By Joy Romares-Sevilla
Sunstar Davao / October 2007
THE 7th Mindanao Culinary Festival, being held back-to-back with the 4th International Hotel and Restaurant and Home Expo, opened Friday at the Convention Center of the NCCC Mall of Davao.
The three-day event, which carries the theme: “Flavors and Spices of Mindanao,” gathered professional chefs, students, government officials, and other experts on food and beverages.
Davao Tourism Association (Data) president Angel Puentespina said this year’s event features the mango pavilion of the Davao Region Mango Contractors Association Inc. (Daremca).
“This is the first time that we will have the mango pavilion. It is a special feature of the event, ngayon lang nagkaroon ng mango pavilion maybe because the mango industry realized there’s a need to promote mango not just as a fruit and commodity, but as a food,” Puentespina said.
Puentespina also said participants in this year’s culinary festival increased with the participation of more schools from as far as General Santos City and Kabacan.
“There is a reduction in the number of participants from the professionals, but there’s a big increase in the number of students who are participating in he festival. The number of students now, I can say is even higher than the total number of participants last year,” Puentespina said.
He said Data sees a long-term effect with the staging of the culinary festival.
“Through this event, we can somehow lead the attention of our people to something which is near to everybody’s stomach. This time, this is not about politics, and natural resources, we can show na maraming pwedeng ipagmayabang ang Davao at ang Mindanao in terms of food,” he said.
Puentespina described the event as a venue where people can enhance their skills and learn, thus indirectly creating a more competitive food service and building Davao as a big tourism destination.
The 7th Mindanao Culinary Festival is the biggest and the most prestigious culinary event in Mindanao. It is a project by the Davao Tourism Association and was organized by the Konkordans, a destination and management company in Davao City.
The event offers free cooking and baking demos, free seminar and lectures, and free food sampling and taste tests. It runs until October 7.