ANCHORED on a goal to promote and preserve the rich culinary traditions of the Philippines, the National Commission for Culture and Arts, Department of Tourism and Department of Agriculture took the lead to celebrate April in a festivity dubbed as “Buwan ng Kalutong Pilipino” (Filipino Food Month).

The month-long celebration-created by virtue of Proclamation No. 469 that President Rodrigo Duterte signed last year-was highlighted with various food fairs, exhibits and expos, workshops, seminars, and cooking competitions putting focus to the abundant food scene of the country.

In Davao City, a grand fusion of Davao Region's food culture was held in one shared table on April 30, 2019 at the Waterfront Insular Hotel - Davao.

A total of 13 exhibitors from hotels, resorts, restaurants, and local governments joined the “Buwan ng Kalutong Pilipino” Davao culmination, all showcasing their distinctive food and delicacies.

Department of Tourism-Davao director Tanya Rabat-Tan underscored in her speech that the event is their way of appreciating Filipino culinary traditions and treasures, as well as preserving and protecting the culinary traditions while supporting local industries and farmers.

“We want to put premium to our local produce and dishes. We encourage our local producers to capitalize on the region’s bountiful harvest, and come up or strengthen signature dishes,” she said adding that improving the culinary scene and highlighting Davao Region’s rich culture are two of the priorities of the tourism department.

Tan also emphasized that celebrating Davao’s cuisine should not stop in April but must be a continuous effort of all the tourism and agriculture players.

“DOT really has a lot of work to do in partnership with other agencies and players in terms of developing and promoting culinary industry. Actually, we already agreed with NCCA that we shall come up with a Memorandum of Agreement in encouraging more restaurants, hotels, and local government units in making April a big deal in terms of featuring our local dishes,” she said.

During the culmination program, some of the featured dishes and delicacies are: Nilotlot by the Province of Davao del Sur; Kasikit by Hijo Resorts Davao; Special Empanada and Lumpia by Seaside Snack Haus of Mati City; Davao Wow Kinilaw by Villa Margarita; Native Chicken Adobo by Lao Integrated Farms; Flourless Davao Chocolate Cake by IChef; Maguindanao pastil by Waterfront Insular Hotel; Beef Kulma by Dusit D2 Davao; Chili of Davao Oriental; Bibingka of Compostela Valley; and Lolob Adlai cooked in Agik-ik leaves of Davao Occidental, among others.

Meanwhile, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, represented by Vice Mayor Bernard Al-ag also lauded the celebration emphasizing that the celebration is not just about the diverse “Filipino flavors but also of the skillful hands behind each delicious dish.”

“May this give greater appreciation of our culinary traditions for the present tradition and beyond,” read Al-ag.

Agriculture secretary Emmanuel Piñol and DA-Davao director Ricardo Onate, Jr. along with members of the diplomatic corps were also present during the event.