ILOILO CITY – The Department of Trade and Industry in Region 6 (DTI R6) in collaboration with the Iloilo City local government has unveiled a spectacular showcase of Western Visayas’ creative prowess in a two-day event titled FiestaKucha. With the theme “Embracing Creative Industries in Western Visayas”, this extravaganza celebrated the region’s diverse cultural heritage, artistic talent, and creative industry on December 11-12, 2023 in various locations within Iloilo City.

The inaugural day of Fiestakucha immersed attendees in the flavors of Western Visayas with the Hiligaynon Cuisine Showcase and Culinary Competitions at the Molo Mansion in Iloilo City. Local chefs, culinary enthusiasts, baristas, culinary practitioners and students from various academic institutions engaged in friendly yet intense competitions, presenting traditional and innovative dishes that reflected the region’s culinary richness. The event also featured a captivating exhibition by local artisans and artists, showcasing their craftsmanship and artistic expressions.

Iloilo City achieved a significant milestone in October 2023, officially becoming a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy. It joined the ranks of 54 other newly added cities in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, solidifying its position as an ideal hub for creative tourism. With its gastronomic delights, rich heritage sites, traditional crafts and arts, and captivating artistic expressions, including exotic delicacies that tantalize the senses, Iloilo City has truly become a global beacon of creativity.

Day two continued the festivities with “Istorya Ta,” a series of engaging fora that delved into various creative industry topics held at Zuri Hotel, Iloilo City. Esteemed speakers took the spotlight, featuring Dir. Lilian G. Salonga, Director of the DTI Competitiveness Bureau; Hon. Christopher VP de Venecia, Congressman representing the 4th District of Pangasinan; Hon. Loren Legarda ,Senate President Pro Tempore Chair, Committee on Culture and the Arts and Lindsay Barrientos, Deputy Executive Director of the Philippine National Commission for UNESCO or UNACOM. Meanwhile, the in-person lineup boasted experts like Mary Ann Matiling sharing insights on gastronomy, Martin Genodepa on Visual Arts, Dr. Lino Baldevarona discussing Design and Fashion, Marianne Tajanlangit-Bebit shedding light on IPOPHL Support for Western Visayas Creatives, and John Jester Tesoro on the Future of the Philippine Gaming Industry.

Speakers and participants explored insights, experiences, and innovations, fostering collaboration among creative professionals, creative groups, and students from different academic institutions.

As the day transitioned into the evening, Fiestakucha reached its zenith with “Kasadyahan sa Gab-i,” a night that celebrated the vibrant culture, artistic experiences, and creative tourism of Western Visayas.”Kasadyahan sa Gab-i” featured captivating performances and a gastronomic journey that showcased the region’s unique identity.

DTI Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo of the Industry Development and Trade Policy graced the event subsequent to his participation in the Philippine Economic Briefing, which transpired on the same day in Iloilo City.

(from left) DTI Usec Ceferino Rodolfo of the Industry Development and Trade Policy Group, DTI R6 OIC-RD Rachel Nufable and DTI Iloilo PD Ma. Dinda Tamayo delivering their heartfelt messages of support to the event

“We at DTI stand at the forefront of supporting and empowering local creative talents. Our commitment is firm as we provide technical support services, collaborating with government agencies such as DFA, DOST, DICT, DOLE, IPOPHL, NCCA, and others to implement creative programs that propel the industries forward,” said DTI Region 6 OIC-RD Rachel Nufable.

The remarkable contributions of the creative industry are evident in the numbers. In 2022, it contributed 7.3 percent to the Philippine economy, amounting to P1.6 trillion—a 12 percent increase from the previous year. With 6.98 million Filipinos employed in creative industries, a 10.5 percent rise from 2021, the sector plays a vital role in Philippine trade, accounting for $7 billion, or 6.6 percent of the country’s trade.

“These numbers signify that the creative scene in the Philippines is more than just about being creative—it’s about jobs, businesses, and strengthening our economy,” said DTI Iloilo Provincial Director Ma. Dinda Tamayo.

OIC-RD Nufable further highlighted the recent enactment of the Philippine Creative Industries Development Act (PCIDA) or RA 11904 which underscores the government’s dedication to providing comprehensive support and incentives to the creative industry encompassing domains such as audiovisual media, creative services, digital interactive media, design, publishing and print media, performing arts, visual arts, traditional cultural expressions, cultural sites, and emerging segments.

DTI R6’s Fiestakucha served not only as a celebration of creativity but also as a platform for local talents and artisans to showcase their skills on a broader stage. The event brought together locals, tourists, artists, and industry professionals, emphasizing Western Visayas as a hub for creative industries.

The resounding success of Fiestakucha reaffirms the region’s commitment to nurturing and promoting its creative talents. As Western Visayas continues to shine as a beacon of culture and innovation, events like Fiestakucha play an essential role in shaping its dynamic and vibrant future fostering a deeper appreciation for our cultural heritage and promoting Western Visayas as a prime destination for creative tourism.

Date of Release: 13 December 2023