THERE was no better place to be that evening. It was the night when the ultimate Davao spread was served. Kaun na ta!

Buwan ng Kalutong Pilipino is a joint project by the Department of Agriculture, Department of Tourism (DOT) and the National Commission on Culture and Arts. Celebrated in April, the month-long and nationwide event aims to appreciate and preserve culinary traditions of the different regions while supporting the agricultural industry of the community.

DOT-Davao Director Tanya Tan said that the department believes in the importance of culinary arts and tradition in the identity of the Filipinos, the importance of putting a premium to our local products, and how it forms and transforms our consciousness.

Vice Mayor Al-ag delivered Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio message congratulating the organizers and said, “That Buwan ng Kalutong Pilipino is a celebration not only for Filipino flavors but also of the skillful hands behind each delicious dish. With every April as a Filipino Food Month, may there be a greater appreciation of our culinary traditions from this generation and beyond.”

Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol shared the growth of the country’s food production, the ingredients used in the nationwide food event. He also said that the DA is promoting Filipino products in the world right now.

In Davao, the region’s gastronomic delights were presented on one long table at the Waterfront Insular Hotel. Specialties whipped up by the local tribespeople and city chefs, who took inspiration from traditional recipes, thrilled everyone’s palate.

My personal favorites? The Bagobo Tagabawa specialty of Nilotlot, native chicken simmered in coconut milk and herbs in a bamboo receptacle, and Chef Niño of Waterfront’s take on the Moslem Maguindanao dish of Pastil, sushi-like preparation of rice and chicken, but the chef also served the shredded duck meat version as well.

With all the food I’ve tasted, I’m looking forward to the next gathering.

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