Undeterred by the limited movement of people due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Slow Food advocates in the Philippines are celebrating the successful launch of Terra Madre Philippines and sharing a series of online activities with the public.
These events are organized by Filipino activists from the Slow Food convivia of Manila and Sugbo (Cebu), together with the Slow Food communities of Negros, Panay, Pasil, Pangasinan, and Metro Manila. There are also the members of the Slow Food Youth Network in the Philippines, partners from the private sector, and the government. The Department of Tourism has presented webinars, with topics ranging from growing our own food to handling food waste and how our food choices can impact our environment and our future.
The livestreaming of the launch on October 5 was led by a prayer from Vicky Padilla of Pangasinan, while Reena Gamboa of the Slow Food Community of Negros explained the impact of the movement in her community. In his keynote address, the General Secretary of Slow Food International, Paolo Di Croce, reminded viewers that we only have ten years to clean up our act: “In research conducted in Europe, food was found to be the unifying element of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. It clearly states its centrality. Food is the problem and food is also the solution.”
Berna Romulo Puyat, Secretary of the Philippine Department of Tourism and an active supporter of Slow Food, talked about the beginnings of advocacy. Pacita Juan, Slow Food International Councillor for Southeast Asia, gave her personal account of how Slow Food Philippines evolved from local to global.
Chef Margarita Fores followed suit, sharing her experience of attending Terra Madre in Turin in 2018, and how it created an impact for local advocates. Ramon Uy Jr., also of Slow Food Negros, spoke about how Ark of Taste products from his region are helping the farming community. Slow Food Manila leader Paula Aberasturi affirmed the convivium’s commitment to delivering the Slow Food message and outlined the program Terra Madre Philippines.
- The Slow Food in the Philippines Summit was held with leaders, farmers, and food advocates together in an online meeting with Congresswoman Loren Legarda. The aim of the summit was to find common ground and discuss policies and laws such as protecting animal breeds, seed varieties, and biodiversity. This talk also included aa discussion on edible home gardens, family farming, and shortened food chains.
- SF Sugbu showcased their Ark of Taste ingredients and demonstrated how these are used in their traditional cuisine. Sweetie C. Maurillo made Kunsilba (Banana Brittle) and Adobong Manok with Serialis and Cebu Cinnamon, Louella Theresa Eslao-Alix made Manok Tinibu-ok with Asin Tibuok (chicken with rocksalt), Raquel T. Choa made Sikwate (hot chocolate drink) using Criollo (Cacao) Tablea; and Ronald Villavelez produced Katmon (Dillenia philippinensis) cider and vinegar.
- Food as Medicine: Protecting Communities against COVID-19 was another timely topic presented by Georie Pitong of Slow Food Panay.
- In Experience Palawan: biodiversity and food heritage on the Balatik, a traditional Filipino sailboat, Gener Paduga shared his knowledge on wild and indigenous ingredients of Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
- Kain na! Pulutan at lnuman: Negros Slow Drinks and Pairings was an interactive discussion and cooking demo conducted in two cities (Bacolod and Makati). Reena Gamboa and Ramon Uy, Jr. interacted with Chef Kalel Demetrio and Chef Niño Laus.
- In “Slow Coffee: Farm to Cup”, coffee experts Manny Torrejon, Ros Juan, and Pacita Juan discussed the state of Philippine Coffee. They interviewed Slow Food Coffee Coalition’s Emanuele Dughera who explained the formation of the Slow Food Coffee Coalition that will include the Philippines among the initial 20 member countries.
- In Waste Not and Want Not? local chefs Kalel Demetrio, Robbie Goco, and Waya Araos-Wijangco told us how they minimize and control food waste in their respective restaurants.