Philippines Serves Up Culinary Tourism Anew

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has renewed its call for travelers to practically eat their way around the country with its Kulinarya Program.

First launched in 2005, the culinary tourism project now offers more food trips and will soon launch a guide book on Philippine cuisine.

According to Tourism Secretary Ace Durano, “Culinary tourism provides a different way to experience a particular destination. It allows visitors to fully engage themselves in Philippine culture by way of our food traditions.”

The DOT has recently finalized a roster of 13 Kulinarya Food Trips. Day tours include Quezon Province, Batangas-Cavite, Pampanga-Bulacan and Binondo. Itineraries for Ilocos, Bicol, Cebu, Bohol, Negros Occidental, Iloilo, Boracay, Davao and Dakak take as much as three days and two nights.

The Department has accredited tour operators Trips Travel, Southeast Travel, Sharp Travel Service, Rajah Tours, Nexus Travel, CCT 168 Travel and Tours, Baron Travel and Action Holidays Tours to offer the specialized packages.

Food samplings – a combination of breakfast, lunch, dinner and in-between snacks- are the centerpiece of each tour. These are enhanced by sight-seeing and photo opportunities of the locale’s cultural and natural attractions. Many trips also involve a visit to the local market, farm or food processing plant, giving insight to the ingredients that make up the dish.

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Pasalubong shopping breaks allow one to fill up on special goodies to take home. Cooking demonstrations offer a rare opportunity to learn from master chefs and keepers of time-honored family recipes. These informal sessions are often conducted in ancestral homes, remaining true to the Filipino brand of hospitality.

Pampangueno historian and culinary master Lilia Borromeo will give tourists a chance to bake San Nicholas cookies in her kitchen. Quezon Province pottery artist Ugu Bigyan opens his studio and dining area for morning snacks.

Tourists will also get the chance to meet the owners of the oldest recipes for La Paz batchoy and molo soup in Iloilo, as well as Sorsogon’s creator of sweetened pili nuts wrapped in leaves. Durano revealed that the DOT is currently developing other tours, including fine-dining escapades around the country.

In a bid to put Filipino food in the map of international cuisine, the DOT will launch this year Kulinarya: A Guide to Philippine Cooking. Edited by food columnist Mikaela Fenix, the cook book is a collaboration of celebrated Filipino chefs Claude Tayag, Glenda Barreto, Myrna Segismundo, Jessie Sinsioco, Conrad Calalang and Margarita Fores.

The food manual is a joint project of the DOT, Asia Society, San Miguel Corporation, Del Monte Corporation, Anvil Publishing and the Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines. “The Kulinarya guide includes recipes for dishes that best define Philippine flavors. This project aims to provide a standard method of preparing, cooking and plating well-loved Filipino food that can be shared even abroad.

We envision halo-halo and adobo to be as popular as sushi and apple pie on the global menu,” Durano said.

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