A hearty Halal dish is about to be served in Tambilawan Kamayan Restaurant in General Santos City. (Photo courtesy of the Department of Tourism)

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) inked Wednesday between several government agencies aims to enhance the promotion of Filipino culinary traditions in the coming years.

Through the MOU, the Department of Tourism (DOT), together with the Department of Agriculture (DA), National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and the Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement (PCHM) will drive up appreciation and preservation of Filipino culinary traditions to ensure transmission to future generations, according to a news story posted September 8 in the state-run Philippine News Agency (PNA).

According to the DOT, the document would include food tourism into the country’s annual celebration of Filipino cuisine, which takes place every April, as well as assist food tourism stakeholders such as farmers and agri-communities.

“As we look forward to every annual celebration of Filipino Food Month, we would like to use this as a platform to promote travel for a taste of a place in order to get a sense of a place,” Tourism chief Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in her opening remarks during the virtual signing ceremony.

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A DA-NCCA-DOT-PCHM Technical Working Group (TWG) will be established, with quarterly meetings to ensure that the MOU’s actions and obligations are carried out smoothly.

DOT, specifically, will be tasked to include its food and gastronomy tourism-related activities in the calendar of events for the Filipino Food Month and to provide support through information dissemination.

Romulo-Puyat said the DOT fully supports the initiative, underscoring the immense potential of Filipino food in tourism prior to the pandemic.

“Our own internal studies in the DOT have revealed that prior to the pandemic in 2019, inbound tourists spent 22.4 percent of their total expenditures on food and beverage items. For domestic tourists, 8 percent was devoted to F&B expenses and a big chunk of shopping expenses were also spent on foodie treats,” she said.

In the article, the official said the DOT had been harnessing the potentials of food tourism by formulating regional tourism circuits with food and farm experiences as the centerpiece of itineraries.

She said the DOT is also conducting food tourism resource inventories and mapping of key food tourism destinations in the country, including facilitating capacity-building programs to equip community stakeholders.

“As we shine the spotlight on our diverse culinary heritage and our agricultural producers, let us also experience the fun of food tripping in the Philippines,” she said.

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