The 2023 National Food Fair with the theme “Go Discover, Taste, Enjoy!” began on Wednesday, July 12, through a simple opening ceremony led by Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry Alfredo E. Pascual as a keynote speaker.
This exciting event is sponsored by DTI-Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion (BDTP) in collaboration with the DTI Regional Operations Group. Held at the Megatrade Halls of SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City, the fair will start from July 12 to 16.
Visitors to the fair can explore the diverse array of products displayed by over 250 MSMEs from all 17 regions of the country. The event provided an excellent opportunity for these local businesses to present their offerings on-site, allowing attendees to experience the rich and diverse flavors of the Philippines.
To expand the reach of the fair nationwide, there is also an online component hosted by the Lazada e-commerce platform. Through this online National Food Fair, customers from across the country can access and purchase products from participating MSMEs, promoting a wider market reach and greater exposure for these local entrepreneurs. .
Highlighting the seamless blend of tradition and innovation, the National Food Fair has captivating settings, pavilions, and MSME clusters. These platforms serve as a focal point to showcase the remarkable developments that elevate traditional Filipino products to meet the strict standards of the food industry, making them competitive in the global market. The main elements of the fair include:
- Philippine Coconut Industry Pavilion and Coconut-Based MSME Cluster
- Philippine Food Industry Innovations Lounge
- Philippine Fruits and Nuts Pavilion
- Innovative and Biotech Products Cluster
- Rural Agro-Industrial Partnership for Inclusive Development and Growth (RAPID Growth) Project Pavilion
- Farm Fresh Produce Pavilion
- Cafeteria or Philippine Coffee Pavilion
- Philippine Island Wine, Beer, and Juice Bar
For culinary enthusiasts, the National Food Fair has a daily program of activities featuring renowned Filipino chefs. These talented culinary experts take the stage with live cooking and food preparation demonstrations, delighting the audience with their skills and creativity. The exciting lineup of chefs includes:
- The Ultimate Filipino Adobo: Stories Through the Ages book launching and cooking demonstrations (Chef Claude Tayag)
- A Decade of Guevarra: An Inspiring Story (Chef Laudico Guevarra)
- Fiesta Recipes (Chef Boy Achievement)
- Halal Recipes and sumptuous feasts during social occasions (Chef Yed Dimaporo & Mustapha Ala, Jr.)
- SIMPLE Recipes Using Coconut (Chef Tatung Sarthou)
- Culinary Masterpieces Kurobuta (Chef Donatello Montrone)
- Rethinking Food: Slow Food (Chef Jam Melchor)
- Plant-based Desserts (Chef Aileen at Studio Plantmaed)
- Benefits of a Plant-based Diet (Chef Mylene Dolonius of Studio Plantmaed)
- Healthy Daily Recipes (Chef YLYT Frixiah Manaig)
- Magsaysay Center for Hospitality and Culinary Arts (Chef Eric Gruba)
- The Mountain of San Benito (Rose Pagcaliwagan)
- Philippine Wine Mixology (Bartender Nino Cruz)
The grand finale of this celebration, dedicated to the diversity and cultural heritage of Filipino food, is an immersive and interactive cultural presentation known as BARMM Pagana Maguindanao.
Pagana Maguindanao is a cherished tradition in the province of Maguindanao in the Philippines, which contains deep cultural significance. This vibrant and joyful event brings the community together to honor and commemorate special occasions such as weddings, religious festivals, and community events.
At the center of the Pagana celebration is vibrant music, dazzling costumes, and captivating traditional dances that vividly portray the rich cultural heritage of the Maguindanaon people. The catchy melodies of the kulintang ensemble, a set of gongs that create rhythmic harmony, set the tone for the festivities. On the other hand, dances like Singkil and Pangalay graced the stage, enthralling the audience with their beautiful moves.
The event also serves as a sumptuous feast of traditional Maguindanaon cuisine, with delicious dishes such as LININGGIL A MANOK (chicken cooked in turmeric and coconut milk) and palapa (a spicy condiment made from chili and scallion), which appeals to the taste buds of all present.
More than just a celebration, Pagana is a cherished opportunity for strengthening community bonds, passing on time-honored cultural traditions to the younger generation, and proudly displaying the artistic talent of Maguindanaon people. It stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of Filipino culture and heritage.
In addition to exciting culinary showcases, the daily program of the National Food Fair includes participation in entrepreneurship talks and informative learning sessions, providing valuable resources and ideas for food entrepreneurs to strengthen and position their businesses for continued growth. These sessions are sponsored by various government agencies and partner institutions, offering valuable insights on the following topics:
- Geographical Indications and the Benefits of Registering a Trademark or Brand at IPOPHIL (Intellectual Property Office)
- Sustainable Planting and Regeneration of Local Cultivars; Natural and Healthy Coconut Vinegar; Health Benefits of Coconut (Philippine Coconut Authority)
- Halal Culinary Tourism (Department of Tourism)
- Bioplastic Derived from Pineapple Waste Packaging Technology; Coco-Based Food Technologies (Department of Science and Technology)
- Kitchen Lab and Food Connect Plus (Philippine Trade Training Center)
- Dairy and Coconut Farming, A Viable Integrated Farming Enterprise (National Dairy Authority)
- Improving Nutrition to Various MSMEs as a Supplier of Healthy Food Products (National Nutrition Council)
- Healthy Food Consumption Trends and Research on the Health Benefits of Herbals in the Philippines (Department of Health)
- Franchising – A Way to Taste Every Filipino Your Grandma’s Recipe (Philippine Franchising Association)
- Accelerating Development Through a Research and Scaling Action (UP Los Baños-Agora)
- How MSMEs Can Grow Online (Lazada)
- Unilever’s Healthy and Sustainable Food Program (Unilever Philippines)
- Maximizing Your Digital Marketing Potential with Analytics and Business Intelligence (Pamela Padilla)
All activities in the daily program are open to the public and completely free of charge. For those unable to attend in person, events are also livestreamed on BDTP’s social media channels, ensuring remote viewers can join in and enjoy the festivities.
To stay informed about the latest updates about the 2023 National Food Fair and other initiatives from the DTI-Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion, please follow their social media accounts on Facebook (DTI.BDTP), Instagram (dti.bdtp), and Twitter ( @DTI_BDTP). For any questions or more information, you can also contact BDTP Director Marievic M. Bononan via email at email@example.com. Stay connected to experience the vibrant world of Filipino food and entrepreneurship!