Carinderia is the Pinoy-style of eating out minus the luxury of elegant dining tables but rather with simple and homey feel of gastronomic journey that each Filipinos love. The affordable home-cooked Filipino specialties they serve have become an integral part of this country’s culinary and social identity.
While eating in this humble food stand by the roadside may be considered a plebeian pleasure for some, those who knew better appreciate the fact that there’s more to this enterprise that has uplifted the lives of some 3 million individuals and their families.
Carinderia offers a glimpse into Filipino’s culture and customs—they are the closest to what one gets at Filipino homes, where great recipes are handed down through generations.
Buhay Carinderia Redefined
Marylindbert International, Inc. acknowledged this when, in 2011, initiated a unique advocacy called Carinderia Fiesta which was later on renamed Buhay Carinderia to help improve the carinderia’s image, help the entrepreneurs behind them and present their unique style of cooking to a wider audience.
“Generous portions, Affordable prices, short waits, and sumptuous dishes. Is it any wonder that carinderias are continuously growing everywhere in the country?” says Linda Legaspi of Marylindbert International, Inc. who shares that on the 6th staging of the event, “Buhay Carinderia… Redefined” will be more expansive in scope.
Supported for the first time by the Tourism Promotions Board of the Department of Tourism, as its Sole Presentor, this year’s event is scheduled to scour the whole country in search for the best of the best in our culinary scene.
First to be visited will be the areas of Northern Luzon—15 provinces that comprise Regions 1 and 2 as well as the Cordillera Administrative Region. “From these cities and towns we will identify the best dishes, the individuals that prepared them, and the carinderias where they work for,” relates Legaspi.
Eventually these local culinary experts will gather at Vigan Convention Center from June 28 to 29 where they will not only share their talent to everyone but also interact with chosen students of the area—through mentoring partnership—so they could also pass on their skills and experiences. The respective region’s best practices will be shared as well as discussions on availability of local ingredients. It is likewise an opportunity for cross selling of produce and talents.
“During this two-day exposition to showcase all the surrounding provinces’ culinary gems, we will also be searching for young individuals who will become our Philippine Tourism Millennial Ambassadors. They should be able to enlighten everyone of their town’s (or city’s) deep and multicultural food history,” says Legaspi.
This same framework will be followed as “Buhay Carinderia… Redefined” explores Central Luzon (particularly Pampanga, regarded as one of the culinary capitals of the Philippines) area, the Bicol region, the Visayas region (Regions 6, 7 and 8) and finally, the Mindanao region (Regions 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13). Like what will happen in Vigan, there will also be a culminating 2-day event in San Fernando, Pampanga; in Naga; in Cebu; and finally in Davao City.
Erwan Heussaff – The Content Creator
When all around foodie Erwan Heussaff opened a pop-up carinderia, for one day last year, to promote his newest online game, the organizers of this year’s “Buhay Carinderia…Redefined” immediately knew whom to tap as their Content Creator.
Being a restaurant and bar investor, an online personality, the husband of actress and TV host Anne Curtis as well as the brother of actress, TV host Solenn Heussaff; he has managed to create his food and beverage niche. After all, his blog “thefatkidinside” has been viewed by millions since 2011, his Facebook page has about 1 million likes, 1.14 million followers on Twitter, half a million subscribers on youtube and 1.9 million more on Instagram.
But there’s more to Erwan to just internet popularity. He has long been an advocate of healthy and affordable eating, his recent crusade where he came up with a P150/day meal plan, to prove that if you eat local, you don’t need to break the bank, only endeared him to more Filipinos. A quick look at his Youtube channel will also quickly prove that he is making lots of shows in the Philippines, from travel to food to farming and sustainability, a true love for country resonates in his content. He also recently produced a show, called Origins, which is all about 8 different provincial areas in the Philippines, where Erwan showcases everything from fishing for Octopus with the Dumagats in Isabela, to spending hours on a boat with fishermen trying to catch Dorado in Batanes, to documenting the rice harvest festivals in the Mountain Province. This show was shot for the American market and will soon be distributed by an International Network.
For us, he clearly represents the ‘Buhay Carinderia…Redefined’ advocacy: to focus and understand the history of local dishes; to popularize the use of natural and native ingredients; and to accentuate Filpino home-cooked flavours,” explains Linda Legaspi, organizer of the annually held event.
“I may not be a Filipino food expert yet, there are so many dishes that I still need to discover, but I’m curious to keep learning and I am a staunch advocate of our culinary culture.” Says Erwan.
“To cap off this nine-month-long culinary journey all over the Philippines, ‘Buhay Carinderia… Redefined’ will stage its biggest culinary exposition in November where all the regional bests under one roof will be showcased. There will be exchange of knowledge and with the experts and most successful personalities we will invite, we will be honing if not refine previously undiscovered talents from the audience,” believes Legaspi.
She explains that as its proponent, “Buhay Carinderia… Redefined” is convinced that food plays a key part of all cultures, a major element of global intangible heritage and an increasingly important attraction for tourists.
“The linkages between food and tourism also provide a platform for national but also regional economic development. These days anyone could notice the focus of many tourists has changed from the classic ‘must see’ physical sights such as natural wonders or monuments towards a ‘must-experience’ imperative to consume intangible expressions of culture.”
Legaspi explains that there’s a real pride in each of the town or city visited. “Not only of the community’s rich agricultural heritage, but of the many recipes linked to it. And based on what we have seen so far, with the help of the Tourism Promotions Board and the city’s or town’s ongoing appetite for celebrating its culinary roots, the future is bound to be just as delicious.”