DOT: W. Visayas has huge potential in culinary tourism

Tourism Undersecretary Edwin Enrile (left) leads Iloilo officials in tasting Western Visayas cuisine during the “Kain Na! Culinary and Travel Festival” at The Shops at Atria, Ayala Malls in Mandurriao, Iloilo City Friday. (Emme Rose Santiagudo)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

The Department of Tourism (DOT) sees the huge potential of the region particularly Iloilo province in terms of culinary and farm tourism.

During his visit in Iloilo City on Friday for the fifth and last leg of “Kain Na! Culinary and Travel Festival,” Atty. Edwin Enrile, DOT undersecretary for legal and special concerns, commended the food and farm products of Panay because of its fresh ingredients and many varieties.

“When you think about Western Visayas and Iloilo you always think about two things why people come here it’s because of the cuisine and the culture. You have the freshest ingredients, seafood, and all that,” Enrile said in an interview on Friday.

Enrile graced the opening program of the 3-day “Kain Na! Culinary and Travel Festival” at The Shops at Atria, Ayala Malls in Mandurriao, Iloilo City on Friday.

“Kain Na,” which featured local ingredients and dishes prepared by local chefs, cultural performances, farm tourism sites, and farm products in the region, is the centerpiece of the culinary tourism promotion of the tourism department.

Enrile said the DOT in partnership with Ayala Malls and the Department of Agriculture organized the fifth and last leg of this year’s Kain Na in Iloilo because of its promising food products.

Iloilo has a variety of food available. Yung sinasabi nga naming culinary tourism is all about the local cuisine, local product, yung farm to table cuisine. So kung magaganda rin nga ang produkto ng mga farm products, that will be reflected in the cuisine,” he said.

With major agricultural developments like the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) in Calinog, Iloilo, Enrile said they want to focus on promoting farm tourism in Iloilo.

“Agriculture is really big here in Iloilo especially with the Jalaur Dam that’s why for next year sabi namin  magiging focus namin is to promote farm tourism  here in Iloilo and in Panay Island,” Enrile said.

Enrile underscored the need to promote the culinary in the country since Filipino cuisine is now recognized worldwide.

“It really reflects our own identity and I think more and more now na-appreciate na sa mundo ang Filipino cuisine. The world is now discovering our Filipino cuisine,” he noted.