From trend to mainstream: PH rises in the world of food

IFEX Philippines NXTFOOD ASIA presents the next big thing in Filipino food at Islands on a Plate

Rustic bibingka.  A modern reinvention of the homegrown Philippine favorite rice cake during Christmas season.

Manila, Philippines ‐‐ This year, Filipino food and chefs have been getting rave reviews and international recognition for their culinary technique, creativity and usage of local ingredients.

National Geographic has listed Filipino food as one of the top food trends in 2019 with the food rave on Filipino-led eateries across the globe such as Washington DC’s Bad Saint and LA’s Lasa, Mamasons’ in London, as well as Filishack, The Adobros and Mamasons’ in London.

Filipino-American chef Tom Cunanan of Bad Saint finally won as the Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic at the James Beard Awards, which is considered the “Oscars” of the culinary world.

Meanwhile, Toyo Eatery, led by Filipino culinary star Jordy Navarra, has recently entered the list of prestigious Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 as the only Philippine entry at rank 43.

As the world craves for Filipino cuisine, it begs a question: what is next for Philippine food?

“The next step for Filipino food is to channel all of its culinary technique, wealth of ingredients and traditions from a global sensation to actually become a mainstream staple on dining menus all over the world,” shared Pauline Suaco-Juan, the executive director of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM).

CITEM is the export promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the agency that is mandated to promote Philippine food in different international exhibits in UAE, US, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, China and many more.

“The complexities and diverse flavors of our homegrown dishes are now being unraveled to the global audience thanks to the brilliance of Filipino chefs and restaurants abroad with their refined culinary techniques and choice of quality Asian ingredients, as well as the Philippine food exhibits overseas,” Suaco‐Juan said.

“Now is an exciting time for Philippine food. Our local cuisine is rising in the world of food and we want to push for Filipino food products, dishes and ingredients to become the next big Asian trend,” she added.

This statement comes a day before CITEM opens its gate to thousands of local and international food buyers and culinary influencers to check out what’s the next big thing in Asian food in IFEX Philippines NXTFOOD ASIA at the World Trade Center Metro Manila (WTCMM), Pasay City from May 24‐26, 2019.

According to Suaco-Juan, IFEX Philippines NXTFOOD Asia seeks to answer the question “What’s NXT in the world of FOOD?” by giving exhibitors from the Philippines and beyond a platform to showcase premium food exports, emerging trends, best practices, and industry innovations to the world’s biggest buyers.

A highlight of the event is the showcase of the country’s “Premium 7” export products, namely banana, coconut, coffee, cacao, mango, pineapple and tuna. Foodies attending the event can also relish dishes or products made with the “Rising Stars of Filipino food,” which include ube, calamansi, turmeric (luyang dilaw), moringa (malunggay), muscovado rice and heirloom rice, among others.

Open-faced mango and premium red tuna salad. A fusion of the corned tuna sourced from the pristine waters of  General Santos City with a tangy zest of fresh Philippine mango and mango poppers from Cebu.

“International foodies and chefs across the globe are welcomed to see, taste and experience the wealth of ingredients in the Philippines and see how they can use it in their own local dishes,” said Suaco‐Juan.

“We cannot wait to show the world what makes Filipino food a champion. We want the world to know that when it comes to food, the best in taste and quality can be found in the Philippines,” she added.

Islands on a Plate celebrates Philippine food

As the country’s biggest export-oriented food show, IFEX Philippines NXTFOOD ASIA is taking foodies all over the world in a gastronomic feast of Filipino flavors in the Islands on a Plate special setting.

This special setting will feature the heirloom cuisines and iconic food products from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao with the inclusion of a Halal Pavilion, One Town One Product (OTOP) Pavilion and a Seafood Pavilion by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

It shall also have a special pavilion for food producers hailing from Central Luzon, CALABARZON, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region and SOCCSKSARGEN, as well as the provinces of Negros Occidental, Misamis Oriental and Taguig City.

“Foodies will be able to taste and get an intimate knowledge on the roots of the country’s most popular dishes and delicacies across the regions straight from the some of the same culinary minds who have made those iconic and part of Filipino culinary tradition,” explained Suaco-Juan.

