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Cebu 'eatinerary': Sooo Pinoy, sooo rich in history |

Food and Leisure

Cebu 'eatinerary': Sooo Pinoy, sooo rich in history

- Ching M. Alano -

MANILA, Philippines - Si, Cebu, the oldest Spanish settlement in the Philippines, is undoubtedly rich in history. It is also undeniably rich in food, glorious food — as we found out, much to our delight, during our food tripping as part of Unilever Food Solutions’ Sooo Pinoy campaign, in partnership with the Department of Tourism, to raise awareness for the richness and diversity of Filipino food. Well, this food adventure not only filled our stomachs and warmed our hearts but also broadened our knowledge (as well as waistlines) of Pinoy cuisine. Through Sooo Pinoy’s Food Trip Na Pilipinas Tour, UFS will draw attention to exceptional Filipino dishes (may they be traditional versions or unique fusions) that delectably reflect our diverse cultural heritage.

You’ll probably be mesmerized by the aroma of delicious food wafting from the kitchen of a Cebuano home. Like maybe some tinowa (Cebuano tinola or chicken stew) simmering in a giant pot? Or some toothsome torta baked with coconut wine. Whether it’s meat, seafood or vegetables, Cebuano cuisine is always characterized by its fresh and organic quality — its signature dishes using ingredients sourced locally, for instance. A melting pot of cultures, Cebu cooking borrows largely from the Chinese and Spanish.

“That’s the specialty south of Cebu,” food historian Boboi Costas begins to share a slice of Cebu’s culinary history. “This torta is like a specialty cake and it takes on a special meaning during fiestas as it’s eaten by your guests at home while they’re waiting for the procession to pass by. They will only have dinner after the procession has passed. During dinner, they will also have some hot chocolate (tablea) to wash down the food.”

“Eating is a favorite pastime of Pinoys,” notes Poch Castro, channel marketing executive, Unilever Food Solutions (UFS). “But perhaps unlike before, Pinoy food today is not limited to lutong bahay. Through our Sooo Pinoy advocacy, we want Pinoys to revisit Filipino cuisine and discover its diversity through the many restaurants in the different regions.”

“Unilever Food Solutions is a leader in food solutions and we’re promoting Filipino dishes in Filipino restaurants,” says Mary Rose Tan Zamora, UFS senior assistant manager-channel marketing.

Page by delicious page, we would discover more of Cebu’s rich culinary history up close and sooo personal.  

Former Tourism Secretary-turned-SoooPinoy Ambassador Ace Durano digs into Cebuano cuisine, “A lot of the popular Cebuano dishes are reflective of the beauty of the sea. Delicacies like danggit point to Cebu’s rich underwater resources. If you look at the markets, you always see fresh catch. The most natural way of cooking this is to use the most basic sources, which is why SuTuKil is an essential element of Cebuano cooking.”

Noting the importance of the campaign in pushing Philippine tourism, Durano adds, “The success of Sooo Pinoy can shift the tourism landscape in the country, in that the Philippines will not just be a tropical getaway hotspot but a top foodie destination.”  

Needless to say, after eating our way through the heart and bowels of Cebu without guilt, we flew home with a lot of excess weight — that is, around our bloated stomachs.

Manga-on nata (let’s eat)!

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