It’s Filipino Food Month once again!
By virtue of Presidential Proclamation no. 469 signed in 2018, April of every year is declared as the Filipino Food Month or Buwan ng Kalutong Pilipino. The national celebration of Filipino Food Month aims to appreciate, preserve, promote, and ensure the transmission of the vast Filipino culinary traditions and treasures to future generations and to support the various industries, farmers, and agri-communities.
The Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Tourism (DOT), National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and the Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement (PCHM) lead the Filipino Food Month or Buwan ng Kalutong Pilipino this 2022 with the theme “Pagkaing Pilipino, Susi sa Pag-unlad at Pagbabago.”
In his opening message, DA Secretary William Dar said that this year’s theme is “in line with the Department of Agriculture’s mission to support our local producers, particularly the small stakeholders… Likewise, the promotion of our local culinary heritage… creates the demand for Philippine agricultural produce in the local and international food and beverage market.”
The opening ceremony was held at the historic Metropolitan Theater. Performances from various artists such as Lara Maigue, Arman Ferrer, Sindaw Philippines, and Halili-Cruz School of Ballet were also witnessed in the event, which also featured the higantes of Angono, Rizal and food booths of the four lead agencies.
In the presscon that followed, Chef Jam Melchor, founder of the Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement who also spearheads Filipino Food Month, says, “Filipino Food Month is also a reminder for all of us to go back to our roots. Our identity is in our food. Who are we as Filipinos? The answer lies in what we eat.”
He also hopes that Filipino Food Month will not only encourage food tourism in the Philippines, but also become a part of every Filipino’s yearly celebrations as a prominent part of the Filipino culture.
Events include KainCon: Filipino Food Conference is a series of online talks that brings 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; Cinema Culinarya Film Festival (CCFF), which aims to champion well-crafted short films that showcase tasteful narratives, culinary practices and traditions in hopes of strengthening the Filipino food identity and honoring its rich heritage; and Hapag ng Pamana, which aimsnto promote, popularize, and provide venue to showcase the culinary history, cultural heritage and resources of the Philippines through artistic freedom and expression, and ensure that it is passed on to the next generation.
Melchor also reminded people that Filipino Food Month isn’t just about celebrating Filipino cuisine, but also the people who produce them, from the cooks in the kitchen to the farmers and fishers who provide the ingredients. Especially given today’s rising costs, Melchor reminds Filipinos not to waste their food and to make a conscious choice to support local farmers. “Filipino Food Month is also a stark reminder of food issues such as smuggled vegetables… The option is with [the buyer]. Shouldn’t we put local products first?” he says. “So it’s not really about organizing big events. It’s about awareness, educating ourselves, and going back to our traditions.”
The Filipino Food Month opening ceremony will be aired on April 1, 2022 (Friday, 3PM) over the social media pages of the lead agencies such as DA, DOT, NCCA, PCHM.