In August 2017, Canadian English-language newspaper National Post published an insightful industry story entitled, “We will, we will WOK you: How food festivals became the new music festivals”.
In March 2018, Canadian digital and broadcasting company Vice released a story claiming that “Food Festivals Are the New Music Festivals”.
The National Post story stated that “Chefs have been called the new rock stars an uncountable number of times, but the rise of food festivals is perhaps the best example of food’s new position as a dominant cultural factor.”
Why should Filipinos care? Because the biggest annual Filipino street festival in the world outside of the Philippines is, you guessed it, a FOOD festival called, Taste of Manila.
The original concept was simple: flock to Toronto’s “Little Manila”, feast on Philippine delicacies and savor authentic Filipino culinary delights. No 5-star Michelin chefs; just homegrown cooking from the participating vendors’ Filipino roots.
Just how big? When Taste of Manila started in 2014 in the Bathurst and Wilson Avenue area, organizers hoped to get 5,000 attendees. Well, 75,000 showed up that year. Two years later, no less than Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau checked out the Filipino summer event whose attendance had already leapfrogged to 350,000. Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne and Toronto Mayor John Tory have also graced the event.
This year, Taste of Manila is happening on August 17-18, still in Little Manila in North York in the Greater Toronto Area, home of the largest concentration of Filipinos in Canada. The corner of Bathurst and Wilson is considered to be the epicenter of Toronto’s Filipino community, a main watering hole of the vibrant, hard-working Filipinos in Toronto.
But aside from servings of the likes of sisig fries, ukoy or deep-fried shrimp fritters, Pinoy-style pork, chicken and octopus barbeque, and more versions of adobo, pancit, chicharon, lumpia, halo-halo and gulaman that hungry and curious Filipino millennials could handle, Taste of Manila focused on food as the key pillar, but built an ecosystem of festival offerings around it. There are karaokes galore, street wear and gear, Filipino arts, crafts and novelty items, street games, among others, and a two-day program of entertainment, featuring, yes, music and dance.
WORLD-CLASS FILIPINO ENTERTAINMENT
ABS-CBN TFC has been a partner of Taste of Manila and has helped elevate the experience at the event by providing world-class Filipino performers. More details on this to follow soon as the line-up will surely rock modern music lovers in Canada.
ABS-CBN’s MOR 101.9 is holding the Regional Finals of its Pinoy Pop Icon contest on August 17, 2019, the first day of Taste of Manila.
The contest is open to all unsigned Filipino singers who are permanent residents of Canada, aged 18 years old and above. The aspiring contestants can prepare a 3-5-minute YouTube video of two songs, one in English, one in Filipino in a cappella. They can email the video link with their full name and telephone number to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line, MOR Talent Search 2019.
Deadline for submission is on July 20, 2019. The chosen finalists will be notified via email and will get the chance to compete at the Taste of Manila for a cash prize of CAD1,000 and a chance to become a digital recording artist under Star Music label in the Philippines.
Linofiel Eroma, chair of Philippine Legacy and Cultural Alliance (PLACA), Taste of Manila organizer, said, “(Taste of Manila) is one of the strongest ways to unite Filipinos to our fiestas back in the Philippines. The main takeaway of attendees and participants is a tasteful experience of Filipino culture, food, entertainment and our world-renowned hospitality. It’s an event that brings out Filipino heritage for everyone in Canada to appreciate and savor.”