MANILA, Philippines — Multi-awarded local chief executive and Mayor of Liloan, Cebu Atty. Christina Garcia-Frasco formally assumed her new role as Secretary of the Department of Tourism (DOT) earlier today (June 30), during the Oathtaking of Cabinet Secretaries officiated by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. that took place at the Malacañan Palace.
Frasco, who was joined by her family members mother Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, husband Cebu 5th District Representative Duke Frasco, and sister Carissa Garcia, was sworn into office along with other cabinet members of the new administration.
In his inaugural speech as the 17th President of the Republic of the Philippines, Marcos Jr. expressed his optimism for the country’s tourism industry, noting its bright prospects with Frasco at the helm of the DOT.
“The recovery of Philippine tourism, with its emphasis on accessing nature’s beauty, I am sure, will exceed expectations,” said President Marcos.
“Following these giant steps, we will continue to build. I will complete on schedule the projects that have been started. I am not interested in taking credit; I want to build on success that’s already happening. We will be presenting the public with a comprehensive infrastructure plan. Six years could be just about enough time. No part of our country will be neglected. Progress will be made wherever there are Filipinos, so no investment is wasted,” added the President.
Secretary Frasco echoed the President’s vision, noting two essential building blocks in ensuring sustainable tourism: effective local government planning and implementation, and shared tourism governance by the public and private sector.
“Effective planning and implementation on the Local Government side necessitates focus on zoning and land use regulations that enhances rather than degrades the long term value of tourist attractions, proactive and aggressive infrastructure development that provides quality access to roads, bridges, water systems, providing access to various methods of transportation by land, sea, and air, as well as heritage and environmental protection that ensures sustainable tourism development,” she said, in relation to her experience as a local chief executive of Liloan town.
“The goal is to improve the overall tourism experience by both domestic and foreign tourists so that they not only enjoy the idea of the brand that is the Philippines but fully immerse in and keep buying into the product that is our beautiful country and the work of its people,” she noted.
Secretary Frasco served as Mayor of the Municipality of Liloan from 2016 to 2022, and graduated from Ateneo Law School. Prior to entering public service, she practiced international arbitration and commercial litigation at the Romulo Law Firm and taught as a Professor at the University of San Carlos (USC) College of Law.
“It is my hope that by building bridges of collaboration, we can generate boundless opportunities for livelihood, employment, and business that puts the success of every Filipino tourism stakeholder front and center of our agenda,” enthused the tourism chief.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) applauded the naming of the country’s three island destinations among “The 25 Best Islands in the World” of the New York-based travel magazine Travel + Leisure (T+L).
Boracay Island featuring its postcard perfect sunset ranked 9th in the T+L World’s Best Island list, followed by the Palawan at 11th with a photo of an idyllic lagoon in El Nido, and Cebu at 16th with Taoist Temple, in Cebu City. According to T+L, readers were asked to “weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated islands according to their activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value.”
“The Philippines is truly blessed with the unrivaled beauty of our natural resources coupled by the warmth and endless talent of the Filipinos manifested in this citation of Travel + Leisure that included our Cebu, Palawan, and Boracay in their prestigious list,” Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco said.
Boracay and Palawan also topped T+L’s 5 Best Islands in Asia alongside Phuket, Thailand, Bali, Indonesia, and The Maldives. “Travel + Leisure readers fondly recalled pre-COVID-era visits to the best islands in Asia. Now that the region is reopening, they’re surely eager to return to these five ports of call, including the islands of the Maldives, as well as those found in Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines,” stated T + L.
“We express our heartfelt gratitude and congratulations to all tourism stakeholders from the public and private sector, the national and local government units, the efforts of the previous administration included, and all the hardworking employees and officials of the Department across the country for forging forward amidst the challenges of the pandemic and contributing in their own ways so our country may earn the title as one of the most beautiful in the world. The natural beauty of a country can truly shine through when we are united in heralding our best qualities,” Frasco added.
Philippines among the 40 Most Beautiful Countries in the World
The Philippines concurrently was named among “The 40 Most Beautiful Countries in the World” by lifestyle travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler (CNT).
The country is accompanied in the list by other countries such as Brazil, France, Italy, Japan, and United States of America, among others.
