Last year was the first ever celebration of Filipino Food Month, a national celebration meant to promote and preserve Filipino culinary heritage and traditions, as declared by Presidential Proclamation 469. The month-long annual event is spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and the Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement (PCHM). Unfortunately, due to the ongoing global coronavirus crisis, the many events scheduled around the country during this month of April 2020 had to be canceled.
However, the purpose and importance of Filipino Food Month remains relevant even in lockdown, especially with current concerns about food security, domestic food supply, and farmers’ livelihood. Thus, the organizers have planned several events online as a way to gather different sectors together to talk about Filipino food, and to further inform and educate the public.
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The first of these online initiatives is called “Philippines on a Plate” which PCHM describes as “a series of online talks that will bring together Filipino farmers, culinary historians, chefs and gastronomic experts from the local food industry to discuss how we can influence local food cultivation and establish preservation initiatives that can transform the eating landscape.”
The official launch happened this Thursday, April 2 at 5:00 pm livestreamed on the Facebook pages of Filipino Food Month, Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement, and Slow Food Youth Network Philippines. The succeeding talks are scheduled from April 3 to 17 with a range of related topics by noted speakers.
Food writer and book designer Ige Ramos speaks about how food can be recognized as an art form. Tour operator and food travel writer Clang Garcia discusses culinary tourism as a way to preserve food culture. Culinary historian Felice Sta. Maria talks about modern innovations in the context of past culinary traditions. Social entrepreneur and Echostore founder Chit Juan discusses the Slow Food Movement within the Philippine context. Agricultural advocate Carlo Sumaoang speaks about the importance of growing one’s own food. Chef and culinary heritage advocate Giney Villar discusses why it’s important for chefs to explore heritage recipes and ingredients.
A second batch of talks were subsequently announced. These include cooking demos by chefs Tatung Sarthou, Rica Buenaflor, and Ed Bugia, as well as talks by scholar Dr. Fernando Zialcita, Cebu-based food writer Louella Alix, and sustainable seafood advocate Dhang Tecson.
According to the organizers, also in the works are an e-magazine on regional culinary heritage, a short documentary/animation film competition on Filipino food and practices, an online series on heritage and indigenous food research, and an online Bingo checklist on common Filipino food practices.
Official hashtags are #PreserveFilipinoFood and #FFM2020. Follow https://www.facebook.com/FilipinoFoodMonthOfficial/