UNESCO Gastronomy City citation for Iloilo boosts gastro, creative tourism – Frasco

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Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco congratulates Iloilo City for its inclusion in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Creative Cities Network (UCCN) for Gastronomy on Wednesday (Nov. 1).  

“The Department of Tourism extends its sincerest congratulations to Iloilo City, under the leadership of Mayor Jerry Treñas, for its remarkable entry into the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. Iloilo City is a gastronomic haven for both Filipinos and international visitors, and a hallmark of our Filipino culinary heritage,” Secretary Frasco expressed regarding this significant achievement.

Secretary Frasco further emphasized, “The Department of Tourism commits to continue its support for our creative cities under the Marcos administration’s thrust to further develop, promote, and expand our tourism product portfolio towards multi-dimensional tourism. This includes a strong focus on the food and creative industries, which will undoubtedly bolster the Philippines’ attractiveness as a preferred destination for travelers. We are eager to visit Iloilo by the end of November for the launch of the Philippine Experience Heritage, Culture, and Arts Caravan for Western Visayas.”

Iloilo City, in the company of 54 other cities announced by UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, officially joined the Creative Cities Network on World Cities Day on October 31, 2023.

This designation reflects Iloilo’s rich culinary heritage and reinforces its role in preserving and promoting Philippine food culture. The city is renowned for signature dishes such as La Paz Batchoy, Pancit Molo, local favorites like K.B.L. (Kadyos, Baboy, at Langka), the charcoal-roasted native chicken Darag, as well as its famous giant siopao and fresh seafood.

The DOT’s Region VI Office recently launched the “Slow Food in Western Visayas” culinary and rural tourism event program in Iloilo City in September.

DOT Regional Director for Western Visayas, Crisanta Marlene Rodriguez, announced that the Regional Office is developing itineraries to actively promote slow food experiences for tourists, enabling them to engage in and observe food preparation and ingredients farming.

Other food and creative industry projects of the DOT Region VI include the Western Visayas Sugar Heritage Trail, Boracay Food Crawl, Cultural and Film Tourism, including promotional projects for Antique, CineKasimanwa, CineIsla, and the Department’s flagship program: Philippine Experience: Culture, Heritage, and Arts Caravan.

Iloilo City has made history by becoming one of the Philippine cities, alongside Baguio and Cebu City, to join the prestigious UCCN. Baguio City has held the UNESCO Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art title since 2017, while Cebu City was recognized as the country’s inaugural UNESCO Creative City of Design in 2019.

With these latest additions, the UNESCO Network now boasts 350 cities across more than one hundred countries, spanning seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts, and Music.

Launched in 2004, the UCCN primarily aims to foster collaboration among cities that recognize creativity as a fundamental catalyst for sustainable urban development.

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