Manila among top cities in the World
Meanwhile, TimeOut.com also ranked Manila among the top cities in the world. The ranking comes as a result of a survey among city-dwellers worldwide. The choice is a result of several criteria that include aspects like walkability, good public transport, safety, and sustainability other than a thriving nightlife, amazing food and drink, and art and culture. It should be noted, nonetheless, that Manila is usually in reference to Metro Manila or the Philippines’ National Capital Region.
“May this global recognition of the beauty of our natural resources inspire our efforts to raise the Philippines’ standing in the tourism industry by introducing tourism infrastructure development and improvements that would enhance connectivity and convenience in reaching our destinations,” enthused Secretary Frasco.
MEDIA RELEASE 23 June 2022 CONTACT: CZARINA ZARA-LOYOLA Director Public Affairs and Advocacy email@example.com 459-5200 loc 323
MANILA — Time to gear up and get dive-ready as the Department of Tourism (DOT) stages the Philippine International Dive Expo (PHIDEX), the country’s largest platform for the diving community, on August 19 to 21, 2022 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay, Manila.
PHIDEX’s third edition seeks to continue the narrative of conservation, community, and convergence within the diving community through the theme “Back into the Blue: One with the Sea”. The expo will also showcase the Philippines’ readiness to welcome dive tourists from all over the globe, gathering local and international dive industry experts, dive tour operators, and partner dive businesses to share their ideas and experiences. “The entry of international travelers is a welcome development that will lead to growth in the travel and tourism sector, restoration of jobs, and the generation of much-needed revenue for tourism-related enterprises and communities. We are optimistic that these economic benefits will also extend to dive destinations around the country. The country remains a leading dive destination, which tourists all over the world are eager to visit after a long wait of two years,” said Tourism Development Undersecretary Woodrow C. Maquiling, Jr.
“The DOT hopes to encourage divers to practice sustainability every time they dive to preserve the country’s seas. Sustainable diving practices are a huge part of the reason why the country’s dive destinations continue to operate despite challenges brought by the pandemic,” Undersecretary Maquiling added.
PHIDEX is the only dive show in the world that combines in one event a Dive Travel Exchange (TRAVEX), a business-to-business (B2B) meeting program for local and international dive operators, dive conference and seminars, and familiarization tours to top and emerging Philippine dive destinations. Exhibition booths will showcase dive resorts and centers in different destinations, as well as top-rated dive gear and equipment.
Through conferences, participants will also have a chance to learn about new dive destinations developed during the pandemic, product updates from key dive destinations, as well as up-todate underwater photography gear showcases. International dive operators will also get to inspect and assess top and emerging dive destinations such as Anilao, Bohol, Camiguin, Coron, Dumaguete, Malapascua, Moalboal, Puerto Galera, Southern Leyte, and Ticao Island through familiarization tours. At least 100 local and international dive buyers and media from the Philippines, US, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Korea, Japan, Thailand and Singapore, are expected to attend the expo. Meanwhile, activities such as Dive TRAVEX and Dive Conference will be accessible online for participants unable to attend due to international border restrictions.
Registration as consumer and trade visitors and exhibition booth reservation will open on June 24, 2022 through https://register.phidex.asia/. For more information regarding the PHIDEX activities, follow Dive Philippines on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/DOTdivephilippines) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/dotdivephilippines/) or email the PHIDEX Organizing Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
22 April 2022 CONTACT: CZARINA ZARA-LOYOLA Director Public Affairs and Advocacy email@example.com 459-5200 loc 323
Manila, Philippines– World tourism executives and scores of delegates from across the global travel and tourism sector gather in iconic Manila for the 3-day 21st World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit under the theme, “Rediscovering Travel”.
Earlier in the opening ceremony at the Manila Marriot Hotel, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat welcomed the WTTC delegates attending in person and online, saying the summit “marks the beginning of a new era” for Philippine tourism.
“Now is the time for us to revive our connections and engagement with people,” she said.
Puyat was joined on stage by WTTC Chair and Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald and WTTC President and CEO Julia Simpson. On the opening day, the Philippines was lauded by the global tourism leaders attending the event on site.
“Here in Asia-Pacific, the reopening is just beginning. And I have to say I congratulate the Philippines and Minister Bernadette, a nation that showed determination and courage to reignite travel in this region,” Simpson said.
Puyat also served as one of the speakers during the summit’s first panel discussion titled Redefining Travel in a Changing World, sitting alongside Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths, Marriott International Group President Craig S. Smith, and The Global Rescue Companies CEO Dan Richards to talk about how travel and tourism sector continue to offer incredible experiences and drive social progress while still protecting health, preserving the environment, and responding to a rapidly changing landscape.