Diners relish and take photos of the dishes served at the IFEX Philippines Media Preview.
Dishes were prepared using the Premium 7 export products and Rising Stars of Filipino food
to highlight the culinary strength of the Philippine top food exports and give a gastronomic
preview on what to expect on the Islands on a Plate special setting.

To highlight the use of the Philippines’ Premium 7 and the Rising Star of Filipino food, CITEM invited selected members of the media in an exclusive 12-course merienda cena dining experience presented with Via Mare and Chef Bea Nitard ingredients.

Taba ng talangka with roasted kinurat rice. Heirloom rice from Kalinga with a dash of coconut vinegar (pinakurat) and topped with aligue and ginger.

Included in the lineup of dishes were rustic bibingka, pirurutong bumbong, open-faced mango and premium red tuna salad, calamansi sherbet with pomelo bits; Cebuanong alimasag ala brandade gratinee; Batangas turmeric rice with chicken inasal; taba ng talangka with roasted kinurat rice; and champoradong waray with danggit. Also served for desserts were crème emperatrice, turon with chocolate and caramel filling, tropical fruit cake flambe and spicy chocolate ginger bombs.

“The abundance, diversity and flexibility of our local ingredients make the Philippines one of the best sources of food products and culinary inspirations in the world. You really just have to be at IFEX Philippines NXTFOOD ASIA to see, taste and experience it,” she added.

This year’s edition of IFEX Philippines is co-organized with the DTI’s the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development (MSMED) Council, the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PHILEXPORT).

Visit to sign up for the event or to check out more details. Follow IFEX Philippines on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get more updates on the event.


Sustainable Philippine products on the spotlight at the ASEAN-Japan Center

The ASEAN Showcase will feature the Philippines in a Solo Exhibition slated at ASEAN-Japan Hall of ASEAN-Japan Center (AJC) in Tokyo, Japan, on February 16-20, 2015. The ASEAN Showcase is a country-by-country exhibition organized by AJC to give ASEAN member-countries the opportunity to showcase their creative and innovative products to the Japanese market. The exhibit will feature selected companies from the Home, Fashion, and One Town One Product (OTOP) sectors from all over the Philippines to showcase homegrown items that are eco-friendly, sustainable, and environmentally sound.

Fashion: Abaca espadrille of Ai-She Footwear
Fashion: Abaca espadrille of Ai-She Footwear

Established in 1981, AJC is a promotion center that targets to strengthen the trade, tourism and investment from Japan to its ASEAN neighbors through the organization of exhibits, seminars, workshops, dispatch and invitation of missions, publication, and information services.

“As the Japanese consumers demand products that are unique, creative, and environment-friendly, the Philippine solo exhibition will not only be an opportunity to generate international exposure for the country’s potentials in developing eco-friendly alternative materials for arts and crafts and fashion products but it will also be a chance to increase and strengthen bilateral trade between the Philippines and Japan. It will also help Philippine SMEs internationalize various sectors,” said Rosvi C. Gaetos, Executive Director of Center for International Expositions and Mission (CITEM).

The companies which will take part under the Home Décor sector are CSM Philippines, Inc. (Laguna); MARSSE Tropical Timber Plantations, Inc. (Pangasinan); Nature’s Legacy Eximport (Cebu), Inc.; Oricon Corporation, (Tarlac); Papel Handicrafts (Negros Occidental); and TADECO, Inc. (Davao).

Home: NuCast vase & NatureCast bowl of Nature’s Legacy
Home: NuCast vase & NatureCast bowl of Nature’s Legacy

The participating companies under the Fashion sector are Ai-She Footwear (Laguna); Floreia by CVD Ventures (Cebu); and Nooks Manufacturing Intl Corp. (Cavite). They are joined by two of the country’s notable Fashion designers, Amina Aranaz-Alunan and Adante Leyesa, who are participating through their brands ARANAZ and Adante Collections, respectively.

For the OTOP group, the companies which will participate are Delza’s Native Products (Samar); Julie Anne’s Handicraft (Marinduque); and Lolo Bobby Handicraft (Leyte). OTOP is a priority program of DTI’s Bureau of Domestic Trade (BDT) that aims to generate livelihoods in the local country by sourcing homegrown raw materials. In partnership with CITEM, it underlines the rich and vibrant story of the Filipino craftsmen.

