July 30, 2021

‘HELLO PANGGA’: Iloilo City Competes for ‘Creative City of Gastronomy’ Title in UNESCO Creative Cities Network 2021

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  • ‘HELLO PANGGA’: Iloilo City Competes for ‘Creative City of Gastronomy’ Title in UNESCO Creative Cities Network 2021
  • As the weather forces us to stay at home, cooking delicious meals such as the La Paz batchoy and pancit molo are the perfect ways to keep us warm and cozy. Aside from the heartwarming feels they bring, these two famous Filipino dishes are ready to show the world how tasty they truly are.

    Recently, the Department of Tourism (DOT) was pleased to announce that the home of famous batchoy and molo, Iloilo City bids to be the Creative City of Gastronomy in the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Creative Cities Network 2021 

    Iloilo City/IMAGE from Unsplash and La Paz Batchoy/IMAGE from DOT

    The City of Gastronomy project is part of UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network that was launched in 2004 to promote seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Literature, Media Arts, Music, and Gastronomy. 

    With over 36 cities listed all over the world, The City of Love is bound to compete for the title. “Iloilo, as a gastronomic hotspot, offers two of the country’s well-loved dishes–the La Paz Batchoy and Pancit Molo. We are giving our full support to Iloilo for this initiative. We believe that it is high time for the city to join the prestigious UNESCO-recognized cities, especially now that we are exploring strategies to hasten the revival of the sector,” Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said.


    In addition, the DOT Western Visayas, along with the Megaworld Museums and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) joined forces for a three-pronged program focusing on Ilonggo heirloom dishes called “Timplada: The Art of Ilonggo Cuisine.”

    The art exhibition aims to tell the Ilonggo food stories through the eyes of 10 Iloilo-based artists and in collaboration with ten local food establishments. 

    Pancit Molo/IMAGE from DOT

    The art pieces will be showcased at the Iloilo Museum of Contemporary Art (ILOMOCA) starting Aug. 21.

    Meanwhile, the Ark of Taste Talk by Reena Gamboa highlighting Food and Tourism for Rural Development in Western Visayas will be on Aug. 28; and the Pangyam-is Talk by Gilbert Marin as a component of the Western Visayas Sugar Trail will be on Oct. 9.

    With these comprehensive programs and events, the tourism chief is looking forward to winning the title for the city. If so, it will be the first recognition of the Philippines under UNESCO’s program.     

    “This initiative from our regional office is a big boost to promote culinary as a tourism product. We are hoping that through the activities lined up for this bid, we will get the nod of the UN organization,” she added.


    Back in 2019, the DOT led the launching of the Philippine Cookbook Photoshoot with Korean-American chef Christina Sunae and the World Food Expo, the biggest food show in the Philippines.

    Moreover, the DOT also produced “Chefs’ Food Trip Project destinations,” a culinary immersion of US-based Filipino-American chefs to promote the Ilonggo food culture.

    Tourism chief Romulo Puyat/IMAGE from Puyat’s official Instagram account

    Despite the pandemic, the DOT continues to rise above challenges by creating programs such as Tabu-an Cooking Competition, Slow Food Travel, and exploring the potentials of farm tourism destinations.    

    This year, the DOT and Department of Agriculture collaborated to create food tourism using heritage dishes for the Filipino Food Month Celebration.

    Source: Department of Tourism

    Written by Cedie Salido

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