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FFM 2023: Taste, eat, enjoy what is ours

Now that we are in the fourth month of 2023, its time to celebrate the Filipino Food Month, themed “Pagkaing Sariling Atin, Mahalin at Pagyamanin!”

Throughout the month, Filipinos are encouraged to promote, buy, and consume Filipino dishes.

This does not only benefit our own palette and stomach, the benefits goes also to our farmers and fishermen who provide us with their fresh produce.

This year, the Department of Agriculture (DA), the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and the Department of Tourism (DOT), in collaboration with the Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement (PCHM), are leading the month-long celebration of FFM.

Filipino Food Month (FFM) is observed April each year by virtue of Presidential

Proclamation No. 469 in 2018, with the goal of preserving and appreciating Filipino culinary heritage, while also recognizing the farmers, fishermen, and other sectors who make it all possible.

According to the Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement (PCHM), Filipino food is often referred to as one of the world's earliest fusion cuisines, having its ancestral cooking influenced mostly by the surrounding environment of people's settlements and early foreign visitors such as the Mexicans from the galleon trade period and the Muslims from neighboring countries.

PCHM said, Filipino cuisine has complex and distinct flavors — mostly a combination of salty, sour, sweet and bitter, although spicy dishes are also highly concentrated in Bicol and in the Muslim areas of Mindanao. Majority of its dishes are also best served as viands with rice — the country's major food staple — and dipping sauces and condiments such as buro (fermented rice and fish), bagoong (fermented salted fish or shrimp) and suka (vinegar).

As one of the world's largest archipelagic countries, the Philippines boasts of a cuisine that is "local, regional, seasonal and being influenced by a number of different foreign cuisines" as described by the PCHM.

Food festivals, food competitions, webinars, concerts, and exhibitions are among the events planned for the month.

In-depth information regarding these can be found on the official Facebook and Instagram pages of Filipino Food Month Official.

Filipinos living outside the country can also get a taste of FFM. In the United States, a famous Filipino-American social media influencer, Otakoyakisoba, has partnered with Weee_Filipino, a delivery company, to promote Filipino Food Month.

They encourage people to create TikTok videos everyday featuring Filipino foods, and post it under the hashtag #FFMChallenge.

In Canada, Filipino Restaurant Month has also returned this April. Similar to Filipino Food Month, it celebrates and promotes Filipino cuisine heritage, but through participating Filipino restaurants.

It is spearheaded by the Philippine Department of Tourism, together with the Philippine Embassy of Ottawa and the Philippine Consulates General in Calgary, Toronto, and Vancouver.

Throughout the showcase of the various dishes, we aim to inspire more people to explore Filipino cuisine, and develop a better appreciation for our culture.

The same applies to our fellow Filipinos.

We enjoy tasting anything foreign and trendy. From Korean barbeques to imported canned goods like SPAM, these foods have been slowly accepted on

our dinner tables and, by extension, our culture.

So much so that we sometimes prefer stocking imported frozen foods and ordering fast food takeout over consuming food from carinderias along roadsides and streets or cooking our own Filipino dish.

This April, it’s time to take a break from this habit. Let us look back to our own cuisine, enrich what is ours, and embrace what our ancestors have innovated, adapted, and indigenized.

Stand in solidarity with our farmers and fishermen, and consume what is locally produced.  And,maybe, take it as an opportunity to learn a new Filipino recipe or two. (pia-ncr)

About the Author

Susan De Leon

Assistant Regional Head

National Capital Region

IO 3

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