Delegates of the Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX) Asia-Pacific 2016, the largest gathering of travel bloggers, writers, content media creators, and tourism industry professionals, had a feast as they discovered Philippine cuisine.
Presented by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and Tourism Promotions Board (TPB), in coordination with NMX Events, their journey of discovery began with a 15-hour food tour where they travelled to Pampanga, “the culinary center of the Philippines”, to try iconic Filipino dishes such as lechon, sisig, chicken inasal, and sinigang. They then went to Binondo to experience the country’s Chinese culinary influence on food.
The contingent was served an array of grilled fish, prawns, squids, and clams and tasted some of the native delicacies such as barquillos, turones, kutsinta, halo-halo, rice cakes including bibingka, cassava cake, and puto.
The country’s tropical fruits were also a hit as the visitors sampled the sweetest mangoes, rambutan, lanzones and marang. Calamansi was a surprise to them for its versatility – from a refreshing fruit drink to an additional flavor to condiments.
To complete their Filipino food experience, they were served some of the country’s exotic foods including balut, pako or fern salad, and sea urchin.
“I find it very interesting that the Filipino cuisine is influenced by so many other cultures and it creates a fascinating mix,” said Maria Haase who travelled all the way from Germany. “This food trip was very interesting and inspiring for me.”
Further making Filipino meals fun, the delegates experienced boodle feasts, which urged them not only to share their food but to interact and converse with one another. Trying Filipino dishes in this unique way was something the first-time visitors were able to enjoy. “This is such a simple pleasure to enjoy. It’s amazing that we get the time to eat together. I love this kind of culture,” said Chicago-native Rosemary Kimani.
TBEX Asia Pacific 2016 was made possible with the support of Philippine Airlines, Globe Telecom, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), and Duty Free Philippines. Other sponsors included Amorita Resort, The Lind Boracay, Fort Ilocandia Resort Hotel, Limketkai Luxe Hotel, Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa, Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa, Pearl Farm Beach Resort, Primer Group of Companies, The Funny Lion Palawan, Merrell Philippines, Lakan, Banana Peel, Le Spa at Sofitel, Park Inn by Radisson, Hotel Luna, Bluewater Maribago Resort and Spa, Sonya’s Garden, Museo Orlina, and Grab Philippines.
The event was also made possible through the participation of volunteers from the University of the Philippines, Centro Escolar University, University of Santo Tomas, and Philippine Women’s University.
The amazing variety of food – from savory dishes to sweet delicacies, and our wide array of fresh ingredients, diverse cultural influences, proves that the Philippines can stand out as an exciting culinary destination.