Tourism activities in PH kick into high gear
The Rooster has certainly switched gears with various activities in the tourism industry now in full swing.
Baguio just concluded the annual flower festival Panagbenga with an elaborate flower float parade featuring no less than Aldub stars Maine Mendoza and Alden Richards in the GMA float and Bea Alonzo and Enchong Dee in the ABS-CBN float.
Baguio hotels, restaurants and other food establishments, led by The Manor, also participated in a food festival on Session Road, serving festivalgoers some of their specialties from the Le Chef deli such as Chef Billy King’s raisin bread, banana bread, jams and marmalades.
It was my first time to attend the Panagbenga and I was overwhelmed and overjoyed by the number of participants in outfits inspired by and sometimes made of flowers, as well as the larger-than-life floats all made of flowers!
I encourage everyone to make the Panagbenga a part of your annual vacation or at least part of your bucket list.
Flavors of the World
Over at Manila Bay, Sofitel is launching Flavors of the World, a series of food festivals celebrating global cuisine. They are starting the “world tour” with Indonesian food, flying in Chef Pradipta Bayu Primaputra from Pullman Jakarta, who will be here from March 13 to 19. For those who would like to learn how to cook Indonesian cuisine, sign up for a cooking class with this top chef, to be conducted on March 14 at 4 p.m. at Spiral. Chef Pradipta will teach you how to cook Kambing Guling (not kambing duling, haha— this is oven-baked lamb with Indonesian herbs); Ayam Taliwang (spicy grilled chicken, Lombok-style); Bebek Betutu (roasted duck with Bali spices); Ikan Dabu—dabu (deep fried fish with Dabu-dabu sauce); Redang Padang (beef with coconut); and Iga Balado (Indonesian beef rib).
Flavors of the Philippines
Yesterday, March 11, the Department of Tourism launched Madrid Fusion Manila 2017 with a Giant Paella Festival at Greenbelt 3. This kicked off the Ayala Malls’ activities for April as part of the DOT’s Flavors of the Philippines, a project to promote Philippine regional cuisine during the month of Madrid Fusion Manila.
On March 28, “Mission: Manila,” a personal project to promote Filipino chefs inspired by Madrid Fusion, will feature Chef Myke Tatung Sarthou in a dinner entitled Flavors from Across the Archipelago. Cosponsored by the Raffles Makati, Destileria Limtuaco and Lobster House Manila, the 8-course dinner with cocktails and wine-pairing will include the menu Tatung showcased at the Dinner with the Stars in Madrid where he was a featured chef.
Tatung will also serve the dish he presented during his talk at Madrid Fusion last January. He was the only Filipino speaker at Madrid Fusion 2017 in Spain and the first Filipino to speak at the Madrid Fusion auditorium.
This event is also part of the DOT’s Flavors of the Philippines. It’s going to be an exciting dinner exposing flavors we never even knew we had. For inquiries, call 09175393937.
Madrid Fusion Manila
The most awaited food event of the year, of course, is Madrid Fusion Manila, which runs from April 6 to 8 and will be held at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
As always, one of the highlights is the Regional Lunch organized by the Department of Agriculture. Every day, will have a different feature for the lunch. As this year’s theme is “Towards a Sustainable Gastronomic Planet”, the first day will highlight various kinds of Philippine rice; the second day will highlight Philippine meat products; and the third day will highlight Philippine corn.
According to Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture who is heading the DA’s participation in Madrid Fusion Manila: “All the dishes in the DA Regional Lunches will be using ingredients produced by our local farmers and fisherfolk. With these efforts, the DA aims to raise the awareness of chefs, restaurateurs, and food enthusiasts that the Philippines can offer a variety of agricultural products and ingredients at par with international standards.”
Another highlight of Madrid Fusion Manila is the trade expo, put together by DOT private partner PACEOS.
This is said to be the biggest international gastronomy expo in Asia, focusing on ingredients and cuisine.
The expo will have over a hundred booths, including the DA’s own booth, highlighting Philippine indigenous products and heirloom ingredients.
The good news is that you don’t need to be a participant in Madrid Fusion to check out the expo; this will be open to the general public on the last day, April 8.
And if you can prove that you belong to the food industry (bring your ID!), Joel Pascual (creator of WOFEX and the main man in charge of the trade show) has made sure that you can get in for free!
WOFEX and The Hotel Show
Speaking of WOFEX or the World Food Expo (the largest food show in the Philippines), it’s a little early but I might as well mention—especially for the benefit of those who might want to participate—that this year’s WOFEX will be held from Aug. 2 to 5 and for the first time, the second floor of SMX will be home to The Hotel Show Philippines, the first hotel expo this large in Asia.
This will be an expo patterned after The Hotel Show Dubai showcasing the newest products and services around the world in the hotel and food service industries.
“This is in response to the growing tourism industry in the Philippines as well as the massive build up of food service establishments like hotels and restaurants,” Pascual explains.
Pascual’s company, PEPTarsus, was also motivated after hearing that expats were saying that while the Philippines has the best beaches, tourists would rather go to Bali or other tourism destinations because their services are better.
“If we are able to uplift the hotel experience not only for chain brands but also for boutique hotels, we would be a better player in terms of tourism,” he says.
The Hotel Show is targeting around 150 companies to set up booths. Together with WOFEX, the two events will provide the biggest food and hospitality platform in Philippine history. For information on how to participate, visit www.thehotelshowphilippines.com.