Iloilo City in the Visayas region was designated as a “Creative City of Gastronomy” by UNESCO, the very first city in the Philippines to join the category.
In a press release on Oct. 31, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization said 55 cities joined the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) on World Cities Day.
“New cities were acknowledged for their strong commitment to harnessing culture and creativity as part of their development strategies, and displaying innovative practices in human-centered urban planning,” UNESCO said.
Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas, in a statement posted on Facebook, called it an “incredible recognition of Iloilo’s rich culinary heritage, innovative gastronomic scene, enabling ecosystem, and unwavering passion for food.”
“I share this award with the Ilonggos, like me, who love to cook our Ilonggo food. Now, we can be proud to say Ilonggo cuisine is taking the stage in the international gastronomy scene,” Treñas said.
He added that Iloilo City would continue to push for more innovations, such as introducing the metro as a “global gastronomic hot pot,” akin to fiestas and other celebrations.
Iloilo City recently published a 208-page cookbook titled Flavors of Iloilo, which contains heirloom recipes of traditional Ilonggo cuisine.
The city is known for delicacies like La Paz batchoy, tinu-om, binakol, and ibos.
Other creative cities of gastronomy are Cambodia’s Battambang, China’s Chaozhou, Switzerland’s Fribourg, South Korea’s Gangneung, Greece’s Herakleion, and Cameroon’s Nkongsamba.
The UCCN now has 350 cities from over 100 countries.
There are seven creative fields, namely: crafts and folk art, design, film, gastronomy, literature, media arts, and music.
Other Philippine cities that UNESCO included in its UCCN are Baguio (craft and folk art) in 2017 and Cebu (design) in 2019.