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Iloilo City is vying to be named a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy.

On its second attempt, the local municipal government is determined to win the designation of the Creative City of Gastronomy under the umbrella of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Creative Cities Network (UCCN).

The UCCN includes cuisine, crafts and folk art, design, film, literature, media arts, and music among its seven creative disciplines.

“This is hugely important. In a Monday interview, the Mayor of Iloilo Jerry P. Treas noted that food is a major draw and that local cuisine is unique.

With numerous activities that can support the city’s quest, including the publication of a cookbook and the holding of culinary festivals, among others, Treas expressed optimism that the city can already win the title on its second attempt.

On October 14, 2022, the 208-page cookbook “Flavors of Iloilo” was released in Iloilo City as a tribute to ancestors who cooked for their families in the same way to preserve traditional Ilonggo cuisine.

Ivan Anthony S. Henares, the secretary general of the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines, has approved the letter of intent from the city government to the undersecretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), who is in charge of managing the country’s creative industries, according to Maria Victoria Lara of the Iloilo City Local Economic and Investments Promotion Office (LEIPO).

According to Lara, Treas, and the Iloilo City Gastronomy Council would ask Aldaba for a meeting to discuss how to further strengthen the city’s application.

The task of the Iloilo City Gastronomy Council is to coordinate and sustain local initiatives to bring together stakeholders and advance awareness of culture, heritage, traditions, and a sense of community.

The city administration submitted a bid in 2021, although no actions were carried out in the preceding years because to restrictions on transportation brought on by the epidemic.

In addition to the cookbook, the Panay Organic Producers have a geo-tagging of farms all across the region that is anticipated to help in the value chain story of food sources in Iloilo, she said, adding that this puts them in a stronger position.

According to Lara, a region designated as a creative city for gastronomy shows how food has influenced the culture and lives of its residents.

In order to foster collaboration with and among cities that have recognized creativity as a strategic component of sustainable urban development, the UCCN was established in 2004.

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