BY PATRICIA BIANCA S. TACULAO

Food has always been an important part of Philippine culture. Not only does it help define a particular culture and heritage from a certain point in the country, but it also connects people and bridges their differences.

To celebrate food and the role they play in Filipino culture and heritage, the whole month of April is scheduled to celebrate Food Filipino Month, which  aims to promote and preserve local culinary and the traditions that come with it.

Various government agencies are geared towards playing a role in this year’s Filipino Food Month. With the theme “Iba’t Ibang Luto, Pinoy ang Puso,” the event will be led by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement (PCHM).

According to DA Secretary William Dar, this year’s Filipino Food Month will not only celebrate Filipino food and heritage but will also give thanks to the various heroes who help make food available and accessible to the Filipinos.

“We, at the Department of Agriculture, enjoin you to take a moment to reflect on the contributions of our farmers and fishers for their food security contributions and their roles as frontliners during the pandemic,” Dar said.

Starting April 5 to April 29, the DA, along with the NCCA and the PCHM, will be holding webinars that feature special and unique ingredients as well as recipes that are particular to a specific region in the country.

Exhibits, cooking demonstrations, and various contests will also be held at the central and regional offices of the DA. Kadiwa activities will also be held so that farmers, fisherfolk, and other parties can sell their produce and food in various areas around the country.

Taking the celebration online 

The Filipino Food Month was founded on April 13, 2018, when President Duterte signed Presidential Proclamation No. 469 declaring the whole month of April as Filipino Food Month. In the following years, various government agencies and institutions have worked together to showcase Filipino food and cooking for this celebration.

But in the previous year, the celebration was postponed due to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, Filipino Food Month will push through but will be held following the guidelines that were created as a precaution against the COVID-19 pandemic. To adhere to this, the event will be commemorated through a webinar, an online exhibition, and a filmmaking competition.

Dubbed “Philippines on a Plate,” the webinar is set to discuss how we can influence local food cultivation and establish preservation initiatives that can transform the culinary scene.

The exhibit will highlight the indigenous food of different cultural communities as well as the “Culinary Heritage of the Philippines” which will feature 15 traditional cuisines from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Lastly, the short film competition called “Cuisinema/Kusinema” will require Filipino filmmakers from across the country to promote their culinary heritage by putting the spotlight on local ingredients and the preparation of the dishes.

All these events are to commemorate the importance of Filipino cuisine and how it helped us create our identity as Filipinos. And much like food, Filipino Food Month also hopes to bring people together and promote our heritage for years to come.

For more information, visit Filipino Food Month on Facebook or visit the website of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts