Hijos Tours concludes three successful virtual gatherings

Seizing every opportunity to share heritage stories of people, places, and food, CARD MRI Hijos Tours concluded three successful online gatherings on February 27, 2021, Saturday. Among these virtual events included an Online Painting Session with Street Muralist and Visual Anthropreneur Venazir Martinez, the 8th HISTORYa Kita! online class with Professor Joyce Christine Colon, and the first Virtual Food Tour joined by 30 KusinHEROs, a play on the words “kusinero”, a person who cooks, and “heroes”.

Venazir Martinez graced the painting session in the morning of February 27 to discuss the basics of painting including the difference of hues, shades, and tints, as well as her recent project, “Hila-bana”. Commissioned by the National Commission on Culture and the Arts, Martinez laid the foundations of “Project Hila-bana”, a series of public art distinguishable by the iconic red string or hinihilang habi, which connects various murals that exhibit different identities of the people of Cordillera Region and signifies the indigenous tradition of weaving of the Cordillerans. The project also aims to form an “emotional connection” with people as real life stories emerge from the murals, plastered on the walls along the upper Session Road and Marcoville in Baguio City.

The painting session was followed by two simultaneous online events conducted in the afternoon. These included the 8th HISTORYa Kita! session on the Women and Economic Activities in Iloilo City and the Virtual Food Tour which offered a real time fun experience for food lovers and enthusiasts.

In line with the Women’s Month, Professor Joyce Christine Colon of the College of Arts and Sciences in the West Visayas State University took the opportunity to talk about Ilonggas, how they controlled the retail business industry, engaged in large scale businesses, and became maestras (teachers), sinamayeras (women selling fabrics), and cigarreras (cigarette maker) in the 19th century Philippines. After the discussion, Colon answered questions on social stratification and women’s role during the Philippine revolutionary war of 1896.

Thirty Kusin-HEROs explored the culinary traditions of San Pablo City, Laguna with the Virtual Food Tour, one of the three successful online events concluded on February 27, 2021.

Finally, alongside the 8th HISTORYa Kita! session was the first Virtual Food Tour which aims to preserve the culinary traditions of San Pablo City, Laguna by sharing heritage stories of traditional dishes and delicacies such as suman or rice cake, Pancit Kalabuko, fern salad, and grilled tilapia. The Virtual Food Tour was accompanied by a pre-recorded cooking demo that allowed subscribers to prepare the traditional specialties by using some of the ingredients included inside the Food Box, which was sent to the subscribers weeks before the Virtual Food Tour.

Continuous empowerment

“We’re happy that we were able to bring a real time fun experience to our subscribers. We’re also thankful that we were able to tap like-minded individuals like Venazir Martinez who has the same advocacy as that of Hijos Tours, which is to promote heritage stories and amplify the voices of other people,” said Hijos Tours President Marilyn M. Manila, who also thanked the subscribers for their continuous support of Hijos Tours’ advocacies on women empowerment, poverty eradication, and nation building.

Further, as Hijos Tours continue to bring the level of interaction and experience higher, the participants “fell in love” and became more proud of its clients, proving that going digital does not hinder the promotion of heritage and culinary stories of those in San Pablo City, according to Manila.

Manila added, “Despite the challenges, despite the restrictions, we do not stop helping our clients. The number of clients we continue to serve grows as we give more opportunities for them to generate extra income during this time of the pandemic.”

Going physical

Now that tourism-related establishments like Hijos Tours are slowly recovering from the effects of the pandemic, the tour company says it is now ready for physical tours that will cater to creative travelers who want to experience more of San Pablo City in Laguna.

“We are planning to launch our physical food tour by April in collaboration with Casa San Pablo,” Manila said, mentioning one of the three “green corridors” accredited by the Department of Tourism in the “City of the Seven Lakes”.

While Hijos Tours is ready to go physical, it will not give up its virtual gatherings to cater to more Travelearners and subscribers in the months to come to continue to support the government’s protocols on health safety amidst the pandemic.