After DTI’s ‘adobo standards’, Iloilo now pushing for Batchoy et al via UNESCO bid

Published July 13, 2021, 6:00 PM

by Tara Yap

ILOILO CITY – After almost two years of planning, Iloilo City has formally submitted its bid to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a Creative City of Gastronomy.

“Iloilo City is a gastronomic hotspot waiting to be explored, experienced, and enjoyed. The City of Love is passionate to offer its culinary assets to suit every discriminating palate,” said Mayor Jerry Treñas in a letter addressed to the secretariat of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN).

Iloilo City is where two of the country’s popular soup-based dishes originated: the La Paz batchoy and the pancit Molo.

The bid for UCCN was originally part of the 2019 launching of Iloilo’s campaign to be the country’s next major destination for meetings, incentives, conferences/conventions, and exhibitions (MICE).

But it took a different turn when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The La Paz batchoy, a noodle soup with scraps of pork meat, originated in La Paz Market in Iloilo City. (Tara Yap/File/Manila Bulletin)

“Our flair for food stirs our strive towards self-sufficiency and sustainability, especially now that we are fighting the pandemic,” Treñas pointed out.

The Iloilo City government has closely worked with both the public and private sectors in terms of providing food for frontline workers or those who have been under quarantine.

One of those programs is Sabores de Visayas Gives Back, an initiative of Chef Rafael “Tibong” Jardeleza Jr. with the Department of Tourism (DOT Region 6) and private partners. It has given warm meals to thousands of health workers, cops and other frontline workers.