Smith shared that the sector is well on its way to recovery, sharing his surprise at how fast tourism–in the Philippines–has been bouncing back.
“I’ve never seen a recovery this fast: average rates, first time interest rates. Take the Philippines for example. We have five hotels in the Philippines and we have 15 hotels that are being opened. We want to create these jobs. And so with the help of governments like yours, we see a really bright future going forward that this collaboration is going to do,” remarked Smith.
With the country’s first-ever hosting of the WTTC summit held annually, Puyat emphasized how more communication and engagement between both the government and the private sector can accelerate recovery and sustain growth. She also noted that the Philippines has remained committed to combat the effects of the changing climate and promote green tourism.
According to the WTTC’s projection in its latest Economic Impact Report (EIR), travel and tourism in the Philippines will reach an annual growth rate of 6.7% in the next 10 years, exceeding its overall economy average growth rate of just 5.6 %. The EIR also projects that employment will grow annually by an average of 3% in the same period, generating 2.9 million new jobs that will account for 21.5% of all jobs in the Philippines. Simpson said that the latest EIR for the Philippines signals the astonishing recovery of the country’s Travel & Tourism sector.
MANILA, Philippines–The Philippines will start to accept fully-vaccinated foreign leisure travelers from visa-free countries beginning February 10.
Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat made the announcement today January 28 (Friday) after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved the proposal of the Department of Tourism (DOT).
“We at the DOT are very thankful to our partners in the IATF-EID for approving our proposal to allow the entry of foreign leisure travelers. The Department sees this as a welcome development that will contribute significantly to job restoration, primarily in tourism-dependent communities, and in the reopening of businesses that have earlier shut down during the pandemic,’’ Puyat said.
“With years of coordination between national agencies, industry stakeholders, and the various local government units (LGUs) to prepare our destinations for tourism in the new normal, we are confident that we will be able to keep pace with our ASEAN neighbors who have already made similar strides to reopen to foreign tourists,” added the tourism chief.
Puyat clarified that the recent IATF-EID decision will cover only leisure travelers from countries whose nationals are allowed visa-free entry to the Philippines.
It can be recalled that, last year, the IATF-EID approved the entry of fully vaccinated tourists from Green List countries/territories/jurisdictions starting Dec. 1, 2021 but was temporarily suspended due to the omicron variant.
Earlier today, the IATF-EID announced the suspension of the country classification system starting Feb. 1, 2022. Also starting Feb. 1, fully-vaccinated returning overseas Filipinos will no longer be required to undergo quarantine as long as they are able to present a negative result of an RT-PCR test taken 48 hours prior to departure from point of origin.
Likewise, starting Feb. 10 and upon consultation with health experts, qualified leisure travelers will also no longer be required to undergo quarantine as long as they are able to present a negative result of an RT-PCR test taken 48 hours prior to departure from point of origin.
“We are also aware that there is no room for complacency given the unpredictability of the virus. We will closely monitor the situation and ensure that health and safety protocols are strictly implemented in all tourism establishments,” Puyat noted.
Based on the IATF-EID guidelines, leisure travelers from visa-free countries will be allowed to enter the country, provided that their passports are valid for at least six months at the time of arrival, and they possess outbound tickets to their country of origin or next country of destination.
Leisure visitors must also carry proof of vaccination against COVID-19 that are recognized by the IATF-EID. They include certificates of vaccination issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), VaxCertPH of the Department of Health (available at https://vaxcert.doh.gov.ph), and a national/ state digital certificate of a foreign government which has accepted VaxCertPH under a reciprocal arrangement unless otherwise permitted by the IATF.
I don’t know how restaurants work anymore. I’ve come to this conclusion after spending the spring traversing the country (fully vaccinated) and eating in as many cities as I possibly could (fewer than usual, due to the circumstances). Everything was different; even fine dining was to-go. Menus were accessed by QR codes, and it was weeks before I encountered a real plate. But it’s not just the experience of dining that’s different; what it means to be a chef has changed.
This is an industry that was built on a shaky foundation, and the global pandemic put a spotlight on every single crack. But through these cracks, real leadership emerged. Leadership that prioritizes the safety and needs of employees over the whims of customers. Leadership that centers local communities, providing groceries and hot meals for those in need. Leadership that still turns out exceptional cooking that manages to comfort and delight even when the odds are stacked against them.
