount a three-day event called Namit!: A Celebration of the Filipino Food Month together with the Provincial Government of Iloilo from April 25-30.
In Mindanao, DOT Region 10, in partnership with local virtual lifestyle show Hello CdeO, will take travellers and foodies on a virtual food crawl of Cagayan de Oro City on April 3, 10, 17, and 24, while DOT Region 11 will stage a culmination activity on Kalutong Pilipino in partnership with DAXI, NCCA, partner local government units and the private sector from April 29-30.
DOT foreign offices will also support Filipino Restaurant Month celebrations in Canada through the DOT San Francisco; Philippine Food Fair at the Imperial Hotel with DOT Tokyo Office; a virtual Philippine Food Tour with DOT Australia; publicity support for the opening of Reyna Restaurant in Paris with DOT Frankfurt; stories on Philippine food and gastronomy will be featured on the local media platforms of DOT Beijing, and a special feature on China’s social media platforms WeChat, Weibo and Daoyuin will be conducted by DOT Shanghai to highlight Philippine gastronomic offerings.