OTOP: Banig bag of Delza’s Native Products
OTOP: Banig bag of Delza’s Native Products

AJC will likewise organize business-matching activities for the Philippine exhibitors and Japanese buyers to discuss trade and business possibilities.

The country’s solo exhibition in the ASEAN Showcase is spearheaded by CITEM, the export promotions agency of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in cooperation with AJC.

Click here for more about the exhibition.

Filipino Soulful Craftsmanship @ 60th Manila FAME

LEE_6844From carving to weaving to shell inlay to leather embossing to upcycling, visitors of the 60th Manila FAME on October 16-19 will witness the unfolding of the Philippines’ rich and colorful craft heritage through a showcase of hometown handcrafted pieces by passionate Filipino craftsmen whose skills have been passed on through generations of artisans.

This edition of Manila FAME, the country’s premier design and lifestyle event, will highlight the country’s cultural narrative at the One Town, One Product (OTOP) Marketplace, a priority program of the Bureau of Domestic Trade (BDT), in partnership with the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).


“True to CITEM’s commitment of promoting the global competitiveness of Philippine products, this edition intends to emphasize the local communities’ age-old techniques and their use of homegrown materials to craft items that narrate the vibrant stories of history, heritage, and talent of the Filipino craftsman,” said CITEM Executive Director Rosvi Gaetos.


Various towns, provinces, and regions will take pride in their distinctive products at the OTOP Marketplace, transforming the abundant natural resources available to them into masterpieces of Philippine craft. Local artisans from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), South Luzon, Eastern Visayas, and Southern and Central Mindanao,will unveil their exquisite techniques and styles to unearth distinctive woodwork. Craftsmen from Ilocos, MIMAROPA, Bicol, Central and Eastern Visayas, and Davao tell their stories through weaving cotton, palm, pandan, and ticog (a type of local wild grass), celebrating the country’s rich culture and traditions. The art of upcycling waste materials such as coconut shells, leaves, or newspapers by Bohol, Cagayan Valley, and National Capital Region (NCR) speaks not only the talents of the individual local artisans but also their genuine appreciation for nature and their natural environment.

“Ultimately, CITEM strives to generate a pool of market-ready manufacturers that create innovative and market-driven products made from locally sourced raw materials in order to bring livelihood to their local communities,” Gaetos added.


CITEM, the export promotions arm of the DTI, organizes the Manila FAME, which nurtures and promotes upcoming designers and manufacturers. The bi-annual event is a global platform for the country’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which features export-quality products such as furniture and furnishings, holiday gifts and décor, garments, and fashion accessories designed and crafted in the Philippines for the global market.

Manila FAME, slated at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay, is the second longest-running trade show in the Asia-Pacific, and is the only trade event in the country that is approved by Union des Foires Internationales (UFI), the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry.

Indigenous materials highlighted at the OTOP Marketplace

Manila FAME, Asia’s Design and Lifestyle Event, emphasizes the massive potential of the grassroots level of the Philippine export industry. The One Town One Product (OTOP) Marketplace promotes Philippine craftsmanship and artisanship through locally made products from select regions in the Philippines.

“This year’s OTOP Marketplace features contemporized products made of local materials such as water hyacinth, bamboo, burnt wood, coco guinit, twigs, tikog, and a variety of natural fibers found in the different regions of the Philippines,” says Jinggoy Buensuceso,who curated the special setting.

Check out the products at the OTOP Marketplace:

Manila FAME runs until 17 March 2013! See more of Philippine ingenuity at the 57th edition of Manila FAME at the SMX Convention Center, Metro Manila, Philippines. For more information about the show, visit

The OTOP Marketplace puts focus on SMEs

The One Town One Product (OTOP) Marketplace, a special setting at Manila FAME, showcased the massive potential of the grassroots level of the Philippine export industry. A special participation of local SMEs, the OTOP Marketplace is the manifestation of one of Manila FAME’s macro-trends, Hyperlocalism, as it brandishes the growing competitiveness of Philippine-made products in the international market.

A product-focused setting, the OTOP marketplace exhibited carefully crafted and intricately designed products through the use of the country’s abundant indigenous materials.

