Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda recognized the vital connection between history, food, and culture, as it influences homes, communities, and the entire nation.

“Food is pamana. It is our rich cultural heritage,” Legarda said during the opening ceremony of Hapag Pamana in Antique.

“Food sustains us, identifies us, and connects us as a nation.”

“Food sustains us, identifies us, and connects us as a nation. The cultivation, preparation, and partaking of food are intricately interwoven with our cultural identity, our traditions, our values, and even our stewardship of nature,” the veteran legislator added.

The author of Senate Bill 244, or the proposed Philippine Culinary Heritage Act, hopes to promote Filipino culinary practices in the education system and preserve our native ingredients and cooking methods through food heritage mapping.

In Antique, indigenous ingredients like batwan, alupidan leaves, and lupo-lupo thrive, alongside exquisite dishes like nilaga nga tatus and banag, distinctively embodying the Antiqueño traditions.

Senate Bill 244 seeks to safeguard these traditions, supporting the resilience of the food system and small-scale producers.

“If we are able to discover, map out, protect, and promote these recipes, the heirloom seeds, native varieties, or ancient breeds, we might be able to support the resilience of our food system as well as the small-scale producers who are the key actors in protecting food heritage,” the seasoned lawmaker said.

The four-term senator also expressed her support for the Slow Food Biodiversity and Cultural Mapping effort in several provinces, including Aklan, Cebu, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and Antique.

With almost 100 products listed in Antique alone, including 34 nominees for the Ark of Taste Catalogue, such as Sapal and Bandi Mani, Legarda is eager to pursue initiatives that will safeguard these products.

Aside from the proposed Philippine Culinary Heritage law, she also filed the Zero Food Waste bill, which confronts the pressing issue of food wastage.

“A third of all food produced is wasted, with Filipinos wasting around 308,000 tons of rice annually.”

Legarda shared that a third of all food produced is wasted, with Filipinos wasting around 308,000 tons of rice annually.

“The way we produce and consume our food has an enormous impact on the world around us,” she said.

“Changing the way we eat, protecting food biodiversity, promoting our culinary heritage, and supporting our small-scale producers, should be the path we take towards better food systems.” Legarda concluded.



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