Iloilo City and its top delicacies, like batchoy, siopao and pancit molo, are gaining more international exposure after earning the Creative City of Gastronomy title from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

“What we do is really to promote Iloilo, and it’s a good thing that we were tagged as one of the creative cities on gastronomy,” Mayor Jerry P. Treñas said in an interview on Saturday, April 20, on the sidelines of an anti-drug advocacy fun run. “It’s those exchanges that we do internationally that we will be able to bring visitors here.”

The city government, for the first time, will join the City of Gastronomy cluster meeting on May 9 to 13 in Phuket, Thailand.

Another delegation will attend the CityNet meeting on May 8 to 12 in Seoul, South Korea with a gastronomy expo as one of the highlights.

CityNet is an association of urban stakeholders committed to sustainable development in the Asia Pacific region.

This city hosted an executive committee meeting in February.

Chef Ariel Castañeda Jr. of Richmonde Hotel, along with the sous chefs in Iloilo, will then represent the city in the Gastronomy Showcase of all Gastronomy Cities in Macao from June 14 to 22. 

The local government is also talking to several restaurants for participation in the gathering of Asian gastronomy cities in Macao.

Treñas will join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network annual general membership conference in Braga, Portugal from July 1 to 5.

By exposing the city’s gastronomy, they would be able to elevate the level of food in Iloilo when they return.

To ensure sustainability at the local level, the mayor created a team at the Local Economic Development and Investment Promotions (LEDIP) office to focus on gastronomy.

The LEDIP office trains public vendors on food handling and financial literacy through the Uswag Negosyo Academy while SM City allows the display of local delicacies.

The city has also been tagged the Museum Capital of the Philippines, Most Beautiful City, Flower/Garden City and Most Liveable.

“Everyone wants to have a taste of Iloilo,” Treñas said.PNA