“To my fellow Ilonggos, I would like to express my gratitude to all of you for helping the city become what it is today. The city government can only do so much, but because of your willingness and support, we have become co-creators and co-producers of impactful programs and endeavors. I constantly manifest my aspirations for the city so we can all work together to achieve these dreams.
The city’s recent designation as a City of Gastronomy by the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) is an important milestone and a source of pride for all Ilonggos. It pays tribute to generations of Ilonggo families who have kept our culinary heritage alive in their homes, businesses, institutions, and communities.
More than family recipes or food, this designation represents our collective effort to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals; how we take care of our food sources, distribution chains, and consumers; our commitment to enrich knowledge-sharing with the other members of the network; and being champions of creativity, innovation, and cultural heritage.
I take this opportunity to call everyone to action. Each of us has a role as well as a responsibility in this UNESCO designation.
Let us not take this recognition for granted because we have this opportunity to showcase our culture and food with the rest of the world, what we have done to make our city sustainable, our best practices, especially during the pandemic that demonstrated the true power of public-private partnerships, and how we have persevered to protect our cultural heritage.
Let us intensify our synergies so we can involve as many stakeholders in capacity development activities, learning exchanges, competitions, exhibitions, conferences, and seminars.
We need to include Ilonggo Cuisine in our main stream of university courses, undertake more research and innovation related to food, scale up the skills training of our workforce, promote Ilonggo Cuisine in restaurants and hotels, and propose policies to support gastronomy-related projects and programs.
We are now Unesco Gastronomic Creative City Ambassadors. Let us continue to work together to ensure we pass on this recognition to the next generation of Ilonggos.