The OTOP Marketplace is a special participation of local SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) that showcased Philippine craftsmanship and artisanship through locally made products from select regions in the Philippines.
A variety of products made from bamboo, tinalak fabric, fish scale, snake skin, ticog, water hyacinth, and pvc
Colorful and design-rich mats found at the OTOP Marketplace
Handwoven gift bags
Design-rich products made from bamboo, wood, ticog and serpentine rocks
Acclaimed Filipino designer and the OTOP Marketplace curator Mr. Jinggoy Buensuceso

Jinggoy Buensuceso, who curated the setting says, “I hope OTOP could be a setting that can be exhibited to other international shows… I was definitely surprised by how well OTOP did. It’s a good feeling to see the busyness of the setting. I am very humbled to have had the opportunity to work with these companies.”

The OTOP Marketplace featured products from Analobel Enterprises, ARH Arts and Crafts Collection, Boyel Marketing, Carlo’s Bamboocraft & Furnishing, Davao Oriental Bag Weavers Association, Delza’s Native Products, F. Barcena’s Bamboocrafts, JB Campol’s Furniture, John Carlo Creations, NM Carag Furniture and Woodcraft, P1 Handicrafts, Praj’s Pasalubong Center & General Merchandise, Precious Ceramics, Red Palm Ventures, Remdavies Enterprises, Rowilda’s Loomweaving, Sa’Tin Crafts, Tap’s Handmade Products, Tiberaide Community Foundation, Inc., and Zambrox Corporation.

Expect more of Philippine ingenuity on 14-17 March 2013 at the 57th edition of Manila FAME, Asia’s Design and Lifestyle Event.

FAME by Frame: The October 2012 Edition

On the heels of a successful 56th edition, we relive the scenes at Manila FAME, Asia’s Design and Lifestyle Event during its four-day celebration of Philippine craftsmanship and design.

For decades Manila FAME has been an advocate of the Philippine export industry, becoming a platform for promoting the country’s top products and designs from local designers, exporters, and manufacturers. This October show’s theme “The Art of the Craftsman = The Soul of the Philippines” highlights the country’s affinity to craftsmanship and why the Philippines is the best sourcing destination for the most unique, hand-crafted export products.


In a whirlwind of a journey through the show floor, Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Gregory Domingo and FAME’s notable guests were led through a tour of Manila FAME, culminating in a memorable flash mob of the traditional Philippine dance Tinikling.

(Upper left)CITEM Executive Director Rosvi Gaetos, DTI Secretary Gregory L. Domingo, Katha Awardee for Best Product Design for Furniture Roberto Locsin, and DTI Undersecretary Cristino Panlilio during the Katha Awards Ceremony. (Right) The DTI Secretary and the US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas, Jr. (Lower right) Stills from the Tinikling flash mob during the Manila FAME Opening Ceremony.


Closely following the Opening Ceremony, the Katha Award winners were announced and recognized.

(Upper left) Manila FAME Project Director James Booth, design icon Josie Natori, DTI Undersecretary Cristino Panlilio, and Nicolette Naumann of Messe Frankfurt. (Right) DTI Secratary Gregory L. Domingo and CITEM Executive Director Rosvi Gaetos present the Katha Award for Best Product Design in Fashion to Ann Ong. (Lower left) HE Harry Thomas, Jr., Secretary Domingo,
Russian Ambassador to the Philippines Nikolay Kudahsev, Josie Natori, Executive Director Gaetos, and Undersecretary Panlilio toast to Manila FAME.


Manila FAME weaves the story of The Art of the Craftsman through the Event Highlights, featuring a range of talented designers, exquisite design, top craftsmanship, and quality products.

Design Houses

Ten designers, their individual design sensibilities, and the country’s indigenous materials.

Four of the ten Manila FAME Design Houses from designers (clockwise) Stanley Ruiz, Milo Naval, Wataru Sakuma, and Ito Kish.

Garden Pavilion

A display of the global trend of indoor-outdoor living focusing on Asian, American, British, and French themes.

The four themes of the Garden Pavilion: (clockwise) French, British, Asian, and American

Budji and Kenneth in Focus

Special setting for home furniture and furnishings from designers Budji Layug and Kenneth Cobonpue.

Budji Layug’s and Kenneth Cobonopue’s furniture settings at Manila FAME

Manila Wear

A collection of the hottest summer must-haves from top fashion designers, curated by Josie Natori.

