DOT vows continued support to thriving food tourism in Western Visayas

Published January 20, 2021, 11:40 AM

by Hanah Tabios

Tourism Secretary Bernatte Romulo-Puyat vowed for continued support to the thriving food tourism scene in Western Visayas.

Department of Tourism / MANILA BULLETIN

Puyat on Tuesday personally attended the launch of an 82-page cookbook entitled “Negrense Heritage Cooking” held at the historic Casa Gamboa in Silay City. She said the project will greatly contribute to the Department of Tourism’s continued promotion of culinary tourism despite the on-going pandemic.

The DOT-led event was in partnership with the Slow Food Negros Community, Negros Museum, and Provincial Government of Negros Occidental.

“My heartfelt congratulations to everyone who worked on this wonderful cookbook. Negros Heritage Cooking is a testament to the culinary traditions of the region, filled with recipes that tell the stories of ingenuity, creativity and passion,” Puyat said.

“This book is a legacy that will be passed down to generations who will remember forgotten ingredients and keep these heirloom dishes alive,” she added.

The tourism chief also recognized the active participation of the Slow Food Negros Community in DOT’s events—more recently—the KAIN NA! Food and Travel Festival and participation in the Terra Madre Salone del Gusto exhibition in 2020.

Through its Region 6 Office, the DOT provided financial support to some of the components of the KAIN NA! 2020 edition such as food talks and film production of the finest Negrense food.

“These initiatives are in full support of the DOT’s Philippine Food Tourism Roadmap and Strategic Plan for 2021 and our efforts to position the Philippines as a center of food and gastronomy. We look forward to the day the province opens up again, so visitors from around the country can also experience what eating and living is like ‘sa banwa sang dulce’,” the tourism chief said.

Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose V. Lacson, Negros Occidental Board Member Ryan Gamboa, Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia, Silay City Mayor Mark Golez, Negros Cultural Foundation President Marilyn Gamboa, and Slow Food Negros President Reena Gamboa-Peña, Ramon Uy, Jr. and members also attended the cookbook launch.

Local chefs Gabriel Francisco Melocoton, Joeri Arro, Mia Lizares Gonzaga, and Shuni Grace Palma Osano were also invited to prepare and share stories behind some of the delectable Negrense dishes featured in the cookbook.

“With the support of the DOT and the province of Negros Occidental, through Governor Lacson, the Slow Food community of Negros was able to vigorously participate virtually in Slow Food International’s Terra Madre Salonne del Gusto and in the KAIN NA event of the DOT,” Gamboa said.

In 2019, the DOT invited Fil-Am Chefs Tom Cunanan, Charles Olalia, and Grant Tabura to Iloilo and Bacolod City, where they were accompanied by award-winning chef and entrepreneur Margarita Fores in visiting tourist sites and sampling culinary delights as part of the Chefs’ Food Trip to the Philippines project.