The City Tourism Office (CTO) inaugurated the Tourism Month celebration by launching a trade fair at the event center of SM City Puerto Princesa and a food bazaar at the Freedom Park of the Puerto Princesa City Coliseum.
Michie Hitosis-Meneses from the CTO stated that the food bazaar’s primary emphasis will be on showcasing cuisine unique to Puerto Princesa, in addition to the customary products offered by tourism-related establishments (TRE), such as kasuy and tamilok.
“We are organizing a cooking contest with the goal of creating a distinct cuisine that can be associated with Puerto Princesa. This contest will be our main highlight, as it presents a challenge for us. When tourists visit, they seek out unique local dishes that truly represent our identity,” Meneses told Palawan News in a telephone interview, adding that tamilok is no longer highlighted that much because of environmental concerns.
“We must conceptualize a signature dish that is synonymous with Puerto Princesa, much like how Bicol is known for Laing. While we do have ‘laoya,’ which originates from Cuyo, there are claims from other provinces that they also have a similar dish,” she added.
Meneses also mentioned that participants in the contest will be required to utilize local products, with seafood being the primary ingredient, given the city’s reputation for it.
The Tourism Month celebration will showcase other activities as well, including pocket events during the trade fair such as product presentations, the Turistalino (inter-school tourism quiz bee), the Indak Turismo inter-school dance contest, and an information and education campaign (IEC) about various Community-Based Sustainable Tourism destinations in different schools.
Furthermore, a Tourism Gala and Awards Night is scheduled for September 27, during which outstanding stakeholders and TREs with commendable track records will be honored with awards.
“Definitely this year, we will also highlight tourism officers of every association. One of the criteria will be for travel agencies and accommodations must be always updated with their tourlita submission,” Meneses said.
Meanwhile, Meneses also said the CTO also showcased the city’s different CBSTs at the Philippine Travel Mart held at the SMX convention center in Metro Manila last September 1-3.
She also said visitors that flocked to Puerto Princesa city’s booth got the chance to win products like Hopia, Kasuy and handicrafts made by persons deprived of liberty at the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm, through raffle by simply liking and following the CTO’s Facebook and Youtube pages
“Based on our experience, mas preferred nila yung gawa ng PDLs like utensils and toiletries,” she said.