The province of Pampanga, long hailed as the Culinary Capital of the Philippines, has recently reinforced its gastronomic reputation by introducing the inaugural Manyaman Festival. Launched on December 4, the event was graced by the presence of Pampanga Governor Dennis “Delta” Pineda and Provincial Board Member Mylyn Pineda-Cayabyab at SM City Pampanga.
The festival unfolds in two distinct segments, with a food fair taking place at SM City Pampanga from December 4 to 6, 2023, followed by a series of cook-offs at the Capitol Grounds from December 5 to 6, 2023.
Participating municipalities and renowned Kapampangan restaurants came together during the festival’s grand launch, transforming the venue into a festive showcase of Christmas-themed booths. The 22 municipalities of Pampanga are actively participating in the event, each set to exhibit their treasured heirloom or iconic dishes alongside their finest food products and delicacies.
The Manyaman Festival extends its reach beyond seasoned chefs and culinary experts, actively involving the younger generation. Senior high school students and culinary course enthusiasts will engage in separate cook-off categories. This intentional inclusion of the academe and budding culinary talents is a strategic move to ensure the continuity of Kapampangan culinary traditions.
A highlight of the festival is the series of cooking competitions, concluding with a cooking demonstration featuring celebrated chefs from Pampanga. This culinary showcase is designed not only to add innovation to traditional Kapampangan dishes but also to explore the fusion of flavors without compromising the distinctive Kapampangan taste. The objective is to blend a global sensitivity and inclusivity, celebrating diversity while preserving the essence of Kapampangan cuisine.
The Manyaman Festival goes beyond a mere celebration of food; it is a platform for cultural exchange, culinary evolution, and the preservation of a rich culinary heritage. As Pampanga asserts its position as the Culinary Capital of the Philippines, the Manyaman Festival stands as a testament to the province’s commitment to culinary excellence and the enduring legacy of Kapampangan flavors.