DAVAO CITY — President Rodrigo Duterte is hopeful the Kaon Ta! food and travel expo of the Department of Tourism (DOT) would spice up the country’s image as a world culinary destination.
“Let this occasion strengthen your resolve to develop further Filipino cuisine, agricultural products, and technology that celebrate the best of being Filipino,” the President said in his speech during the launch of “Kaon Ta!” or “Let’s Eat!” at the Abreeza Mall here on Friday night.
Duterte also wished that the DoT initiative would boost that image by bringing together local chefs, world-class dishes, and the best agricultural products.
“Let this gathering spark greater appreciation of our diverse cuisine as we steer Philippine agriculture and tourism into even greater heights,” he said.
Lauding the department for cooking up Kaon Ta! as a unique and wonderful culinary experience, the President said it should also raise awareness and greater demand for the growing business.
He likewise reaffirmed the important role of the tourism industry in the country’s quest for inclusive growth and bringing down poverty as it would create more job opportunities for Filipinos.
Duterte welcomed the initiative as “it harnesses the potential of farm tourism as an effective tool in facilitating the growth of our local communities and promoting sustainable development.”
Kaon Ta! as a tourism approach, he said, is gaining popularity among Filipinos and foreign tourists aspiring to take a break from a stressful city life.
The event brought the President back to one of his favorite haunts — Sana’s Karenderya — one of the exhibitors at the mall.
Sana’s was where Duterte would hang out whenever he wanted to eat balbacua (cow skin stew) and tapa (thin slices of cured meat) when he was still a prosecutor. He also tried the Chilli Con Carne of Aling Fopings, which is famous for its halo-halo.
Kaon Ta! is a food and travel festival designed to create awareness and interest in Philippine cuisine and tourist destinations. It features local chefs, local dishes, local products, and farm tourism sites.
Through Kaon Ta!, the DoT aims to promote the country as a center of food and gastronomy.