This year’s class of Best New Chefs exemplifies this approach to leadership. There’s the chef in Austin who is running an ambitious in-house masa program while prioritizing the mental health of his team, and the pastry chef in Washington, D.C., who is baking whimsical desserts that center the flavors of her Dominican heritage while launching bake sales that help combat racism. There’s the scrappy chef in Portland, Oregon, who is making America fall in love with the robust and complex flavors of Filipino food and building a gathering space for his community, and the chef in Ann Arbor, Michigan, who merges Midwestern produce with centuries-old Korean recipes while also compensating her staff well above market standards and providing a slew of benefits.
From coast to coast, the 2021 class of Best New Chefs is reinventing what it means to lead in the kitchen while cooking the food that matters to them most. Restaurants may no longer look the same, but with this class of chefs at the helm, I am excited to see—and eat—what the future holds.
In the crackling flames of the fire he had just lit in his grandmother’s backyard, Matt Horn found his life’s calling. “The smoke is in your face, you’re hearing the wood cracking, you’re seeing the embers, you’re seeing the coals being formed,” he explains. “It was transformative for me. I zoned out. Nothing else around me mattered.” That was it—he was hooked, and there was no going back. Horn knew at that moment that he would spend the rest of his life pursuing the mastery of barbecue. Read more.
Velez’s pastry creations—which include thick sticky buns rippled with pureed sweet plantain, hefty cookies she calls “thick’ems” packed with matcha powder and white chocolate chunks, and strawberry knafeh, bright pink with fruit and piled high with phyllo shards—are unapologetic in their size and flavor. They refuse to be background notes or secondary to a meal. They are not subtle. They are not fragile. They are celebratory expressions of technique and culture. They are like Velez. Read more.
Carlo Lamagna approaches Filipino food like a Grand Prix race car driver: He drives with extreme precision and finesse, but he isn’t afraid to press on the gas. The translucent broth that forms the base of his sinigang at Magna Kusina, Lamagna’s Portland, Oregon, restaurant, has the elegant gleam of consommé but is anything but subtle in flavor. It fully embraces its sour notes, with punches of tamarind knitted together by tomato, fish stock and fish sauce, onions, and garlic. And then there’s the electrifying, elemental funk that ripples through the bagoong alamang, a condiment of fermented shrimp paste spiked with garlic, fish sauce, and palm sugar. It’s a favorite childhood food of Lamagna’s, given a cheffy makeover in a dish called mangga at bagoong alamang: It arrives at the table in a small boat carved out of raw green mango and is covered with a shower of edible flower petals. Read more.
They say that you eat with your eyes first, and it’s impossible to not have yours widen with hunger when they spot slices of chef Thessa Diadem’s velvety ube pie. It’s one of the newest additions to the pastry case at All Day Baby in Los Angeles, and it is a showstopper. The thick ube custard, a shade of purple so saturated and vivid that Prince would be jealous, sturdily sits up in an impossibly flaky crust. Each piece is topped with a cascade of chamomile-spiked whipped cream puffs that gather like clouds before a rainstorm. Yes, the ube pie is a nod to Diadem’s Filipina heritage (she immigrated to the United States at the age of 13), but it also represents her broader approach in the kitchen: using the most global flavors that she can source locally. Read more.
You can smell Suerte from a block away. East Sixth Street is one of Austin’s busiest and most energetic thoroughfares, but follow your nose—nostrils inflating to inhale the air thick with the unmistakable smell of toasted corn—and you will find yourself standing in front of chef Fermín Núñez’s altar to all things masa. It’s one of a growing number of restaurants in the country devoted to the art of nixtamalization, a process that prepares dried corn kernels to be ground into the fresh dough used to make tortillas and tostadas so redolent with flavor that they will make you ask if you’ve ever truly tasted corn before. Read more.
When Angel Barreto was first setting up the accounts with suppliers for Anju, the restaurant he helms in Washington, D.C., a salesperson didn’t believe that he was serious when he ordered 150 pounds of salted shrimp. Even though the store had the ingredient in stock, the salesperson said he didn’t think that Barreto actually “needed it.” It’s not the first time (nor will it be the last) that someone was surprised that Barreto, who is half Puerto Rican and half Black, with a grin that stretches ear to ear, runs one of D.C.’s most popular Korean restaurants. “There’s very few [chefs] who look like me that cook Asian food, especially Korean food,” he says, with more empathy than frustration in his voice. Read more.
