By Rjay Zuriaga Castor
Hala Bira, Iloilo! Food Fest na!
As a “Creative City of Gastronomy” — the first in the Philippines — by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Creative Cities Network, the city and province of Iloilo are showcasing a tempting array of local cuisines for the enjoyment of thousands of spectators at the Dinagyang Festival.
In addition to the vibrant festivities experienced by tourists from all walks of life, the streets of Iloilo City are lined with numerous food kiosks offering a variety of delectable dishes, from the world-renowned batchoy to the flavorful chicken inasal.
The Ilonggo gastronomy takes center stage at the Iloilo Dinagyang 2024 Food Festival, scheduled from January 25 to 28. Over 700 food merchants have participated, with 500 food kiosks in the Iloilo Business Park (IBP) in Mandurriao and an additional 200 in the downtown area.
For Food Festival Committee chair Jay Treñas, the food festival is not a thing to miss as the mouth-watering delights offered at the food fest is also a celebration of different Ilonggo cuisines.
He emphasized that the food fest will prove why Iloilo City earned the designation as a Creative City of Gastronomy by UNESCO.
“If you come and treat yourselves at the food festival, it would be like strolling around the city because all the food specialties by our local restaurants will be served there,” said Treñas.
“We want to highlight all the gastronomic delights Iloilo City could offer, especially that we have recently been recognized as a Creative City of Gastronomy […] We will give foodies a whole new level of food enjoyment different from our previous food festival where all the dishes served are almost the same,” he added.
The 2024 Dinagyang Food Festival spans one side of Bonifacio Street, Muelle Loney at the back of the Provincial Capitol, Provincial Capitol grounds, Solis Street, Valeria Street at the side of the Atrium, and Marymart Delgado Street at the Amigo and SM Delgado sides, and Iznart Street at the downtown area.
Simultaneously, the food fest at Festive Walk Parade and Java Road aims to “offer a diverse range of Ilonggo dishes, delicacies, street food, and more,” says Karmela Jesena, Festive Walk Mall Iloilo general manager.
“The Dinagyang Food Festival is recognized in conjunction with the recent recognition given by UNESCO to Iloilo City as a Creative City of Gastronomy,” she added.
The provincial government of Iloilo is treating locals and travelers to good food and music as it hosts the Kasadyahan sa Kabanwahanan Food Festival and Bazaar at Muelle Loney Street (at the back of the Capitol).
Embrace the Dinagyang spirit and relish the flavorful Ilonggo foods in the city’s downtown area.
Don’t miss the excitement and savor the diverse flavors of Iloilo! (Photos courtesy of ERS)