The Fashion Pavilion housed the Summer Must-Haves of Manila Wear.

Style Spots

A cross-merchandised presentation of color, texture, and form inspired by the global macro trends.

Products featured at Manila FAME’s Style Spots

Craft Spots

Live demonstration of the Philippine traditional crafts, featuring The Giant Lanterns of Pampanga, Taka (Papier Mache) of Paete, Bobbin Lace of Iloilo, and the Rice Baskets of Palawan.

The Craft Spots featured four craft forms from the country, namely (clockwise) The Giant Lanterns of Pampanga, Taka (Papier Mache) of Paete, Bobbin Lace of Iloilo, and the Rice Baskets of Palawan

Craft Village

Traditional crafts that breathe new life and aims for the preservation of a locality’s culture and crafts, promotion of the talent of the place, and the generation of sustainable livelihood.

The Craft Village featuring local products from various cities in the Philippines.

The OTOP Marketplace

The best products from all over the country were gathered at Manila FAME to showcase local skills, techniques, and materials. Designer Jinggoy Buensuceso lends his vision in design and curating the OTOP Marketplace.

The OTOP Marketplace featured many developmental products available for retail that showcased the local talent in the Philippines


A project of Senator Loren Legarda featuring the many Philippine traditions of craftsmanship. The Senator herself hosted the opening ceremony and the setting proved to be one of the most popular at Manila FAME

(Upper left) HIBLA featured traditional music from the Philippines during its opening. (Right) Senator Loren Legarda at HIBLA’s ribbon cutting. (Lower left) Tribeswomen work fibers and form beautiful crafts at HIBLA.

Journey of the Tao-Tao

A fine arts exhibit in partnership with the Asian Cultural Council (ACC). The opening ceremony featured dance performances from ACC grantees.

(Left) The Journey of the Tao-Tao featured life-size sculptures and a display of reinvented Barrel-Men. (Right) Dancers from the ACC performed during the Journey of the Tao-Tao Opening Ceremony.

The Boutique

 The show’s retail area where products from exhibitors and FAME merchandise were sold exclusively at Manila FAME.

Manila FAME’s The Boutique sold exclusive products during the four days of the show

Look forward to another celebration of Philippine craftsmanship in 2013 as Manila FAME returns with more top export products, innovative designs, and bigger highlights. SAVE THE DATE:  14 – 17 March 2013 at the SMX Convention Center.

SME Competitiveness reaches new heights at Manila FAME’s OTOP Marketplace

Asia’s Design and Lifestyle Event puts focus on the grassroots level of the export industry, an important factor considered to contribute greatly to the country’s efforts to boost the economy. Manila FAME presents the One Town One Product (OTOP) Marketplace, a special participation of local SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) that would showcase Philippine craftsmanship and artisanship through locally made products from select regions in the Philippines.

Curated by acclaimed Philippine designer Jinggoy Buensuceso, the OTOP Marketplace is part of the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) efforts to strengthen the SMEs export capability as well as keep them up to date with the latest trends and innovations in the industry today. Products from different regions in the Philippines will be showcased in a 288-square meter space that will be open for retail selling on the last two days of Manila FAME.

Jinggoy Buensuceso holds in high regard the promotion of SMEs, a passion that drives him to come up with ingenious designs for their products, “I hope that OTOP will be a continuing campaign that will nurture and instill the cause of helping SMEs compete with bigger companies through budding designers.”

Jinggoy encourages everyone to come and see the OTOP Marketplace, “I would like to invite everyone to come and visit the OTOP Marketplace at the Manila FAME on17-20 October 2012 at the SMX Convention Center to see meticulously designed and developed products from selected SMEs from different regions in the Philippines.”

The OTOP Marketplace is a priority program of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through the Regional Operations and Development Group (RODG), the Bureau of Domestic Trade (BDT), the Product Development and Design Center of the Philippines (PDDCP) and Regional and Provincial Offices of the Department of Trade and Industry.

Manila FAME will host the OTOP Marketplace on 17-20 October 2012 at the SMX Convention Center, Metro Manila, Philippines. Organized by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), Manila FAME highlights the ingenuity of Philippine craftsmanship and artisanship in line with its theme “The Art of the Craftsman = The Soul of the Philippines.”

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