“A lot of people have known since the age of 3 that they want to be a chef,” says Ji Hye Kim, who owns Miss Kim in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “That’s not my story at all. I was 30 when I started thinking about it.” Kim grew up in Seoul, South Korea, on a steady stream of spectacular meals. Her mom was a talented and passionate cook, so in many ways Kim, now 43, took good food for granted. “It has always been there in my life.” But Kim’s mom would never let her help out in the kitchen, and at a certain point Kim stopped trying. Read more.
Chefs Blake Aguillard and Trey Smith are, to put it frankly, huge nerds. The chefs and co-owners of Saint-Germain in New Orleans openly geek out over ikejime, a Japanese fish-butchering technique (it’s considered more humane and helps keeps their menu prices down), or the results of a fermentation experiment (transforming scraps of venison into garum, a fish sauce–like condiment that takes three months to make). It’s hard to resist getting caught up in their earnest and infectious excitement. Read more.
“Every day when I go to work, I am just as excited as I was on day one,” declares Gaby Maeda. Maeda is the chef de cuisine at the San Francisco stalwart State Bird Provisions, where she and her team whip up a menu of bright and punchy California cuisine, heavy on the local produce and with strong Asian influences. She has worked in professional kitchens for over a decade and a half, and that is where she is happiest. “All I want to do is work hard with my team and grow with them every day.” Read more.
Lucas Sin is on a mission to perfect General Tso’s chicken. His goal: to make a version of the sticky-sweet, deep-fried poultry dish for Nice Day, his modern American Chinese restaurant in New York, that retains its crispness when delivered, with a sauce that’s viscous but not gloopy, garlicky but not too hot. General Tso’s is one of the most popular items at American Chinese restaurants around the country, and yet, according to Sin’s research, there is no standard way to make it. He has combed through cookbooks, spent hours scouring the internet, tasted as many versions as he could track down, and spoken on the phone with Chinese chefs around the country, but no one can agree on what makes General Tso’s so distinctively delicious. Read more.
MANILA – The challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic could not stop diving enthusiasts and industry experts from coming together in the first-ever all-digital Philippine International Dive Expo (PHIDEX) organized by the Department of Tourism (DOT), from March 19 to 21 via virtual conferencing.
Over 2,000 diving enthusiasts from around the world attended this year’s iteration of the Philippines’ largest platform for the diving community, which was established in 2019. This year’s event, themed “Our Sea, Our Story,” brought everyone together to raise awareness and discuss solutions for the local diving industry’s recovery.
“With the gradual activation of dive travel and tourism in various parts of the country, an event such as this is even more crucial for the recovery of the dive industry,” said DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat in her opening speech on the first day of the expo.
“As the Philippines is widely recognized by scientists as the center of marine biodiversity, it is fitting that we lead the region in mounting an event that reflects our world-class diving.”
Various international leaders and experts in their respective fields spoke in 17 different panel discussions and talk sessions at the three-day expo, with around a hundred attendees watching each session. These include California Academy of Sciences Curator Dr. Terry Gosliner, French-British underwater photographer Henley Spiers, Emmy Award-winning husband-and-wife documentary team Howard and Michele Hall, Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Ambassador and Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving (PCSSD) Commissioner Bo Mancao, University of the Philippines marine economist and community scientist Tara Abrina, and German underwater photographer Tobias Friedrich, just to name a few.
PHIDEX’s main thrust is to advocate for the sustainability of the local diving industry and marine environments, with a number of key sessions on the topic.
One was the talk of Sulubaaï Environmental Foundation president Frederic Tardieu, in which he tackled the management of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and restoration of ecosystems. Tardieu and project manager Laure Thierry de Ville D’avray went into great detail about their work in creating 150 hectares of MPAs around Pangatalan Island in Palawan and sharing these efforts and knowledge with the locals.
Another was the session by Atlantis Dive Resorts and Liveaboards Sales Manager and Roni Ben-Aharon on sustainable tourism practices in the dive industry. Ben-Aharon zeroed in on three important factors of sustainability: the environment, the people affected, and the communities that operate in the area. She shared easy-to-do measures that locals can take to help protect marine environments, citing cases from different places in the Philippines.
