The local government unit (LGU) of Manila on Wednesday showed its support to the Muslim community as it launched its first-ever halal food festival, highlighting world-class Filipino halal cuisines. Held at the Bonifacio Shrine or Kartilya ng Katipunan in Ermita, Manila Restaurant Week 2023 highlights Manila halal food and features special halal cuisines from 30 local exhibitors and merchants in the city. Some of the unique flavors that may be explored in the festival are authentic halal food like biryani (spiced mix of rice and meat), variations of masala (spice mix), pizza, smoked or grilled seafood, tiyula itum (Tausug's black braised beef or goat soup using charred coconut meat), satti (skewed beef and chicken strips and livers), shawarma, ice cream and local desserts, among others. Marlon Lacson, Secretary to the Manila Mayor, underscored the value of supporting the industry considering the rich history of the nation's capital. "This occasion marks that we value and treasure our Muslim brothers and sisters. Manila used to be a Muslim town or city. We're used to be headed by Raja, Datu before the Spaniards came," he said in a speech. For her part, Manila Muslim Affairs Chief Director Shey Sakaluran Mohammad said: "The City of Manila's promotion and development of halal practices represents more than just a culinary or economic endeavor. It's a symbol of respect, diversity, and openness to the world." "This integration in the global halal market can be a catalyst for strengthening diplomatic ties and fostering international cooperation, most importantly, to develop the local halal industry," she said. She added promoting the halal food industry could also create more jobs and develop more skills and livelihood in Manila. Meanwhile, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Export Marketing Bureau cited the impact of the food festival on micro, small to medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the city. "This event is a testament to how an LGU can be a top supporter of one of our major growing industries in the world. You're putting a premium on the crucial roles of our MSMEs not only in the development of the industry but in the economy itself," Dr. Jhino Ilano, Assistant Director of the DTI-Export Marketing Bureau, said in a separate speech. He said the DTI is working to forge a memorandum of understanding to bring more Filipino halal exports to its neighboring Muslim countries. Among the participating countries in Manila's halal food festival were representatives from Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia. The public may visit the Manila Halal Food Festival until Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Source: Philippines News Agency