Filipino cuisine and culture take center stage at 123rd Philippine Independence Day celebration in Shanghai

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By Alithea De Jesus

Colorful, energy-filled and fascinating Filipino culture become the center of attraction as the Philippine Department of Tourism (PDOT), together with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Shanghai (PTIC Shanghai) and the Philippine Consulate General in Shanghai, held the first-ever Fiesta Filipinas – Kain Na! event in Shanghai, China last June 13 to promote Filipino cuisine and culture as part of the 123rd Philippine Independence Day celebration. 

For the whole day, several activities were undertaken that highlighted Filipino cuisine and culture. Seven (7) Filipino cooks based in Shanghai offered local cuisine to our Kababayans, Chinese and expats guests. They served twelve (12) kinds of Filipino inspired traditional dishes from different regions in the Philippines.  

“This initiative [is] in line with the Department of Tourism KAIN NA program to promote Philippine gastronomy to the international market and the Fiesta Filipinas program of the Department of Foreign Affairs to showcase Filipino culture and festivals overseas,” said PDOT Shanghai Head Ireneo Reyes. 

Sumptuous food and without the lechon, Philippine festivities will never be complete

The event was also in line with the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) initiatives in product promotion and mainstreaming efforts in China for Philippine brands, said PTIC Shanghai head Mario Tani. “Since 2017, PTIC Shanghai has been working closely with exporters to increase Philippine exports of quality, innovative and healthy food products through expositions, trade fairs and community events. This has resulted in an increase of food exports to China as well as the introduction of more than 20 various products to the Chinese mainstream market in the fresh and processed food categories.” 

Philippine product promotion was conducted through the fusion of ingredients to create unique dishes, which included tuna sisig using Century Tuna, halo halo topped with Pong Pong banana chips, graham dessert balls with MY San Graham crackers, bibingka using Coco Mama coconut cream and maja blanca spiked with a bit of Tanduay Rum.  Snackmaker Liwayway, Supercoco, the brand behind the famous Virgin Coconut Oil, and mango brand Juga promoted their respective product lines to the Chinese audience.  

QR codes were provided so that customers could get in touch with vendors and order their favorite Philippine products through various Chinese e-commerce platforms, such as T Mall, JD.com, Taobao, Pinduoduo, and Suning. 

In partnership with Tuniu, Philippine pre-selling tour products for the “618” (June 18) event were also launched. The 618 event is a popular mid-year online shopping festival, which is second only to 11-11 (November 11) or China’s single’s day, in terms of online sales scale and volume. Participants had the option to purchase coupons to Philippine tourism products. 

The event featured interactive activities and fiesta games. Cultural shows were rendered by “Tribu Hiligaynon, a Filipino community in Shanghai who performed the Masskara and Dinagyang Festival dances. An all-Filipino five-man brand, “The Bananas,” provided well-loved OPM songs for the audience to enjoy. 

To cap the event, more than 200 prizes were also raffled off. Guests waited in anticipation for the chance to win hotel and resort packages and free trip to Philippine destinations. 

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