A third talk was that of Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving (PCSSD) Commissioner and PADI Ambassadiver Bo Mancao, in which he discussed the environmental efforts of the local dive industry during the pandemic-induced shutdown and issues that arose because of it. Mancao shared stories of coastal clean-ups and preservation drives around Cebu, and also shed light on the resilience of the residents of Malapascua Island.
Expo-goers also had the opportunity to score exclusive PHIDEX deals on diving equipment, accessories, and travel experiences from the 64 exhibitors, dealers, and partners present in the event’s virtual exhibition. Over 2,000 business and networking leads were generated by the Dive Travel Exchange (TRAVEX) meetings.
“With health and safety protocols in place to ensure the safe reopening of our destinations, we are taking this opportunity to pivot towards sustainable solutions,” Puyat stressed.
For more information and updates on PHIDEX and the Philippine dive industry, like Dive Philippines on Facebook at facebook.com/DOTdivephilippines, follow @dotdivephilippines on Instagram, or visit www.phidex.asia.
MANILA – In its thrust to help support and sustain the country’s diving industry, the Department of Tourism (DOT) is presenting this year’s Philippine International Dive Expo (PHIDEX) online via virtual conferencing from March 19 to 21, 2021.
PHIDEX is the Philippines’ largest platform for the diving community since 2019. The global COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the event going digital for the time being, but the new format will allow the expo to reach even more members of the diving community.
As COVID-19 has hit the local diving industry and those who depend on it, this year’s PHIDEX, themed “Our Sea, Our Story,” aims to raise awareness and discuss solutions into accelerating the industry’s recovery.
“As the Philippines is known around the world for its diving destinations, it is truly important that we do everything we can to sustain the local diving industry. The latest recognition we received was from the 2020 World Travel Awards which named the Philippines as the World’s Leading Dive Destination. This year’s PHIDEX is a step in the right direction to sustain our gains toward recovery, for all to enjoy the natural wonders our archipelago can provide,” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat who will formally open the event.
This year’s PHIDEX will host discussions and talks by a number of prominent international personalities who are experts on the sea.
Some notable names confirmed for the event are California Academy of Sciences Curator Dr. Terry Gosliner, French-British underwater photographer Henley Spiers, Emmy Award-winning husband-and-wife documentary team Howard and Michele Hall, PADI Ambassador and PCSSD Commissioner Bo Mancao, University of the Philippines marine economist and community scientist Tara Abrina, and German underwater photographer Tobias Friedrich, to name a few. Each speaker will be going in depth on topics relevant to the diving industry and the protection of Philippine seas.
Expo participants will be able to view all these lectures and panel discussions on the event website, which will host three stages: the main stage, the expo stage, and the panel stage. The website will also serve as a space for divers and enthusiasts to purchase experiences and equipment from partners and exhibitors, as it will also have a virtual marketplace section called the Dive Travel Exchange, or TRAVEX.
Divers and enthusiasts can now register for PHIDEX 2021 for free at https://phidex.asia until March 21.
Noche Buena is a Spanish word for “Good Night,” and it is the name for the traditional Christmas Eve feast. Being a Filipino tradition, Noche Buena is when families and friends gather around the food to celebrate Christmas. As the festive season is just right around the corner, you may be wondering where to buy food for Noche Buena in the Bay Area.
Worry no more as next week, Philippine Consulate General San Francisco is holding its Virtual Paskuhan live on their Facebook page. The goal is to share Filipino dishes that are staples in every Filipino table during Noche Buena. Chef Yana Gilbuena of Salo Series will be sharing her “embutido” recipe, a spin to the traditional embutido, to cook for the holidays.
The live event will also feature five restaurants as they introduce must-have dishes for the Christmas festivities.
A Filipino classic serving modern Filipino grill, Gerry’s Grill introduces classic Filipino dishes like their bestsellers Sizzling Sisig and Inihaw na Pusit. Gerry’s Grill is now open for takeout and delivery. Visit them at their Union City branch located at Courthouse Dr., or call +1 510-441-9900.
This appetizer is one of the most popular dishes to both new and avid customers of Gerry’s grill alike. Gerry’s Grill Sizzling Sisig is an exotic food made with grilled pork face cooked in vinegar and chili peppers. So, if you miss the Philippines during Pasko, this dish is a must-have.
Inihaw na Pusit
Add spice to your Christmas by incorporating seafood into your holiday menu. Inihaw na Pusit, aka “Grilled Squid” is a tasty go-to. Also, the dish contains Gerry’s Grill’s signature sauce which is delicious and sumptuous.
