Hijos Tours, Mga Likha ni Inay celebrate Filipino Food Month

Hijos Tours and Mga Likha ni Inay (MLNI) joined the Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement (PCHM) in celebrating Filipino Food Month through a webinar entitled “Community Engagement through Heritage Interpretation and Microfinance” via Facebook Live on April 21, 2021.

PCHM organized a series of online talks that features experts that can influence and transform the eating landscape by sharing their knowledge and experiences on the topic of food cultivation and preservation in the country. Hijos Tours and MLNI, being champions in promoting food products of local communities through their respective tourism and marketing programs, were invited by the organization.

“True to the advocacy of PCHM, Hijos Tours and Mga Likha ni Inay place the creations and products of hyperlocal communities into the spotlight. The communities our institution serve are full of worthwhile stories of food, culture, and heritage. We are happy that with the programs and products we make, we get to tell those inspiring stories to a wider audience,” Ms. Marilyn Manila, president of Hijos Tours and MLNI, on the institutions being part of the Filipino Food Month webinar.

The board of panelists of the webinar are made up of Ms. Kara Garilao, a Heritage Conservation Expert, member of the Board of Directors and Heritage Consultant of Hijos Tours; Mr. Raffy Antes, Deputy Director of Hijos Tours; and Mr. Derwin Donado, Deputy Director of Mga Likha ni Inay. They talked about how creating meaningful tours and helping budding entrepreneurs and communities become instruments in reaching CARD MRI’s goal of poverty eradication.

Mr. Ige Ramos of the Philippine Culinary Heritage Movement shared his sentiments on the role of microfinance and understanding the history of the local communities. “We need microfinance and the heritage stories to involve hyperlocal communities in the national discourse of food and tourism. Immersing into the people’s culture is more enriching; enriching not only for your life but also to the lives of the locals as well,” he stated.

Hijos Tours’ Virtual Food Tour

Contents of the Hijos de Siete Lagos Food Box that will take you to San Pablo’s kitchen in an instant.

Hijos Tours highlighted their Virtual Food Tour, one of the physical tours they transformed into a virtual tour as a response to the challenges faced by the tourism sector.

The Virtual Food Tour features discussions on the delicacies unique to the featured locale. To recreate the fun and real time experience of the tour, a box with the necessary ingredients are sent ahead of time so that participants can prepare. During the demonstration, participants can easily follow along the directions; giving the session an authentic tour experience. Completing the tour experience is an apron together with a toque included in the box.

Products found in the box are directly sourced from the communities and microfinance clients that Hijos Tours and MLNI work with. This way, Hijos and MLNI help augment the income of microentrepreneurs during the pandemic while promoting local tourism.

“As our clients purchase the Virtual Food Tour, they are not just enjoying and learning about food and history, they’re also supporting the local communities by purchasing their goods,” Antes as he reflected on how the Food Tour gives the local tourism a chance to recover from the pandemic while giving them a memorable tour experience.

As they aim to give meaningful tours, Hijos also looks at the deeper meaning and significance of the heritage sites and its rich history. Understanding and looking at the impact of the events that transpired in each site provides a deeper sense of belonging, pride, and community that makes the tour unique and fulfilling.

“Our tours foster connections between the tourists and the sites we visit. Travelling need not be just about pleasure, but also about changing and growing,” Garilao on what makes Hijos Tours different in providing quality tours amidst the pandemic.

MLNI’s Helping Hand

MLNI’s new Detox Tea is an ingenuity that came out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mga Likha ni Inay’s products and services rose above the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the online conference, MLNI mentioned that the collaborative efforts of their clients, the government, and the institution provided an insight on how they can overcome the challenge and risk of the pandemic.

In their effort to adapt to the new normal, MLNI partnered with the CMDI, CARD MRI’s educational institution, and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to provide their clients trainings on product preservation and processing. This helped their clients avoid product spoilage and create different kinds of products for business.

MLNI also highlighted the stories behind the products they sell. Stories of the how the raw materials were made into the products gave it more meaning and personality.

“Our clients’ products are good in itself and their stories make it even better. We would like to serve as their platform and together with Hijos Tours, we would like to reach more communities to give meaningful tours and products that reflect CARD MRI’s goal of poverty eradication,” Donado on the quality and significance of their clients’ products.

Connect with Hijos and Likha

Hijos Tours’ virtual food tour highlights the recipes of suman, ensaladang pako, and pancit kalabuko that where most of the ingredients are freshly sourced in San Pablo City. MLNI’s diverse line of products can also be purchased online through various platforms such as FoodPanda and BayaniMart to reach their customers in response to the pandemic. Both institutions are member of CARD Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD MRI), a group of institutions with the mission of eradicating poverty in the Philippines.

Currently, Hijos Tours and MLNI support 30 communities or 400,000 individuals through their products. If you wish to support their advocacy in supporting local communities, please visit their official Facebook Pages to avail their products and services. For the copy of the webinar, visit Filipino Food Month’s Facebook page.