ILOILO CITY — The Department of Tourism (DOT) is pushing for the growth of culinary tourism in Western Visayas.
“Food is part of our culture. We are celebrating our culinary heritage,” said lawyer Helen Catalbas, DOT regional director for Western Visayas, during the third year of Sabores de Visayas (Flavors of Visayas) at the historic Nelly Garden in Iloilo City.
The May 26 event showcased Western Visayan cuisine and fusion dishes by renowned chefs Rafael Jardeleza Jr. of Iloilo, Margarita Forés of Negros Occidental and Filipino-British Josh Boutwood, who is based in world-renowned Boracay Island.
Catalbas even compared Sabores de Visayas as the regional version of Madrid Fusion Manila, the annual international food fare.
“Once again, we have Margarita who has been named as Asia’s Best Female Chef,” Catalbas exclaimed.
The region comprising of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental provinces has evolved into a culinary destination.
“Many people may not know it, but people from Manila and other key cities fly here to Iloilo on weekends just to eat,” Catalbas said.
Roxas City in Capiz province also draws crowds for its seafood while Bacolod City in Negros Occidental province is known for its chicken inasal.
Culinary tourism is also anchored on DOT’s flagship campaign dubbed as “Experience Western Visayas First.”