Hapag Pilipino has every staple Filipino Christmas dish you can think of, from Paella Valencia, Cebu Bellychon. Bangus Sisig and Yema Palitaw are all served family-style. You can locate this restaurant at 33 Saint Francis Square, Daly City. Call them at 650. 756. 2220 or 650.756.2203 or visit hapagpilipinousa.com
The Philippines was once a Spanish colony, so, influence in food is no stranger. Hence, Paella Valenciana is one of them. The ingredients to this hearty Filipino dish consist of glutinous rice, mussels, sausage, chicken and saffron, perfect for holidays and special occasions!
A lechon belly roll is one of the recent versions of lechon. The large piece of pork belly is rolled into a thick tube then roasted. Usually, the roll is stuffed with lemongrass and sometimes served with either liver sauce or spiced vinegar. Some prefer this because it is smaller, perfect for more intimate gatherings.
This sisig dish isn’t your ordinary sisig because instead of pork, Hapag Pilipino uses bangus (milkfish) instead. This dish is a delicious combination of almost toasted milkfish cooked with onion, ginger, chili, scallions and other seasonies that is made to perfection. Thus, if you want to be healthy, then you can eat this.
The next Filipino favorite dish is a twist to a favorite Pinoy delicacy. Hapag’s version of palitaw has a yema filling inside for an added kick of sweetness. This delicacy is delicious when served with fresh grated coconut and toasted crushed sesame seeds. Tasty and filling.
If you are craving Crispy Cebuchon, then Grill City is your go-to. They serve you authentic lechon recipes that are true to the Filipino palette. Grab their holiday party packages that include Crispy Bagnet package, Crispy Pata package, and Barbeque package. You can grab these packages inside the Seafood City Supermarket.
No party is complete without Philippine’s most iconic dish present on almost every occasion from birthdays, fiestas, weddings to Christmas gatherings.
Lechon derives its name from the Spanish word “lechona” which means “suckling pig.” The whole pig is spit-roasted slowly over charcoal for hours until the skin is crispy and its meat inside is rendered tender and juicy.
The famous Cebu lechon is usually stuffed with star anise, pepper, spring onions, laurel leaves, and lemongrass; hence, no sauce needed.
Tastebuds is famous for their lechon as they offer different flavors for any occasion, including Christmas and New Year. The restaurant will be featuring three flavors — the traditional, Waray, and Cebu — in Virtual Paskuhan. You can pay a visit to the restaurant located at 582 San Bruno Avenue, W San Bruno, or call (650) 583-0899. For more details, visit tastebudscuisine.com.
Now, if you opt for food that is comforting this holiday season, The Sarap Shop is the one to call. Plus, learn their Buttery Instant Ramen Omelette recipe to serve a dish that can add a twist to your table this year. You can find their food truck at the Parklab Gardens and Chase Center, inside the United Club, Floor 3. You can browse their menu and order ahead or have it delivered. Just visit their site to do so.
Ramen Omelette is a delicious mashup of ramen and omelet that’s perfect for Noche Buena! Do you know you can make this appetizing dish at home? Just take out your favorite cup of ramen and put butter inside the cup before you add water. Cook your egg mixture with cheese and add the noodles, then voila, you now have ramen omelette!
Want to see more Filipino dishes perfect for Noche Buena? Catch our Virtual Paskuhan event live on the Philippines Consulate General San Francisco’s Facebook page! The live event will also air on December 24, Sat. 7 PM Pacific Time at Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco’s Facebook page.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) welcomes the ratification of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Resolution No. 85 which includes the provision on allowing balikbayans’ entry to the Philippines.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said that allowing entry of balikbayans or former Filipino citizens into the country during the holidays is a great cause for celebration for millions of families who long for the homecoming of their relatives abroad.
“This not only bodes well for our ailing industry but is good tidings for our kababayans who have been clamoring to be reunited with their loved ones from abroad, especially this yuletide season,” Secretary Puyat enthused.
The said resolution, signed on November 26, provides that, ”Starting December 7, 2020, the following may be allowed entry privileges under Republic Act No. 6768 or the “Act Instituting the Balikbayan Program”:
a) Filipino citizens’ foreign spouses and children, regardless of age, who are travelling with them; b) Former Filipino citizens, including their spouses and children, regardless of age, who are travelling with them.
