BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Food plays a significant role in people’s lives. These may encompass food as a tool for comfort, reward, as a hobby and also for travel. It has become a defining obsession among the young and urbane, viewing it as a legitimate option for a hobby, a topic of continual discussion and a playground for competition. Food’s transformation from a fetid hobby to a youth-culture phenomenon happens remarkably fast. In these events, food becomes one of the primary reasons in motivating a person to travel (Idov, 2012).
Culinary tourism covers beyond the dining experience. It includes a variety of culinary, agri-tourism and agri-food activities, developed specifically for tourists that showcase food and beverages. This also provides opportunity for visitors to discover dishes indigenous to each region while learning about its unique talents and creativity. The International Culinary Tourism Association also defines Culinary Tourism as, “the pursuit of unique and memorable eating and drinking experiences.” Cuisine is among the most flexible and dynamic elements of culture. It involves the blending of ingredients and preparations for different cultures. Agricultural diversification, food preservation technology, efficient transportation, awareness of new food preparation techniques, prestige foods and migrations into and out of communities have been ushering supplementary culinary traditions in the Philippines. Culinary traditions are important elements of a people’s history. As local tourism and heritage conservation become significant to community pride and income, histories about food are needed as reference for contemporary projects and planning. There are many reasons for valuing culinary history (Sta. Maria, 2006). The Philippines’ 7,107 islands, divided into 77 provinces, show an enormous diversity in both their people and landscape. From the rugged cliffs and Ivatans of Batanes Islands through the sophisticated urbanites of Manila to the coral islands and Moslems of Tawi – Tawi, this is a land of extraordinary contrast and variety (Hicks, 2005). Philippine cuisine begin with a simple fare, a variety of vegetables readily gathered from the environment – yams such as taro, an assortment of leaves, coconut milk, fish, and chicken and pig, both of which are native to Southeast Asia. The Malay-Polynesian kitchen contributions such as coconut milk, varieties of rice, garlic, ginger, salted dried fish, shrimps, fish sauce, leaf-wrapped cuisine and roast pig are the staple. The use of peanuts and spices is more passive than in neighboring countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. From the Chinese cuisine evolved the lumpia and pancit which have taken the form of pancit luglug, pancit guisado, pancit marilao, pancit palabok and pancit molo. Spanish cooking introduced meat boiled as in puchero, cooked in vinegar as in adobo, stewed in tomato sauce as in mechado and scopped out and restuffed as relleno; along with desserts like leche flan and pastry such as ensaimada (Roces, 2006).
Heading on the southwestern part of Luzon in the CALABARZON region lays the province of Batangas which offers acclaimed taste sensations. The name Batangas come from the word “batangan” meaning a raft that the people use for fishing in Taal Lake. Two of the world’s rarest freshwater fishes namely maliputo and tawilis are found in Taal Lake. Batangas cow is widely sought throughout the country. It is said to be one of the best species of cattle in the Philippines. Batangas culture is greatly influenced by the Spaniards because of their long period of settlement. Food is an integral part of the Batangas culture. Most Batangueños are farmers and fishermen who sell their own products in the market. People can find a very hospitable culture in the Batangueños, sharing more than the usual of the food they eat. Tourists keep coming back to Batangas not only for its attractions but also for the...