Proclamation No. 469 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on Apr. 18, 2018 declared April as Buwan ng Kalutong Pilipino or Filipino Food Month. Over the last year, Filipino Food Month has been an avenue for chefs, restaurateurs, members of the academe, and lovers of food to come together to promote and preserve the country’s culinary traditions and treasures. The festival is also an opportunity to support and appreciate the industries and communities that make up the food landscape.
And despite the global health crisis, the Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement (PCHM) is powering through with its initiatives to “campaign for the appreciation and preservation of indigenous ingredients and the Filipino culinary tradition” through social media. In a statement released on Mar. 26, the organizing committee will be working towards the planned events at a later date.
To stay true to the importance and relevance of the food month, one of its online initiatives is called “Philippines on a Plate,” a series of online talks that brings together Filipino farmers, chefs, gastronomic experts, and culinary historians from the local food industry. The series will be tackling how “we can influence local food cultivation and establish preservation initiatives that can transform the eating landscape.”
The official launch happened on Apr. 2 with members of the Slow Food Youth Network Philippines (SFYNP) presiding over the launch via live stream. MNL Growkits founder Carlo Sumaoang, PCHM founder Jam Melchor and SFYNP president Harold Bernard Bueno headlined the launch and talked about the essential role farmers play in the food industry, food waste, and the state of the food industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The previous three talks on Filipino food as a form of art, culinary tourism, and slow food have been broadcasted on Facebook live with the next talks scheduled from Apr. 8 to 28. The remaining talks will be relayed live on the Facebook pages of Filipino Food Month, PCHM, and SFYNP.
Aside from the talks, the organizers are also planning to release an online magazine on regional culinary heritage, a short documentary, and an animated film competition centered on Filipino food and social media games on Filipino food practices.