The Department of Tourism (DOT) celebrated the inclusion of Iloilo City in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Creative Cities Network (UCCN) for Gastronomy.
“The Department of Tourism extends its sincerest congratulations to Iloilo City, under the leadership of Mayor Jerry Treñas, for its remarkable entry into the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. Iloilo City is a gastronomic haven for both Filipinos and international visitors and a hallmark of our Filipino culinary heritage,” said DOT Secretary Ma. Esperanza Christina Frasco.
UNESCO director-general Audrey Azoulay announced Iloilo City’s inclusion in Creative Cities Network on World Cities Day on Oct. 31, 2023.
The designation reflects Iloilo’s rich culinary heritage and reinforces its role in preserving and promoting Philippine food culture. The city is renowned for signature dishes such as La Paz Batchoy, Pancit Molo, local favorites like K.B.L. (Kadyos, Baboy, at Langka), the charcoal-roasted native chicken Darag, as well as its famous giant siopao and fresh seafood.
Iloilo City made history by becoming one of the Philippine cities, alongside Baguio and Cebu City, to join the prestigious UCCN.
Baguio City has held the UNESCO Creative City of Crafts and Folk Art title since 2017, while Cebu City was recognized as the country’s inaugural UNESCO Creative City of Design in 2019.
The UNESCO Network is composed of 350 cities across more than 100 countries, spanning seven creative fields –crafts and folk art, design, film, gastronomy, literature, media arts and music.
Launched in 2004, the UCCN primarily aims to foster collaboration among cities that recognize creativity as a fundamental catalyst for sustainable urban development.
Frasco said the DOT would continue supporting creative cities to further develop, promote and expand the country’s tourism product portfolio towards multi-dimensional tourism that includes a strong focus on the food and creative industries.
The DOT will visit Iloilo by end-November for the launch of the Philippine Experience Heritage, Culture and Arts Caravan for Western Visayas.
The DOT’s Region VI Office launched the “Slow Food in Western Visayas” culinary and rural tourism event program in Iloilo City in September 2023.
Tourism regional director for Western Visayas Crisanta Marlene Rodriguez said the regional office is developing itineraries to actively promote slow food experiences for tourists, enabling them to engage in and observe food preparation and ingredients farming.
Other food and creative industry projects are the Western Visayas Sugar Heritage Trail, Boracay Food Crawl, Cultural and Film Tourism, including promotional projects for Antique, CineKasimanwa, CineIsla and the Department’s flagship Philippine Experience: Culture, Heritage and Arts Caravan.