The entry of these persons shall be subject to the following conditions: a) they are allowed visa-free entry under Executive Order No. 408, s. 1960; b) with pre-booked quarantine facility; c) with pre-booked COVID-19 testing at a laboratory operating at the airport; and d) subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry.
The IATF also directed the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to formulate the necessary guidelines to ensure smooth implementation while the DOT has been tasked to issue the necessary guidelines for the provision of sufficient accommodation taking into account the release of test results.
“Balikbayans are considered as a viable source market of the country for tourism, particularly extending to the second and third generation dependents who have yet to discover their parents’ roots. The Filipino diaspora to date, has reached about 10 million. That is why we deem important the Filipino communities abroad as staunch partners in driving visitors to the Philippines,” the tourism chief further added.
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has given the Department of Tourism (DOT) a SafeTravels Stamp in recognition of its adoption of “health and hygiene global standardized protocols” that will ensure safe travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
SafeTravels is the stamp of approval given by the international organization to certify compliance with its global health standards to allow for safe travels.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the DOT shall continue to uphold sustainability and safety in its programs and projects geared toward the tourism industry’s recovery.
“The Department has also intensified the accreditation of establishments, continuing thorough inspection and assessment, to ensure that only those accredited with the Department of Tourism, and issued with a Certificate of Authority to Operate, are allowed to open and receive guests. These efforts made us confident to pursue our application to use WTTC’s Safe Stamp, compelling us to align with WTTC’s health, safety and hygiene global standardized protocols. This will further restore tourist confidence and serve as an assurance to our guests that it is safe to travel in the Philippines. The way forward to our recovery is marked by strengthened partnerships with the private sector, our stakeholders and with other national government agencies,” she said during the recent WTTC Members Task Force Call.
The WTTC is an international organization representing leaders of the global travel and tourism industry, which accounts for 10 percent of the global gross domestic product and employment.
As a user of the stamp, the DOT will have the opportunity to assume the role of a SafeTravels ambassador to the stakeholders, advocating the implementation and full compliance of protocols.
Eligible companies such as hotels, airlines, restaurants, tour operators, attractions, transportation and airports will use the stamp as a guarantee that they conform to health and safety protocols required by the WTTC.
“The DOT is one with the global tourism industry in prioritizing health and safety of travelers. In support of this shared advocacy, we will constantly improve our protocols, to make sure that our stakeholders, communities, and workers in the Philippines that rely on tourism can resume their livelihood safely once travel restrictions are eased,” Puyat said.
The DOT earlier released “new normal” health and safety protocols for hotels, resorts, other accommodation establishments, restaurants, tourist land transport services, beach and island destinations and meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions (MICE) facilities and organizers.
Puyat added that travelers also have a shared responsibility in the process of keeping tourism in the Philippines safe.
“The concept of responsible traveling should no longer be limited to keeping our destinations and attractions clean and preserved. In the new normal, travelers will have a bigger role to play. The success of health and safety measures will rely also on their cooperation,” she added.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) has launched an online training program for the country’s tourism stakeholders to stay relevant, learn to cope with the difficulties arising from the global pandemic novel coronavirus or COVID–19, and to facilitate transition to recovery.
DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo–Puyat said the program dubbed DOT Online Training is done via Zoom video–conferencing and offers the stakeholders an option to use their time productively during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), which has been extended to April 30.
“The DOT is developing online courses for tourism stakeholders. This conceptualized as an alternative to the regular training programs being conducted by the Office of Industry Manpower Development. This our vision in embracing a new normal for our industry,” said Puyat.
The tourism chief added that the course covers two subject areas: 1) Tourism Enterprise which involves monitoring, evaluating and learning from past and present situations to enable tourism stakeholders to prepare better for the future; and 2) Filipino Brand of Service which applies the seven Filipino values or “7Ms” that characterize Filipino hospitality, namely May Likha, Makatao, Makakalikasan, Makabansa, Masayahin, May–Bayanihan and May–Pag–asa.
“We can turn the temporary inactivity during lockdown into an opportunity to enhance the quality of tourist services. We can objectively look back at our past and current performance and utilize the breathing space to plan how we can further upgrade our services in our respective areas in the industry with the values of Filipino hospitality,” said Secretary Puyat.
The DOT Chief enjoined the tourism stakeholders to participate in the online training program, adding that the DOT is set to develop additional modules on other topics.
“The DOT will continue to develop other online courses to enhance skills, assist and encourage stakeholders to cope, transition and move towards recovery”.