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Batangas to highlight ‘goto,’ ‘kapeng barako’ on Filipino Food Month

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BATANGAS City – THE provincial government of Batangas is taking full advantage of the celebration of Filipino Food Month to expand the markets of both the province’s hospitality industry and the local agricultural sector.

In an interview on Wednesday, Vanessa Tolentino, senior tourism officer at the Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office (PTCAO), said they would hold the “Batangas Kulinarya Goto and Kapeng Barako Cook Fest” as the highlight of Batangas Kulinarya here on April 25.

The event, she said, is part of the celebration of Filipino Food Month or Buwan ng Kalutong Filipino, which is observed every April under Presidential Proclamation 469, series of 2018.
It aims to advocate for food, gastronomy, and farm tourism to foster awareness, appreciation, and preservation of Filipino culinary history and heritage.

With this year’s theme, “Kalutong Filipino, Lakas ng Kabataang Makabago,” Tolentino said the activity recognizes the youth’s important role in the preservation of the province’s culinary heritage.

“The youth are involved (here) and in partnership with the leading culinary institution in the province, the Lyceum of the Philippines University – Batangas (LPU-Batangas), students from Senior High School to college students until professional chefs are part of this program,” she said.

FOOD TOURISM. Batangas Provincial Administrator Wilfredo Racelis (right) and Rod Bautista, head of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, share insights on preserving the Kapeng Barako heritage at the Manila Coffee Festival 2024 on March 15, 2024. The Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office (PTCAO) is highlighting “gotong Batangas” and “kapeng barako” as part of the celebration of Filipino Food Month or Buwan ng Kalutong Filipino this April.| Photo courtesy of PTCAO

Tolentino said last year, the PTCAO featured “tamales” from the town of Ibaan and “adobo sa dilaw” from Taal.

For this year, she said, the slated “gotong Batangas” and “kapeng barako” cooking competition would include professional and student categories wherein top winners would be presented medals, certificates, and cash prizes.

Meanwhile, Tolentino shared that the abundance of beef in the province is a major reason for the popularity of “goto” (porridge) as one of the traditional main dishes of Batangas.
The town of Padre Garcia is recognized as the “Cattle Trading Capital of the Philippines.”
The cattle market or “bakahan” was established in the municipality in 1952 and later flourished into the biggest livestock auction market in the region that was then known as Southern Tagalog.

In a separate interview, former Padre Garcia Mayor Michael Rivera said the local government continues to improve the trading facilities of the bakahan to accom-modate thousands of cows, goats, and horses.

“During the pandemic, we had a bit of a hard time because there were many restrictions. Now that the pandemic is gone, we are looking to cater (to) more clients this year to further develop our local industry,” he said.

Rivera is grateful for the technical assistance from the Department of Agriculture, through training to avoid viral diseases, such as African swine fever (ASF). He said checkpoints are also put into place for animal disinfection to ensure good sanitation.

Aside from cattle trading, the town is also a popular go-to place for tourists during summer with its version of “halo-halo,” a traditional Filipino cold layered dessert consisting of shaved ice, sweet beans, coconut strips, and fruits drizzled with milk and topped with ice cream.

The food tourism efforts of the province are part of the local government’s campaign to develop the local economy.|- Pot Chavez, pna

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